Mobility equipment and travelling abroad: be aware

Travelling overseas with mobility issues can be disconcerting and often requires lots of forward planning. As experts in the field of mobility equipment, we have extensive experience helping our customers understand the various methods of travel which could be hazardous, and ways to help alleviate some of the anxiety and risk involved.

Here are a few areas to pay close attention to when travelling abroad…

Cruise ship guidelines

A cruise may seem like a great option for the mobility impaired, and there are even cruises which are designed specifically for people with disabilities, ensuring all facilities are perfectly well-equipped to deal with a range of mobility issues. However, specialist disability-only cruises are often far from the utopian ideal they may seem, and will cost far more than standard cruise travel. Thankfully, there are disabled cabins available on some of the larger cruise liners, so be sure to research thoroughly before booking travel to ensure you’ll be able to get around freely.

Airline travel guidelines

Whilst some airlines state that disabled passengers can bring their mobility equipment with them, this is often not as transparent an offer as would be expected. Some airlines will only allow wheelchairs which adhere to height restrictions so as to fit them in the hold of the plane. However, in general airline users are loaded onto the vehicle first. Since July 2007, it is illegal for airlines and tour operators to refuse to carry passengers on the basis of reduced mobility, though this only applies to flights from EU-located airports. Regulations formulated during 2006 state that boarding can be refused to justify safety reasons; in addition, such a boarding can also be refused if it is physically impossible to board the plane due to the size of the aircraft doors.

  • Provisions for impaired mobility. Under EU regulation, airport authorities are obligated to ensure any passengers with mobility issues are given assistance, such as carrying wheelchairs or guide dogs. This service is to be provided free of charge, and all staff members are expected to receive disability awareness training.
  • Guidelines if turned away by the airline. If those with mobility issues are turned away from a flight, it is imperative that the airline offers an acceptable alternative. If the boarding is refused, the person travelling must also be offered full reimbursement of their flight costs or re-routed to a solution which can help them reach their destination. All airport authorities in the EU are obligated to provide this assistance, and no extra cost should be incurred to the passenger themselves.

Other mobility travel tips

Remember that a trip overseas doesn’t begin and end with just your mode of travel. When booking accommodation, always check for its suitability. When planning trips or meals out, check for whether they have disabled access. Making this research a priority ahead of your journey helps allow you to relax and enjoy the break once you get there, safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of.

MobiQuip specialises in offering mobility equipment and guidance, free of charge. Call us today on 0800 118 2625 to discuss your unique mobility needs.