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Abstract

One outcome of air transportation deregulation policies worldwide is the growing number of passengers, including people with a disability. Because social equality is recognized as a worthwhile objective, providing an environment at both the airport terminal and on-board aircraft that eases travel for those with various impairments is an objective airlines and airport authorities increasingly view as important, and which they monitor. In order to understand the disabled traveler's wants and needs, this paper is applied to analyze and examine the perception of and satisfaction with air transportation services. The article defined the area of aviation legislation dealing with the problem of disabled and the immobile passengers, descriptive options and possibilities which are offered for disabled passengers at the airport.
Volume XVIII, 34 No.1, 2015
ISSN 1339-9853 (online), acta-avionica.tuke.sk ISSN 1335-9479 (print) © 2015 LF TUKE
Passengers with Reduced Mobility in Air Travel
Peter KOŠČÁK,
Faculty of Aeronautics Technical University of Kosice, Rampová 7, 041 21 Košice. Slovak Republic
Corresponding author. E-mail: peter.koscak@tuke.sk
Ján FERENC
Faculty of Aeronautics Technical University of Kosice, Rampová 7, 041 21 Košice. Slovak Republic
Ján KOLESÁR
Faculty of Aeronautics Technical University of Kosice, Rampová 7, 041 21 Košice. Slovak Republic
Summary. One outcome of air transportation deregulation policies worldwide is the growing
number of passengers, including people with a disability. Because social equality is recognized as a
worthwhile objective, providing an environment at both the airport terminal and on-board aircraft that
eases travel for those with various impairments is an objective airlines and airport authorities
increasingly view as important, and which they monitor. In order to understand the disabled traveler’s
wants and needs, this paper is applied to analyze and examine the perception of and satisfaction with
air transportation services. The article defined the area of aviation legislation dealing with the problem
of disabled and the immobile passengers, descriptive options and possibilities which are offered for
disabled passengers at the airport.
Keywords: Air transport, immobile passenger, aviation legislation for immobile passengers
1. INTRODUCTION
Although he bought a ticket a month before departure, he could not be sure if he really will fly. He is
never sure whether to get on board. For a disabled person traveling is a constant challenge. Often we
behave selfishly to needs of people around us to notice. Most suffer immobile and disabled people
who constantly need our help and many times are also dependent on it. Among the biggest problem
they face is currently traveling. Airports and airlines are trying for all passengers to feel safe and
comfortable at the airport and on the plane. However, not many bodies of airports do realize the
number of handicapped and disabled passengers is increasing every year. It is therefore necessary to
introduce newer and more effective measures to improve the quality handling disabled and immobile
passengers.
2. PERSONS WITH REDUCED MOBILITY
Disabled people and people with reduced mobility need to know before they start out that the
facilities, services and infrastructure on a journey are accessible. The lack of an accessible taxi or the
absence of any means to call for assistance on arrival at an airport can prevent a disabled person or
person with reduced mobility from using air services. In addition to an accessible physical
environment, a successful journey depends on the quality of service provided, in particular, by
customer-facing staff along the various points of the journey. For this reason, training is essential to
ensure staff is well briefed on their legal responsibilities and how to meet the needs of disabled or
reduced mobility passengers [1].
A "disabled person" or a "Person with Reduced Mobility" (PRM) is someone whose mobility when
using a means of transport is reduced on account of a physical (sensory or locomotor, permanent or
temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose
situation requires appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service
made available to all passengers [Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2006] [6].
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Opportunities for air travel have grown significantly in recent years, with cheaper flights serving a
wider range of destinations. For many people, this has made flying a more common experience. It is a
matter of equality that disabled people and people with reduced mobility should have opportunities for
air travel comparable to those of other people. However, for people with a disability or mobility
difficulty, the prospect of attempting a trip by air can seem fraught with potential difficulties. One bad
experience can put off a potential customer from flying again
2.1 Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility
Passenger with reduced mobility can experience problems traveling overseas. Insufficient
information for PRM taking a flight, the need to wait in line, and the lack of barrier-free facilities and
services can deter people with reduced mobility from traveling overseas [2].
Figure 1 Persons with reduced mobility travel procedures
Travel planning
Overseas travel information
Airline ticket reservation
Overses travel information
1.
