In this article we will take a look at the 5 best disability-friendly airlines and what they have to offer to make the journey of those with disabilities a pleasant one.
Traveling with disabilities is a cumbersome task and if your vehicle isn’t comfortable, it becomes unbearable. One of the most difficult tasks of flying with visible or invisible disabilities is choosing an airline to travel with. It is of vital importance that you pick an airline that has the right assistance available to help and support you throughout your journey. Several airlines require a 48-hour notice to ensure that proper disability support is in place, while there are some that offer assistance at short notice. Let’s take a look at the 5 best disability-friendly airlines that prioritize your comfort and safety above all else.
Best Disability-Friendly Airlines – A Quick Glance
5 Best Disability-Friendly Airlines – Overview
Given below are brief overviews of the five best disability-friendly airlines. Give them a read to find out more.
1. Virgin Atlantic – #1 among the Best Disability Friendly Airlines
Virgin Atlantic Airlines offers a special assistance program to all those with disabilities. This allows people with disabilities to request support and assistance from airport staff with their journey to and from the aircraft. For those with mobility issues, this service includes pre-arranging a mobility vehicle or a wheelchair and helping them board the flight with the wheelchair if required. Being one of the best disability-friendly airlines, Virgin Atlantic also offers priority seating to those with disabilities and a wheelchair is always available on board to assist those who cannot move on their own.
The cabin crew also helps those with mobility issues to and from the bathroom. In case you have an invisible or hidden disability the airline has a printable document that you can download from their website. By showing this document to the flight crew you can discreetly make them aware of your hidden disability and ask them for assistance when you need it.
2. British Airways
In February 2022, British Airways took another vital step towards non-visible disabilities awareness. The airline partnered with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and became first UK airline to officially recognize the Sunflower. Passengers can wear the sunflower lanyard to discreetly signal a non-visible disability, allowing the flight crew to understand that a passenger may require assistance on board. British Airways is one of the best disability-friendly airlines and offers several services to support those with disabilities during flight and make their journey as comfortable as they can.
Those with disabilities can contact the special assistance team and request pre-boarding support with mobility or other assistance they might need to get to the aircraft. You can also keep your service dog in the cabin with you and can also ask for help with reaching your seat and going to and from the bathroom.
Primarily known for long-haul travel to and from Australia, Qantas Airlines provides you with staff that will assist you in getting to the departure gate, finding your seat, and boarding/disembarking the aircraft. For those with mobility limitations, Qantas offers extra support and supplies them with much-needed assistance and mobility aid.
Moreover, those with mobility limitations can also stow one collapsible wheelchair in the aircraft cabin if it falls within the size restrictions. The request for this has to be made during airport check-in. Crutches, and walking canes/frames can also be stowed in the aircraft cabin free of charge. Due to the airline’s continuous efforts to make flying comfortable for those with disabilities, Qantas is known as one of the best disability-friendly airlines.
Emirates is among the best disability-friendly airlines due to its accessible travel scheme that provides support and assistance to passengers with a range of disabilities. For those who have audio and visual impairment, Emirates inflight entertainment includes TV programs and films with closed captions and audio description options. Moreover, the headphones on board are also compatible with standard hearing aids. Cabin crew is also available to facilitate priority boarding for disabled passengers.
Accessible travel with Emirates offers airport assistance to those with mobility limitations from the terminal entrance drop-off point to the pick-up point on arrival. Moreover, those with disabilities can also bring medical equipment and a maximum of two mobility aids into the aircraft cabin without additional baggage charges. They should however fit the aircraft sizing requirements. Emirates also allows service dogs to travel for free in the cabin.
5. American Airlines
The last but definitely not the least airline in our 5 best disability-friendly airlines is American Airlines. If you are disabled and require assistance at the airport and during your flight, you can make a request with the American Airlines special assistance coordinator in advance either online or via call. Once you have requested assistance, you will receive a call from the coordinator before your flight to confirm that all the arrangements for your trip are in place.
The airline also offers early boarding and special seating to those with disabilities. To make the trip easy and comfortable, American Airlines offers several support services to those with visible and invisible disabilities. They are always ready to lend a helping hand, from mobility and wheelchair assistance at the airport to vision and hearing assistance.
If you are taking your service dog with you but don’t know which airline accommodates them, then you can check our article on 5 best paw-friendly airlines to see which one is ideal for traveling with service dogs.