Guest Post by Jason Whatling of Peterborough Shopmobility and BHTA member Company The Mobility Aids Centre
More often than not, going on holiday can be a stressful ordeal, rather than the relaxing vacation you hoped for. From fitting everything you will need into a box, to leaving the house unattended for a long period of time, there is always something to worry about.
However, this is nothing compared to the stress of getting all your mobility equipment carefully passed airport customs and trusting the airport staff to look after you and your mobility aids. Whether this is carrying your possessions onto the plane or in some cases, physically lifting you onto the plane themselves, you have to put so much faith in other people.
As you may have seen for yourself, there has been a handful of publicised issues where passengers travelling with disabilities have encountered unwanted problems when it comes to getting through the airport.
The type of problems that could be encountered range from proving your unseen disability to your special disability equipment being mistreated or handled. Of course, that is the tip of the iceberg, as there is a broad range of issues that can arise.
Therefore, you may be wondering just how you can avoid having a stressful holiday? Well, look no further, because below is expert advice for stress-free traveling with a disability.
Notify the Airport 48 hours in advance
Did you know the EU laws state that, if you have reduced mobility, you are entitled to assistance, free of charge? That includes getting on and off the plane, during the flight and in airports before and after the flight.
However, you must provide this information more than 48 hours before your flight. So, do not feel like you are being burdensome. You are, in fact, helping the airport staff by allowing them enough time to prepare for your special requirements.
Provide as much information as possible
The more information you can provide, the more prepared and stress-free the airport can make your travelling experience. This includes details of your disability and any special requirements that you may have. A good idea would be clarifying this information through email. This way, it gives the staff a source to go to in case they have forgotten anything. It also gives you the opportunity to prove the information you have supplied if the unfortunate event arises where they are not put in place.
Pay for specialist travel Insurance
Getting quality travel insurance for someone with a pre-existing medical condition or disability is notoriously difficult, but it is essential. We would recommend using Mark Bates Ltd. The website is clear and easy to navigate around and, on top of that, they provide fair prices with specialist knowledge and support for disabilities of all kinds.
Book with a specialist travel agent
If you book through a specialist travel agent, they will make sure your holiday and travels run as smooth as possible. On top of that, they will also do all the work for you, so you won’t have to worry about informing the airport before the flight.
Remember spare parts and tools
Some of your mobility equipment may need to be dismantled to fit on the flight. For example, wheelchairs need to be folded or dismantled before putting them into the undercarriage. They may even need emergency repairs during your holiday. That’s why taking a small kit of tools to help with this will speed up the process and also improve your traveling experience.
Check out the BHTA Air Transport Advice’s website for further information on how to best disassemble your equipment for a flight.
Check out the BHTA Get Wise to Flying with a Disability
With thanks to The Mobility Aids Centre, you can check out their website HERE.