Flying can be stressful, painful, or simply impossible for wheelchair users. Critics say it doesn’t have to be that way.
Air Access, a conceptual project designed by the design firm Priestmangoode, offers an interesting solution for how to improve accessibility on airplanes for people with mobility impairments. The design is made up of two elements; a detachable wheelchair that can transport passengers onto and off of the plane, and a secure fixed-frame aisle seat that the wheelchair fits into in order to create a regular airline seat.
This allows the passenger to transfer into the chair at the departure gate where there is room to safely maneuver. No additional transfer is needed inside the plane, as the wheelchair’s 360-degree pivoting wheels enable it to slide sideways into the fixed-frame aisle seat. The Air Access seat could be installed in every aisle seat of the aircraft, allowing for many more accessible seats than are currently available. Since the aisle seats can also function as normal seating, the airline does not lose any seating space if there are no people with mobilities impairments on a particular flight. The chair has a removable pad, allowing users to substitute their own personalized cushions, an important consideration for people with spinal cord injuries.