If you have mobility issues, you may have questions about what you need to do to prepare for air travel and what to expect during your flight. We have summarised some important points for you below.
If you are experiencing mobility issues or any other disability that may make air travel more difficult, you must inform the airline of your needs. This should ideally be done when booking or a minimum of 48 hours prior to flying.
The information you give will help your airline to make the necessary arrangements for you during the flight. In addition, the airline will also inform your departure and arrival airports, to ensure that any assistance required is provided to you at both ends of your journey. Please also see our page Disability Assistance at Tenerife South Airport.
If you are taking mobility equipment with you (e.g. wheelchair, walking frame, crutches, etc), please let your airline know in advance. Most airlines will allow you to bring two items of equipment free of charge. However, rules may differ, so it is important to check with your chosen airline before you travel.
If you are taking a power chair, you will need to give your airline details of its make, model, dimensions, weight, etc before you travel. When you hand your chair over to the airline staff, you will need to be able to explain or demonstrate how to disengage the motors. For more information about travelling with mobility equipment, please also see our page Wheelchair/Mobility Aid in Tenerife.
If you need to carry medical equipment on board with you (e.g. Portable Oxygen Concentrators, CPAP machine, portable dialysis machine, etc), please check with your airline in good time before you travel.
If your additional needs are due to an acute or recent illness or if you have an unstable medical condition, please check with your airline and your doctor whether you require a fit to fly certificate.
If you are carrying medical equipment, you may need an airline approval letter or a letter from your healthcare practitioner (check with airline in good time before you travel).
Passengers with disabilities will generally embark and disembark separately to other passengers. On departure, disabled passengers are often amongst the first to board the plane. On arrival, passengers with disabilities may be asked to remain in their seat until the other passengers have left the aircraft. This is to ensure that those with a disability have the space and time they need to enter and leave the aircraft safely. Depending on the airline you fly with, the procedures for embarking and disembarking may differ slightly.
The seats and cabin layout will depend on the airline and aircraft you are travelling on. Your airline will allocate a seat that is suitable for your specific circumstances. It is therefore important that you provide accurate information about your needs and abilities. Passengers with reduced mobility will generally be seated near the on-board toilets and next to any passenger travelling with them. Many airlines will allocate a window seat to passengers with reduced mobility.
If you require more posture support than a standard airline seat can offer, you will need to bring the accessories required with you. However, please check with your airline in advance to ensure that your posture support system is compatible with the aircraft seats and complies with the airline’s safety regulations.
If you are a wheelchair user and unable to walk, you may be able to remain seated in your own wheelchair until you reach the aircraft. The arrangements may differ, depending on the type of your wheelchair and your specific needs. In order to board the plane, you will need to transfer into an on-board aisle wheelchair that is provided by your airline. These chairs are specifically designed to fit through the narrow aircraft aisle.
If you need assistance with transfers, you will need to inform your airline of your transfer method when you book your flight to ensure that appropriate support by the airport’s special assistance team can be provided.
For health and safety reasons, the airline cabin crew are not permitted to physically assist customers with transfers. If you require help on and off a seat onto an on-board wheelchair during the flight, your airline will request that you fly with a travel companion. Your companion will need to be able to provide the assistance you require.
Under certain circumstances, your airline may request that you fly with a companion who will need to be able to help you with certain tasks while you are onboard the aircraft. If you are flying on your own, you must be independent with the following tasks:
Should you need assistance with any of the above, you will need to fly with a travel companion. This person must be aged 16 or over and able to help you with any of the above tasks, as and when required.
Your airline will have toilets situated at the front and rear of the cabin. These are all fitted with grab handles to aid you. The toilet compartment is very small, making access difficult if you require assistance. The on-board wheelchair can be taken to the door of the toilet compartment but does not fit inside.
The Queen Elizabeth Foundation (QEF) has some good resources on flying with a disability, which can be found on the QEF website. If you live in England, you may wish to consider a “Try before you fly” assessment with the organisation.
Do also take a look at their video guide, which covers everything, from the preparation and planning needed before the flight, procedures at the airport, boarding the aircraft, what to consider during the flight and disembarking.
You may also be interested to read the following page: