It goes without saying that COVID-19 has changed the way we view travel. At the time of writing, the UK isn’t allowing any international travel. Nevertheless, over the course of the pandemic, flying hasn’t been off limits to the general public. Many took the chance to travel internationally in the months between the lockdowns in 2020. However, for people with disabilities there is an additional consideration aside from the already pressing health concerns of flying.
EasyTravelSeat conducted two surveys, one in May 2020 and one later on in October of the same year. These surveys concentrated entirely on the perspective of a disabled passenger and their thoughts towards travel during the pandemic.
Between these two dates, the number of people who said that they wouldn’t travel until there was an available vaccine increased by 10%, standing at 40% in October, with a further 33% of people unsure whether they would wait or not. With the vaccine now available,
For disabled people, there has been a disproportionate impact in terms of financial effects. Though the health concerns are first and foremost, the survey has shown that 75% of responders weren’t booking air travel because of financial concerns. This tells us that the ongoing impact of the virus on disabled people’s ability to travel isn’t necessarily all about their health. It’s a sign that the unstable job market has meant that everybody is making cautious choices about what is a sensible expense.
Nevertheless, the survey also shows hope on the horizon. Those who have travelled during the pandemic said that 83% of airports and 67% of airlines gave them an experience that either met or exceeded their safety requirements. More than half were happy to fly both domestically and internationally, when it became safe to do so. There was also an increase in domestic flights.
Almost a year on from the first months of the pandemic, Traveller Chair are interested to learn more about attitudes towards travel now that millions of high-risk people are receiving their vaccinations. The pandemic has affected people with disabilities in every part of their life; in their health, their finances, their independence and their opportunities. Nevertheless, it has also presented the world with a chance to experience what life is like when so many things are inaccessible.
We hope to see that when we rebuild, there are accomodations made to ensure that our new infrastructures are accessible to all, including those with disabilities. For travel, there is now an opportunity to improve the way that disabled people experience air travel and their journeys beyond.
For Traveller Chair users, wide-reaching tourism has been replaced by local tourism. It’s been a chance to tour local beauty spots and see part of their area that they may have never explored before.
If you’re looking for a way to explore the world, whether it’s your local area or a trip abroad when you feel it’s safe to do so, the Traveller Chair is a perfect companion. With a lightweight folding wheelchair, complete with luggage capabilities, you’re able to navigate every location with everything you need to hand.
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