Reply To: How do you survive the long flight to Japan if you're paralyzed?

  • John

    February 12, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Firstly, there is no way that a wheelchair user is ever going to be allowed to stay seated in his/her chair in an aircraft for primarily safety reasons (turbulence can be nasty), and secondly the width of the aisles would mean that a special area would have to be found in an already tight cabin.

    On long flights, I always sit on my RoHo cushion, and try to change position frequently. If you can afford it, and depending on the airline(s) and your travel agent’s skills, you may be able to arrange a business class seat (which converts to a lie-flat bed). If you advise them of your details and needs at the time of booking, you will find that most airlines are helpful. They can arrange appropriate accessible seats, lifting devices or slide boards to assist in getting you into/out of your seat and the special narrow aisle chair used to transport you into and out of the aircraft, and to the (small) on-board toilet. Your chair will be safely stowed in the aircraft hold as no charge checked-in luggage, and brought for you at the destination. The airline will usually organise assistance at both your departure and destination airports to help with immigration and luggage retreival. The previous suggestion to break the journey into two, preferably with an overnight stop in a hotel to allow you to get horizontal for a rest, is good advice.

    The seat guru website is very helpful in comparing different airlines and their aircraft. Just select an airline, then click on the aircraft you were considering flying on, and you are then offered a diagram of the numbered seating plan with details of good and bad seats. You can also see details of seat pitch (how much room you have from the backrest to to the back of the seat in front), as well as how far the backrest reclines. Different arcraft (and particularly different airlines) can vary quite a bit, which impacts on your comfort….so comparing can definetly help before you decide. There are also many comments from passengers on their experience in that seat/aircraft/airline which can also be helpful.

    Hope that helps.

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