Reduced mobility should not restrict your freedom to fly. With good planning, making your airline aware of the assistance you require, you open the way to fly.
Airlines require to be informed at least 48 hours before your flight time of your need. If you request assistance less than 48 hours before the flight time it may not be possible to organize with the airport. Also there is a limit on each flight as to how many persons with needed assistance may fly.
Your airline will send the details of your required assistance to the airport. The airport assistance providers will prepare to meet you and take you to the aircraft providing equipment where necessary.
It is essential to give clear details of your needs so things run smoothly during your journey. As there are many long corridors at Palma airport it is best to be accurate about how far you can walk.
You may usually be independent but traveling by air may mean you need a little help. If you have walking difficulties you may be better to use an airport transporter or wheelchair. If you let your airline know, this can be arranged.
With most airline’s online booking forms you will need to select your flights and fill in the requested details.
During the booking process and before you finalize your booking you will find a section or button called something similar to – Passenger assistance/special needs/ access requirements.
This will then open the section where by you can give details of the assistance needed. This is usually done by ticking boxes describing the assistance needed.
The airlines are required to transport your mobility equipment without charge. For this to happen you must inform the airline when you book, especially if you have a scooter or powered wheelchair with batteries.
Due to safety regulations passengers won’t be allowed to take certain types of mobility equipment on board but this will be stored with luggage in the hold. Batteries also are required to be stored in the hold for security.
However a folding wheelchair may be stored, depending on space, in the passenger cabin. If you need to use a wheelchair on board it has to be requested when booking.
Walking sticks and crutches will likely be taken off passengers for the duration of the flight and stored.
Usually you will stay in your own wheelchair up until you are about to enter the aircraft. From this point passengers will be transferred into an onboard chair or boarding chair.
You may have to change wheelchairs at the check-in desk or at one of the meeting points at Palma airport. This is if your wheelchair needs to be stored in the aircraft hold which usually applies to battery powered vehicles.
The wheelchair swapping point can also vary depending on the boarding method and facilities available for the particular gate at Palma airport.
If the boarding gate is connected to the aircraft with an air-bridge you will most likely stay in your wheelchair until the aircraft door.
Sometimes at Palma airport the aircraft parks away from the departing module. Passengers will either be directed to use a bus or a walkway to get to the airplane. There will be a set of stairs or a mobile lift for PRM.
In this instance wheelchair users will be transferred onto a boarding wheelchair either; at the boarding gate; at the vehicle waiting to take them to the aeroplane or on the ground outside the aircraft.
Unfortunately aeroplane toilets are often a challenge and even unusable for some passengers with disability.
If you are able to use the onboard toilets then the cabin crew can offer some help to push the onboard wheelchair. However cabin crew are not permitted to assist with the use of the toilet or to help lift passengers.
The on-board toilet compartment is very small and the on-board wheelchair can only be taken up to the toilet door as it won’t fit inside.
There are however rails/grab handles in all the on-board toilets. The doors open outwards which helps the transition from wheelchair to grab handle inside the toilet compartment.
If the lack of access to a toilet for a long journey is a cause for concern there are a range of continence solutions. You would need to discuss this ahead of time with your local health practitioner.
Another option is a traveling companion who will be able to assist in the use of the onboard toilets.
The airline will in most cases select an appropriate seat without charge, depending on your required assistance.
The selected seats will be chosen near the toilets and next to any passengers travelling with you. The seat selected will have armrests that lift out of the way which aids easy access.
Travelling companions are required to be physically capable of assisting in an emergency and to be over 16 years old.
You may be undecided about travelling with a companion to assist you on the flight. If you can do the following activities on your own it may help you decide.
Use the seat belts yourself
In a potential emergency be able to –
Use the oxygen masks
Take the lifejacket from under the seat and put it on
Exit the aircraft by any means in an emergency
If you have decided you need a travelling companion you should plan in advance to have someone travelling with you.
If you are not able to do the activities above without assistance you may be disappointed and will be travelling at your own risk.