We often speak about Jane, wife of Traveller Chair founder Richard Williams and the inspiration behind our portable wheelchair. She is a fiercely independent woman and mother of two grown up children who loves to travel with her husband and companion. Both retired, they endeavour to live a full and active life. Jane was born with Cerebral Palsy, a lifelong condition affecting mobility and coordination, however, severity of the condition can vary. For Jane, walking any distance can be extremely tiring. She also has emphysema, as a result of her condition, meaning she regularly experiences shortness of breath.
Whilst she never let her condition hold her back and stop her from living a full life, she felt she would benefit from having her own mobility aid. But, nothing on the current market seemed to suit her needs and lifestyle. The Traveller Chair was designed with Jane in mind and she wouldn’t travel without it now. This is a day in the life of Jane as she travels to see her son, who lives overseas, with her husband Richard and her trusted portable wheelchair, the Traveller Chair.
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6am: Jane and Richard are packed and ready for their trip, waiting for a taxi to arrive to take them to Heathrow airport. Their transport pulls up outside and they pack the Traveller Chair, their suitcases and a backpack. This part of their journey is always pretty straightforward and the couple are excited to embark on their journey.
7am: Arriving at the airport, the taxi driver unloads their belongings and Richard unfolds the Traveller Chair, attaching the two Traveller Chair suitcases*, one at the back and one underneath. He then slings the Traveller Chair backpack* over his shoulder, with a collapsible walking stick* and small folding Traveller Chair trolley* stored inside alongside his travel essentials. Assembly is incredibly straightforward and takes less than 30 seconds, meaning Jane isn’t waiting too long. Jane then gets out of the car and takes a seat in her portable wheelchair. The couple head into the airport, both feeling relaxed and excited to be going on holiday.
“Assembly is incredibly straightforward and takes less than 30 seconds, meaning Jane isn’t waiting too long.”
Before TC: After the taxi driver has helped Richard and Jane offload their luggage, they make their way into the airport, struggling to manage all their bags. Richard supports Jane with one arm and pulls the suitcases with the other; Jane also supports herself with a wheeled suitcase. By the time they step into the airport and queue at the check-in desk, Jane is already exhausted just from the first leg of their journey.
7:45am: At the airport, their baggage is checked in with no problems so Richard and Jane head to security. They are told that there are no female staff available so Jane will need to stand, if possible, to be checked in the scanner. This isn’t too much of a strain on Jane’s mobility and she happily gets up out of her portable wheelchair with Richard quickly folding it down and placing it on the x-ray belt. By the time Jane is finished, Richard has already walked through security and re-assembled the Traveller Chair, ready for Jane to be seated again so they can browse duty free. After a spot of shopping, the couple decides to have a drink at the bar to kick off their holiday. Before heading in, Jane stands up ready to walk whilst Richard folds the chair back down and carries it on his shoulder, supporting Jane with his other arm. They keep an eye out for their gate number to be announced but, for the first time, have no worries about making the final boarding call for their flight.
Before TC: Richard and Jane head straight to a help desk and explain that they have pre-booked assistance. The woman at the desk tells them that they need to go to the assistance office, located at the end of the terminal building. After checking in their baggage, the couple slowly walks in the direction of the assistance desk. Airport assistance typically comes in the form of an assisted wheelchair, either operated by an airport attendant or self operated. The latter option is favourable as it allows them to leisurely browse duty free and grab any refreshments, without needing to consider a third person. If the wheelchair is required to be operated by an attendant, they would take the user to an area near their gate and return 20 minutes before boarding to assist them onto the plane. This can be stressful and unreliable, especially if the attendant is running late or there are gate changes.
9am: After enjoying a couple of drinks at the bar, Jane and Richard prepare to head to their gate. A late gate change means there will be no boarding bridge in place so they must negotiate a small flight of steps onto a transfer bus that will take them to the plane. This isn’t too much of an inconvenience and Jane is glad to stretch her legs. Richard folds up the Traveller Chair and they take a seat on the bus with the portable wheelchair resting on his lap.
Before TC: Jane and Richard arrive at their gate using airport assistance. If the passenger boarding bridge is in place, Jane would remain in the wheelchair right up until they reached the plane. If it isn’t, which can sometimes happen with a last-minute gate change, the couple would have to leave the gate and make their way to the ground floor alongside the other passengers to get on a transfer bus. By this point, Jane has already walked further than she feels comfortable and is incredibly fatigued, both her and Richard are now feeling stressed ahead of their flight.
9:45am: Jane and Richard are now seated comfortably on the flight. The Traveller Chair is placed safely in the overhead lockers and they have no concern about their onward journey – a huge relief after years of difficult travel experiences!
“They have no concern about their onward journey – a huge relief after years of difficult travel experiences!”
Before TC: Whilst the flight was enjoyable, they felt underlying anxiety around whether assistance would be waiting for them at the other end. Their past experiences have been fairly mixed but they have certainly been let down many times. This can be very stressful when in a new country after travelling all day, especially if there is a connecting flight to catch.
2:30pm: Shortly after landing, the couple disembarks their flight. Jane welcomes the opportunity to stretch her legs after a long flight so decides to walk. She uses the Traveller Chair trolley to wheel her portable wheelchair and provide some walking support whilst she finds her feet. They head to baggage reclaim, collect their luggage and clip their cases to the assembled Traveller Chair ready to leave.
Before TC: When arriving at their destination, they are pleased to see that their booked assistance is ready and waiting. Jane is wheeled to baggage reclaim with Richard walking alongside her. However, once here, they part ways with their assistance, using a baggage trolley to help manage their bags until they leave the airport.
3pm: Jane and Richard head through the airport towards the exit, thrilled to be greeted by their son.
4:30pm: Once at their holiday destination, the family enjoy a light meal, a sunny walk and a supermarket shop before settling down for a relaxing evening. The Traveller Chair is by their side every step of the way, supporting Jane whenever she needs.
“The Traveller Chair is by their side every step of the way, supporting Jane whenever she needs.”
Before TC: Jane and Richard exit the airport. Although they are happy to be reunited with their son, they are absolutely exhausted from a difficult journey filled with obstacles. They don’t have much energy to spend with their son on the day of their arrival and head to bed, hoping they can enjoy family activities the next day.
You can see just how much our portable wheelchair, Traveller Chair, has improved Jane’s travel experience – and not just from a practical point of view! Finding a mobility aid that is right for you has so many benefits; improved self-esteem, newfound freedom and independence, less stress and a whole load of extra time to truly enjoy your journey.
Traveller Chair is now available to buy and could change your life too!
Don’t let poor mobility obstacles stop you from taking that trip. Going from case to chair in just 30 seconds – Traveller Chair is ‘with you all the way’ from drop off to pick up.