Father Christopher Wood, started a petition recently to enable wheelchair users who are unable to transfer to an airplane seat to be allowed to travel in their chairs.
Christopher’s two children, Tayla (23) and Jordan (21), are young who both have disabilities leaving limited speech and mobility. Both of his children like many others with disabilities have severe difficulties in access to air travel, especially if there is limited or no mobility without wheelchair use.
Chris says: “My Son and many many others like him cannot access air travel as he needs to remain in his wheelchair at all times. To transfer a young adult from his chair to a seat requires a hoist, furthermore the seat is not designed to meet his posture and he will be in major discomfort whilst flying.”
If you’re disabled you have certain rights if travelling by air. According to Citizens Advice UK, if you have a disability or have reduced mobility that affects your ability to get about, you have certain rights under the Equality Act 2010 and also under European Union law.
The current Act prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities. However it has no provision to protect the rights of those who, because of their disabilities and for safety reasons, cannot sit in a standard airline passenger seat so must remain seated in their personal wheelchairs.
The USA have a petition to push the Federal Aviation Association to require airlines to provide designated wheelchair accessible spaces on every commercial aircraft, which will allow passengers to remain safely seated in their personal wheelchairs. This is an issue which has gained immense support, currently with an excess of 35k signatures, www.petitions.moveon.org/sign/wheelchair-access-on.
This has inspired Christopher to start his own petition in the UK, he comments:
“I am on a bit of a mission here, but I am not so small minded to think that overnight aircrafts will suddenly have disabled toilets, and aisles wide enough to let a wheelchair travel up. But it can make an area/space for wheelchairs to be clamped in safely and travel, the rest can come in due course – perhaps for the next generation behind my two children.
“If you can help my mission in any way I would of course be very grateful. I think it’s time this area of discrimination in air travel was extinguished for good – if you think that is a harsh sentence then lets phrase it like this.”
So far Christopher’s petition has taken off and is well under way with over 1,200 signatures, but he still needs your help to reach 10k signatures to ensure the UK government responds. You can sign and share Christopher’s petition here www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125577, to help improve services and accessibility for disabled air passengers.