The Art of Flying for Passengers with Wheelchair

From getting to the airport gate to getting on and off the airplane, air travel remains a big challenge for wheelchair users. It’s a fact that traveling with any disability is not easy. Let’s have a look at all possible barriers to overcome during a trip! 

wheelchair travel

From the moment you start planning the trip, you need to make sure that everything is as accessible as possible, and that may include a lot.

Flying with wheelchair means...

Firstly, arriving at the airport means dealing with anxiety because of how much is going on there, according to travelers who shared their experiences. For instance, the average person puts their bag on the belt to get scanned and you go through the metal detector, while most wheelchair passengers have to wait for someone who assists you to do the pat-down and this sometimes takes longer, because the agents are usually checking the wheelchairs as well. Bags are often put aside by an agent. 

Secondly, when getting to the gate passengers must double check that the airline has an aisle chair and explain how to lift the wheelchair while kindly asking them to be careful. Yet, wheelchairs get broken quite often or are even lost on the way. This is what every wheelchair passenger is afraid of! 

During the flight a person usually has to be careful not to consume too many snacks and beverages in order to avoid going to the likely very uncomfortable toilet. It is also common that the doors might not be closable during the act. On longer flights the aisle chair can sometimes be used to access the bathroom but most wheelchair passengers choose to rather become dehydrated than going to the bathroom. 

After landing, getting off the plane means hoping that your wheelchair is safe and intact, a pretty nervous experience from beginning to end. 

Finding a solution

To sum up, flying is especially stressful for wheelchair users, nevertheless your trip basically just started: This also means that everything that comes after leaving the airport and arriving at a new destination can be challenging, isn’t it ?

Some passengers opt for using train travel because it is much more accessible than air travel, but what’s really impressive according to Access Turismo’s  “El mercado potencial del turismo accesible para el sector español” (Potential accessible tourism market for the spanish sector) is that 56% of spanish people with disabilities do not travel due to a lack of accessibility! 


there are a lot of smart information tools and apps that make your trip safer and easier to bring you a close-to-normal experience when you travel. 

The Buddy Service App is a great way to make your trips more accessible: The app operates in Barcelona and provides any required and/or needed assistive services & products for people with disabilities via easy click-reservation. An aid that is always at hand to provide quick care in case of need.

Have you ever had a similar experience when you travel? 

Let us know in the comments below!

→ The app is available for iOS and Android and is FREE to download for users and service partners.