Travelling with a wheelchair is rarely straightforward and the regulations in place can be unclear. Many wheelchairs are heavy and difficult to carry around, especially if you want to fold it up and store it away at times. Designed to create ease and independence when travelling with limited mobility, Traveller Chair aims to provide an innovative solution – a lightweight, portable wheelchair that doubles up as a carry case.
Whether flying or simply using public transport to get from A to B, we have gathered all the key information you’ll need in one place.
Flying with limited mobility requires preparation. You’ll need to think ahead and plan in advance in order for everything to run smoothly on the day of travelling. Firstly, you’ll need to alert the airport and airline of any accessibility needs at least 48 hours before your flight. Mobility aids (up to two) don’t count as luggage when flying, therefore, can be brought on board the plane alongside the regular luggage allowance.
Although it is possible to take a wheelchair on a flight, you will need to consider the size and type of the wheelchair to determine if it can fit down the plane aisles and into the overhead lockers or whether it will need to be checked into the hold.
Traveller Chair is specifically designed to be compliant with most airline carry-on luggage requirements. It is small and compact enough to be stored in the overhead lockers. This means you can keep your mobility aid on you at all times without needing to rely on anyone else or wait around for rental equipment. Please note that Traveller Chair is not designed to fit down the aisles of a plane in wheelchair mode.
Check out our previous blog for more details about flying with a disability.
Train travel is a fast, efficient way to get around, whether in the UK or abroad. Most stations are required to accommodate passengers who are mobility challenged and wheelchair users. However, they all have slightly different assistance policies in place, therefore, it is recommended to research the particular station and train line before travelling. Most trains can fit wheelchairs that are 70cm wide and 120cm long down the central aisles, although it is important to note that older trains tend to have narrower aisles meaning access may differ.
National Rail has made various efforts to make train travel easier for those with limited mobility. These include;
- Passenger Assist App by Transreport – allows you to find accessible stations, request assistance, receive cancellation alerts and more all in one place.
- Disabled Persons Railcard – gives you a third off of all rail travel, saving an average of up to £115 a year. Ensure you read the criteria and are able to provide proof of eligibility.
- Accessibility Map – displays all the National Rail stations and the accessibility measures they have in place.
Trains often have overhead storage for smaller, more compact items as well as larger luggage compartments near the doors of each carriage which may be more appropriate for folding up your portable wheelchair and moving to a nearby seat.
If you live in England and are mobility challenged, you may be eligible for a disabled person’s bus pass meaning free bus travel across the country. Elsewhere in the UK has slightly different guidelines so be sure to check this against the country you live in.
Most public buses have larger dedicated areas typically near the front of the bus designed for people with large mobility aids, portable wheelchairs or pushchairs. However, this can be an issue if these spaces are already occupied or the bus is particularly busy. Unlike trains, regular buses cannot be booked in advance so obviously more risk comes with using this type of public transport in regard to accessibility and comfort. Coaches, on the other hand, tend to be booked in advance for longer journeys meaning there will be more of a guarantee that you will get a suitable space.
Trains, buses and planes should all be able to provide a form of ramp, step or lowering device to ensure wheelchair users can get on and off with relative ease. Contacting the relevant person in advance or allowing additional time to go to the customer service desk will ensure that these will be sourced and ready for you upon arrival or as soon as possible.
Its lightweight nature and luggage facility makes our portable wheelchair an ideal companion for those with limited mobility but not needing a wheelchair at all times. With the ability to easily assemble and fold down whilst on the go, the difficulty of lugging around a heavy item and trying to fit it onto cramped transport is removed. Accessibility measures may vary depending on the line of transport you are using or from country to country. Always do your research prior to travelling or taking public transport.