Staying in your chair on the plane

From a community member:

I would like to know if any airlines allow you to stay in your chair on the plane? I always have to transfer and it is becoming increasingly more difficult.

As a two-million miler on commercial aircraft during my business years, I know of no airline that allows a passenger to stay in their mobility chair. I believe there are regulations regarding the numbers of seats an aircraft is approved for, and any deviation requires a mound of paperwork. I recall a significant delay in takeoff after a defective seat was removed from a plane I had boarded because of this issue.

I have never seen an airline that allows that. We have had to go up to business or first class to get more room and so we are near the front.

FAA rule… it has to do with crash safety and evacuation

Maybe in the future - there is a prototype out there.

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Hi, It’s Pinky :fairy:; One of your Forum moderators. :crystal_ball:

Unfortunately, on this question, I am in full agreement with all our other Forum members who responded that as of right now; there are no airlines that will let you stay in your wheelchair on the plane. I have gotten lucky on a few wide body planes when I booked the bulkhead seat, that I could ride all the way into the plane in my manual chair; and then disassemble the chair for travel. Some planes even have an on-board closet that is large enough to accommodate a folding wheelchair; but it’s just one space and first come, first stored.

However, things are getting better on the newer wide body planes ( Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 which are starting to install a single wheelchair accessible bathroom on board at least. Not the kind you would take your own chair into, but the plane is required to carry an aisle chair on your flight if you let the airlines special services know ahead of time. If you arrive early enough for check-in (2-hour+), the check-in agent will make sure a chair is put on-board for you.

These amazing bathrooms allow you to self-transfer to the toilet vs. needing an aide (the airline is only allowed to help get you to the door; or in the door if Accessible). They will put the aisle chair on the smaller planes (60+ seats) for you as well; but you need to be semi-ambulatory or have an aide to help transfer you into the lavatory. Just be careful if the flight is operated by a regional airline and not one of the big airlines. They tend to not have to be required to have an aisle chair. There is a company called AirGo that is developing an AMAZING design for planes called “Space”. (Hope this happens)

So, things are getting better when it comes to flying and being able to use a chair on-board, but I think it may be a very long time before they design planes that are full wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, the airlines are not beholden to ADA laws and have their own regulations set by the DOT. Some new regulations have been passed lately to ensure airlines are required to have accessible lavatories, but only on new planes; not any of the already built ones.

Best suggestion is to do more research on what type of plane the carrier is planning to use for flights you are interested in and check-in with the airline special services department if you have special seating needs. They usually can be very accommodating if possible and will help you the best they can. (Don’t wait for them to call!!! I’ve sometimes not heard from them till 72 hours prior to departure, when it’s too late to do anything with seating).

Let me know if you need help with what type of seating certain airlines use? I’ve tried most airlines and class seats to find one my spine will tolerate. Hopefully we can help make flying a little easier for you if we can’t solve the using your own chair problem.

We’re here for you.
Keep on Traveling, it’s our World too. :flight_departure:
-Pinky :fairy:

In my opinion this will never happen if we do not demand it over and over again, as publicly as possible. Airlines and airline manufactures offer platitudes but do not really do anything. The same goes for the accessible toilet issue - the research and design is all there - all that is needed is implementation by the airlines, but that will not happen until there is enough noise made.
This is interesting reading on accessible toilets and onboard aisle chairs -ärvi%20-%20Thesis%20-%2007052021.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y
Thank you