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A man sat in a wheelchair getting ready for his flight.

Tips For Flying With A Wheelchair

Travelling can be a challenging experience for anyone, but it can be particularly daunting for the elderly with mobility issues. One of the most common concerns for elderly travellers is flying with a wheelchair. Air travel with a wheelchair can be a challenging experience, but with the right preparation and knowledge, it can be a smooth and enjoyable journey for the elderly and their loved ones.

Let’s explore some essential tips for flying with a wheelchair to ensure a stress-free trip for everyone involved.


  1. Plan and Book Ahead

When travelling with elderly loved ones who require a wheelchair, planning and booking your flights well in advance is essential. This will allow you to secure the best rates and ensure that you have enough time to make all the necessary arrangements.

When booking your flights, inform the airline of your loved one's needs and request any special assistance they may require. Most airlines offer priority boarding and assistance with wheelchair transfers, making the boarding process much more manageable for the elderly.


  1. Choose a Direct Flight if Possible

To minimise stress and fatigue for your elderly loved one, it is recommended to choose a direct flight when possible. This will eliminate the need to navigate multiple airports, reducing the risk of missed connections, lost luggage, and additional stress.

However, if a direct flight is not possible, ensure ample time between connecting flights to allow for any potential delays and provide enough time for your loved one to rest and recuperate between journeys.


  1. Wheelchair Specifications and Preparation

Before travelling, it is essential to ensure that your loved one's wheelchair meets the airline's size and weight requirements. Most airlines accept both manual and electric wheelchairs; however, certain restrictions may apply to the latter.

For example, electric wheelchairs with spillable batteries may not be allowed on board, and non-spillable batteries may need to be removed and packed separately.

To avoid surprises at the airport, contact the airline to confirm their specific rules and requirements for wheelchair transportation. Additionally, ensure that the wheelchair is in good working condition and is clean and free of any loose parts that could cause issues during the flight.

We'd also recommend using a lightweight aluminium wheelchair where possible. These will make manoeuvring the airport and plane easier than heavier steel alternatives.


  1. Arrive at the Airport Early

When travelling with a wheelchair, arriving at the airport well before your scheduled departure time is essential. This will allow you ample time to check-in, clear security, and request assistance.

Upon arrival at the airport, check-in at the special assistance desk, where the staff can guide you through the process and provide any additional support needed. Make sure your loved one's wheelchair is appropriately tagged with their name, address, and contact information, and notify the staff if the wheelchair needs to be disassembled for transport.


  1. Navigating the Airport

Navigating an airport can be a challenging experience for the elderly, especially when travelling with a wheelchair. To make the process as smooth as possible, request assistance from the airline staff to guide you through the airport and ensure your loved one's comfort and safety.

This may include assistance with security checks, where the elderly passenger may be required to transfer to an airport wheelchair temporarily. In such cases, it is crucial to communicate any specific needs or concerns to the security staff to ensure a comfortable and respectful experience.


  1. Boarding the Aircraft

When it is time to board the aircraft, the elderly passenger and their companion will often be given priority boarding. This will allow them to board the aircraft first, ensuring a smooth and stress-free process. Your loved one's wheelchair will be taken by the airline staff and stowed securely in the aircraft's hold during the flight.

Upon arriving at your destination, the wheelchair will be returned to your loved one as quickly as possible. In some cases, this may be at the aircraft door; in others, it may be in the baggage reclaim area. Again, airline staff will be available to assist with any necessary transfers and ensure a smooth and comfortable experience for your elderly loved one.



Flying with a wheelchair can be a daunting experience for the elderly and their loved ones. However, by planning, understanding the specific requirements and regulations of the airline, and requesting assistance when needed, you can ensure a comfortable and stress-free journey for everyone involved.

Embrace the adventure and create lasting memories with your elderly loved ones. So book that flight, and create unforgettable memories with your elderly family member.

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