All the tips to face a more peaceful and fearless journey, through a free and necessary service, still little known. Here's who can request special assistance for air travel and how you can get it.
Traveling may be less easy for some people than others. No, we're not talking about lack of time or money but about those people who have one reduced mobility: such as the elderly, a physical or cognitive disability, or in general who have a health problem even if only temporary (such as a limb in plaster) and may not be completely independent in dealing with some travel procedures.
Many do not know or simply ignore, for little information, that in European airports (and in the countries that are part of theEFTA: European Free Trade Association) it is a right to request free special assistance for air travel.
Special assistance for air travel
All services to request
These are services that are carried out by the airports but must be requested, at the most within 72/48 hours before the flight takes off, to the airline with which the ticket was purchased. The airlines, both scheduled and low cost, have, on each site, the adequate information to follow to activate the request for assistance. Toll-free numbers or chat to talk to an agent and learn about the procedures in detail.
It is always best to inquire in good time, before departure, as each company then has its own rules to allow the transport of medical equipment, life-saving drugs and mobility aids such as wheelchairs.
The special assistance facilitates and makes embarking and disembarking operations less tiring. How? By setting up dedicated ground staff, wheelchairs and ramps, assistance is provided differently depending on the needs of travelers:
to move around the airport;
be supported during security checks;
to avoid going up and down the stairs of the aircraft;
place the hand baggage in the overhead bin and retrieve the checked baggage from the belts.
Who can request it
The request it does not have to be correlated by medical certifications. To be more precise, it is not necessary to belong to the protected categories or have a certified disability to obtain it but this does not even mean that there must be abuse. There are people, "the smart ones", who require it to have benefits such as priority boarding or for get more comfortable seats on the plane.
Special assistance on the plane: a right for those with a real need
It is a bit like those who decide to park their car, even if only temporarily, in a place reserved for the disabled because in a hurry. These people do not understand that by doing so they take away the possibility, to those who really have the need, to use a dedicated service.
Travelers, those who really need to enjoy these rights, often don't even know they can apply for them. We think of autistic people who do not like confusion or long waits very much. They are often unaware that with assistance they could be helped and facilitated during security checks.
Other cases are those of the parents traveling alone and they go crazy among the children and the various luggage and ignore the possibility of being able to get help from an official, at least for the transport of luggage.
There are other situations in which the opposite occurs such as people who do not want to ask for assistance because they fear the "wheelchair", do not accept and do not want to be seen in a 4 wheel chair. Sometimes it is best to put pride aside and think about your well-being, especially when you have a hard time making long journeys, such as those leading to the gate, or staying up for a long time. Just think of the long lines that can be at the metal detectors during the high summer season.
We must remember that assistance is a service available to those who have a real need, to face a journey with less fear and more tranquility.