The older we get the more likely we are to suffer from reduced mobility and need assistance when travelling through an airport.
Under European law air passengers who are disabled or have difficulty moving around, whether due to age, disability, or a temporary injury, can receive assistance when flying to and from Europe.
While passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) are concerned about how they will get through the airport and board their flights and what happens on arrival, passengers using electric mobility aids, including wheelchairs and scooters, should also be concerned about making sure they can take them on board the plane.
Not only do passengers need to inform their airline at the time of booking, or at least 48 hours prior to departure, that they require assistance through the airport and onto the aircraft, they should also inform their airline of their electrical wheelchair / scooter to make certain that it can be accepted into the aircraft hold.
Under European law the carriage of electrical mobility aids is subject to 24-hour notice – however, if you need to travel at short notice, airports and airlines must do their best to accommodate the passenger.
There are certain safety requirements and preparations required for the safe loading of electric mobility aids onto aircraft – there have been several incidents involving electric mobility equipment in recent years, including an electric wheelchair which caught fire as it was being unloaded from an aircraft at Manchester Airport in 2008.
European Regulation places obligations on travel agents, tour operators, aircraft operators and airport operators designed to enable a disabled person or a person of reduced mobility to travel by air with an electric mobility aid, including the ground handling and carriage of such devices, subject to compliance with dangerous goods requirements.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recently launched an industry-wide campaign to highlight the safety requirement and obligations for the preparation and loading of electric mobility equipment. They’ve also produced a great video detailing what should happen, and why, and, although the video is meant for airports, airlines and anyone else involved in the assistance and transportation of passengers with reduced mobility and their electrical equipment, it is well worth a view to enable you to understand how important it is for airlines to be informed of electrical mobility equipment in advance and demonstrates that they’re not being awkward, they really do need to know!
Catch the video below: