Wheelchairs and other mobility aids
While smaller mobility aids such as canes, crutches and collapsible walking frames can easily be stowed in the aircraft cabin, wheelchairs and motorised scooters can be a different story. As there is limited room for larger mobility equipment in the cabin (usually only one or two are accepted), airlines offer the option of checking your wheelchair in with your baggage and using an airport wheelchair, or taking your own chair all the way to boarding where it will then be stowed in the aircraft hold to be collected upon arrival.
Airport wheelchairs are subject to availability, so it’s essential you get in early and make your special assistance details known. For motorised mobility aids, you must ensure all batteries are disconnected and that the connections are taped and covered so they do not turn on during the flight or run the risk of short circuiting.
It is important to give as much information about the type of equipment you have when making your booking, so you don’t run into issues with security or during the boarding process. Don’t forget to label your wheelchair or mobility equipment before you travel.
When booking your accommodation or if you’re considering a cruise, contact the company well in advance to see whether you can secure a ground-level room, discuss the availability of elevators or ramps and whether there is suitable access in and out of dining or entertainment areas.
Travelling with assistance dogs
Different airlines have individual protocols when it comes to travelling with assistance dogs: some allow the dogs to remain on board, while others require them to be placed in a secure pet container in the hold.
Assistance dogs must fulfil a checklist to be accepted on board, including having met an appropriate level of training, certification from an industry recognised organisation and passing a public access test in the case of guide dogs. Handlers should have a laminated identification card with their name and their companion’s name printed on it ready to show to staff on request.
Registered service dogs can often accompany you on board on domestic flights and select international flights, but it’s important to check whether your flight route is assistance dog approved.
To avoid difficulties when it comes to quarantine, make sure your canine companion has met the specifications on the quarantine appropriate website (e.g. AQIS for Australia and DEFRA for the United Kingdom) and that you have any and all relevant documentation with you including vaccinations, treatments and micro-chipping.
Your dog’s safety harness may be required during take-off, landing or any time the "fasten seat belt" sign is turned on. Finally, make sure your assistance dog has access to water both before and during the journey.