To ensure that all goes smoothly and your journey is as stress free and comfortable as possible, there are some simple points to follow:
- make sure you have all the information you need before finalising your travel plans,
- be realistic about your own needs, particularly if you cannot walk long distances without help. The distances between the check-in desks and the departure gates can be very long,
- check that the airline or the tour operator is able to meet those needs,
- contact them to make sure they know, understand and can meet your particular needs,
- don’t assume that help will be available “on demand”. Pre-booking assistance at least 48 hours in advance is the best approach,
- don’t assume that staff know the best way to lift or transfer you – if they don't ask, tell them! Even though, in all Member States of the EU they should all have been trained in safe lifting etc., it is always best to tell them what your particular needs and preferences are.
The airline also has responsibilities to you as a passenger. You must both play your part if the journey is to be as comfortable and stress free as possible.
Under international agreements and the EU law, compensation for lost or damaged personal baggage (which includes mobility equipment) is subject to limits that may not cover the true costs of replacement or repair.
It is recommended that before travelling you should check the limit of your travel insurance and make sure your travel insurance provides cover for your mobility equipment. You may need to extend your insurance policy in this area.
You will be able to have access to all types of ticket, e.g. economy, business, etc., but not all of those types of ticket may be able to offer the facilities you require. For example, if you need extra legroom, an economy class seat may be unsuitable.
You are strongly advised to make your reservation in advance – where possible 7 days in advance, but at least 48 hours before you intend to travel.
This should ensure that the assistance you need is made available. It may also save disappointment. Some airlines limit the number of disabled passengers who can travel on any flight; limits are related to the size of the aircraft and the level of service required by the passenger.
By booking early, you can increase your chances of travelling when you want. Of course, if you need to cancel a reservation, you should let the airline know as soon as practicable so that your seat is available for other PRMs.
AIRLINE ASSISTANCE CODES
Air carriers have defined codes to specify the condition and special needs of the passengers they carry. These codes, which are standardised, are essential for each operator (air carriers, airports) in the travel chain to organise the service needed. They are explained hereunder, for information purposes only. Selecting the appropriate code remains the sole responsibility of the air carrier.
Passenger who can walk up and down stairs and move about in an aircraft cabin, but who requires a wheelchair or other means for movements between the aircraft and the terminal, in the terminal and between arrival and departure points on the city side of the terminal.
Passenger who cannot walk up or down stairs, but who can move about in an aircraft cabin and requires a wheelchair to move between the aircraft and the terminal, in the terminal and between arrival and departure points on the city side of the terminal.
This category covers a wide range of passengers. It includes those who are completely immobile, who can move about only with the help of a wheelchair or any other means and who requires assistance at all times from arrival at the airport to seating in the aircraft or, if necessary, in a special seat fitted to their specific needs, the process being inverted at arrival. This category also includes passengers with a disability only affecting the lower limbs who require assistance to embark and disembark and to move inside the aircraft cabin but who are otherwise self-sufficient and can move about independently in their own wheelchair at the airport. Specifying the level of autonomy at the time of booking will avoid the provision of inappropriate assistance.
Passenger who is deaf or hard of hearing or a passenger who is deaf without speech.
Blind or visually impaired passenger.
Blind and deaf passenger, who can move about only with the help of an accompanying person.
Disabled passenger with intellectual or developmental disability needing assistance. This covers with disabilities such as learning difficulties, dementia, Alzheimer’s or Down’s syndrome and who will need assistance.