Five common fears wheelchair users face transferring onto aircraft
We spend a lot of time listening to our customers and their fears when transferring onto an aircraft. As well as the concerns from occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals when they assess peoples fitness to fly. We thought it would be useful to share with you the top five most common fears we hear about from our customers, in relation to transferring on and on aircraft and more importantly, how these fears can be managed.
1. Being physically lifted under the arms and legs – yet it happens all to often and causes a lot of discomfort and injury to wheelchair users
For anyone who hasn’t flown before or who is not aware, wheelchair users who are unable to transfer themselves, have to be lifted manually by two or more people. This is either done by staff or family members, lifting the person under the arms and legs.
Being lifted under the arms and legs exposes both staff and the wheelchair user to severe injuries. Often wheelchair users are left with sores or bruising from being lifted which can take days and in rare cases weeks or months to recover from.
For the more travel savvy/aware wheelchair users, they will use a transferring sling or a hoist to remove the need for being physically lifted under the arms and legs. A much safer and more preferred method for those users, including the staff and or family members. And especially in times of COVID, as it helps reduce the amount of close contact.
2. Maintaining safety and comfort whilst sat on an aisle chair
Aisle chairs, probably one the most inadequate seating solutions for wheelchair users. With all aircraft having extremely narrow aisles, leads to the design of narrow aisle chairs. Aisle chairs are used to transfer a wheelchair user from the cabin door to and from the aircraft seat. Aisle chairs offer minimal support, often lack in safety straps, and provides little comfort at all. It doesn’t help all have different designs. Of course, they are there to serve a purpose but often become a falling block for certain wheelchair users who cannot sit in them (quite literally) – excluding them from being able to fly at all. To maintain greater safety and dignity on aisle chairs, the ableSling allows for a cushion to be placed inside offering pressure relief, also straps for the legs and chest are also advantageous for extra support and safety.