Air, road or rail: what is the best way to travel for those with limited mobility?

We thankfully live in an age where having limited mobility is increasingly less of an issue than it was 30 or 40 years ago. Travelling can however pose a few questions and certainly raise some uncertainty with regards to legislation and what we can expect.

Some people consider flying to be the most relaxing and effective way from getting from A to B. It is certainly the quickest way but it is more often than not the most expensive way as well. The best piece of advice is to simply book your flight as early as possible so that you can explain what you need to take on-board so that any extra preparatory work on their side can be carried out and you know what to expect (e.g. electric wheelchairs are subject to regulations due to their batteries) .

wheelchair plane

FAA safety regulations state that a wheelchair does not constitute a part of a passenger’s carry-on weight limit. It also states that any assistive devices must be allowed on with the passenger. Should your wheelchair need to be packed up for the journey it is the airline’s duty to disassemble the wheelchair and re-assemble it for you again at the other end.

The benefits of travelling by road are that you can do the journey in your own time and take breaks from the journey at your own leisure. Getting into the passenger seat of a regular car can prove problematic and even getting to the car is not always straightforward.

Specialised vehicles designed for wheelchair access can make the whole process much easier and the Stannah outdoor stairlift is fully waterproof so help is available regardless of weather conditions making getting to and from the vehicle much easier.

Depending on the journey, travelling by train can either be straightforward or a nightmare. Network Rail ask that you contact them 24 hours in advance if you will require any help getting on and off of the trains and there is usually a designated place in a train carriage designed for wheelchair use.

That said, negotiating your way up and down carriages might not be possible as the walkways are often incredibly narrow. The bonus of travelling by train however is you may be eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard.


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