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Airline introduces accessible seat for power wheelchairs

Power wheelchair on an aeroplane

Passengers who use power wheelchairs will be able to use the seating on Delta Air Lines flights after a prototype was revealed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, last week.

The accessible feature was manufactured by Air4All which announced the news on their website saying: “Commercial aviation is the only mode of transport that has no regulations to allow power wheelchair users to travel safely and with dignity seated in their own chair in an aircraft cabin.”

Aviation journalist Seth Miller, who attended the expo, said the seat was “the star of the show” and shared a video on Twitter showing how the function works. When the cushions are removed and stored underneath the seat, you can pull up an arm rest allowing the base to be lifted.

Miller captioned the video by tweeting: “Very simple mechanisms, and Delta Flight Products is making it happen. Kudos to @flyingdisabled for his efforts to make it happen.”

The post tagged in Flying Disabled as the charity’s founder Christopher Wood MBE is also one of the members of Air4All, he travels around the globe campaigning for airlines to be more accessible for power wheelchair users.

President of Delta Airlines subsidiary Delta Flight Products, Rick Salanitri, said: “Air4All is collaborating with DFP and our strong production and manufacturing capabilities to explore new ways to deliver equal access to comfort, safety, and dignity for all customers.”

He added that “this patented design offers new possibilities for customers with disabilities to enjoy a travel experience they truly deserve.”

Chairperson of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Sir Stephen Hillier, said: “We believe that everyone should have access to air travel, and we welcome the significant improvements in accessibility made by UK airlines and airports in recent years.”

The seat can be transformed into standard mode or to accommodate a power wheelchair, which will hopefully encourage other airlines to introduce similar features.

Air4All explained: “Airlines have been resistant to provide a wheelchair space as this would result in a loss of seat count.”

[ Your taste buds are reduced by around 30% during a flight. ]

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