Guide to Travelling Abroad with a Disability

Thu May 26 2022

Travelling abroad with a disability can be a daunting idea for many. Despite living in a more accessible world, issues with travel can still arise. This can be seen by the many news reports and stories, such as BBC's Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner's incidents at Heathrow and Gatwick airport where he was left on a plane for more than an hour waiting for his wheelchair.

Common problems travelling abroad with a disability

A disabled person may face an array of problems when travelling abroad. Some of them include:

  • A lack of special assistance

  • Having mobility equipment refused on a plane

  • Damage to a wheelchair or other mobility equipment

  • Difficulty communicating accessibility needs in another language

  • Longer waiting times

  • Transfers to the airport

Preparation for travelling abroad via plane with a disability

This guide aims to help you when travelling abroad with a disability. There are several things you may need to do before travelling to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

Generally speaking, you should plan how you will get too and from the airport. You will also want to carry any documentation that explains your disability or any additional needs you may have. We always advise you speak to the airline provider before any travel to avoid any issues.

Travel insurance for disabled people

Before you fly to your destination, make sure you have travel insurance in place. The cost of travel insurance depends on personal circumstances, but it is very important that you are covered correctly and all information is disclosed, including any disabilities or health conditions. You can purchase travel insurance at your local Post Office or compare prices on websites such as compare the market and GoCompare.

Insurance for your mobility product when you are abroad

We also recommend taking out insurance on your mobility product. When insuring your product, make sure you are ensured correctly for travel abroad as some policies do not cover all destinations and durations.

Travelling with medication

Rules on travelling with medication vary in different countries. If you are taking any prescription drugs, you may need to get proof that it was prescribed to you. You can request a letter from your GP, if necessary. It is also advisable that you check with your airline if you need to bring any additional supporting evidence.

Reducing the risk of damage to your mobility equipment during transportation

The most common problem disabled customers face when travelling abroad is damage to their mobility equipment. This is usually because the staff at the airports will not understand how to use the equipment, particularly if it is a folded wheelchair, powerchair or scooter. Therefore we recommend customers print instructions with their chair. This will help those handling your equipment and prevent damage.

Special assistance at airports

Special assistance is available at all airports. This service is specifically available to those with disabilities, needing extra support during their travels. We advise you speak with the airline you are travelling with to arrange extra assistance.

If you need extra space or consider yourself vulnerable, you may wish to wear a Sunflower Lanyard. The Sunflower Lanyard is widely recognised and indicates to people that you may need additional support, help or a little more time.

Your rights to travel as a disabled person

For further information on travelling broad with a disability, visit the Government website. Here, you can also find information about your rights.

Recommended lightweight flight-approved products

There are a number of mobility products suitable for travel. Whether you are looking for a manual wheelchair, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter, we stock a range of lightweight mobility products that are flight-approved.

Karma Ergo Lite 2

Super light self-propelled wheelchair weighing 10.5 kg total - a bit heavier than the transit's 9.2 kg. However, the quick-release rear wheels can be popped off to reduce the transport weight to 5.8kg

Kuschall Champion SK

Combining design with style and performance, it is the only truly rigid foldable wheelchair. The Champion SK's unique horizontal folding mechanism folds the wheelchairs in the size of an A4 folder.

Atto Sport

The Atto Sport is the perfect scooter to travel with. It folds up into a neat suitcase size within seconds, which can then be wheeled along like a trolley suitcase. This will fit easily on a plane.

Pride iGo Plus

The iGo Plus is a premium folding powerchair that is comfortable without compromising on performance. This powerchair is compact and super light, making it ideal for those looking to travel abroad.

Want to find out more about flight approved mobility products? Simply give us a call on 0800 025 8005 to speak with a product specialist who can advise you further.

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