Pre-travel
Airline check-in
Waiting for check-in
a flight check
Boarding gate
Check
Security inspection
2.
Pre-flight
wheelchair
service
wheelchair
service
On board aircraft
Wheelchair service
User-friendly restroom
Safety information
3.
During flight
Deplaning
Leave
airport
Passport
control
4.
Post flight
wheelchair
service
wheelchair
service
wheelchair
service
wheelchair
service
Baggage &
wheelchair
claim
Custom
check
Hotel
Restaurant
Scenic spots
5.
Overseas travel
transport
transport
Passengers with reduced mobility in air travel 3.
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An individual with a disability or mobility difficulty knows best how their needs can be met. Staff
should always seek to understand this through dialogue with the passenger, rather than making
assumptions. Passengers should be allowed to exercise self-reliance wherever possible. Responsibility
for meeting the needs of disabled persons and persons with mobility should be accepted at the highest
levels and delegated to people with the skills and authority to influence the design and operation of
aircraft and airport terminals or to alter procedures.
The intention of the legislators in drafting the Regulation was to allow disabled persons and persons
with reduced mobility access to air travel on an equal footing with passengers without mobility
limitations. This is achieved by providing specific rights to assistance, by assigning corresponding
obligations to providers and thereby protecting disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility
from discrimination in exercising their rights while booking, purchasing and using air transport
services.
The overriding and fundamental principle of flight safety for all passengers and crew members must,
of course, be observed. The provision of any service should however be proportionate to the
circumstances of the request. Any refusal to provide assistance or carriage should be clearly based on
a reason contained within the Regulation. It should however be noted that, in order to allow service
providers to arrange for the required assistance. Meeting the needs of people with a disability or
reduced mobility is both a personal and corporate responsibility. Everyone in an organization has a
responsibility to ensure they meet the needs of their customers. At the personal level it involves
awareness of the potential needs and requirements of disabled and reduced mobility passengers and
the ability to communicate effectively. Those involved in the design, management and delivery of
services should have a clear understanding of how their role affects disabled people, and the
knowledge, skills, abilities and commitment to ensure that disabled people are included [1, 4].
3. DOCUMENTATIONS FOR PERSONS WITH REDUCED MOBILITY
European Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with
reduced mobility when travelling by air imposes legal obligations on airport managing bodies, air
carriers, their agents or tour operators in respect of the service they provide to disabled persons and
persons with reduced mobility. The Civil Aviation Authority has powers to enforce the Regulation and
any company found to be in breach of its obligations could be subject to prosecution.
There are a number of international standards and recommendations that have been developed in this
area by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO). In particular, Section 5 of ECAC Policy Statement in the Field of Civil Aviation
Facilitation (ECAC Doc No. 30 Part 1) contains guidance on facilitation of the transport of persons
with reduced mobility. This Code of Practice supports the agreed international position but adds
further details where there are gaps [3].
Airlines will also need to be aware of relevant accessibility legislation in countries outside the EU
which could impact on the services they operate to and from those countries [3-8].
1. The Code of Conduct has been prepared on the base of regulations regarding the standard services
for PRMs contained within the following documents:
a) European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Doc. 30, section 5 including annexes:
Annex E: Guidance leaflet for persons with reduced mobility who may be infrequent or
first time flyers,
Annex F: Guidance material for security staff Key points for checks of PRMs,
Annex J: Code of Good Conduct in ground handling for persons with reduced mobility,
Annex K: Guidelines on ground handling for persons with reduced mobility,
Annex N: Guidelines on awareness and disability equality for all airport and airline
personnel dealing with the travelling public.
b) Annex 9 ICAO,
c) Regulation EC 1107/2006
d) European Directives regarding Ground Handling Services
4 Peter Koščák, Ján Ferenc, Ján Kolesár
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2. The Code of Conduct contains the minimum standards required, with special emphasis being
placed on the continual improvement of standards, particularly in terms of strategic planning e.g.
new airport infrastructure, terminals, new ground handling systems.
3. The Code of Conduct includes regulations pertaining to all aspects of air travel for PRMs from
obtaining information regarding a particular journey through to the arrival at their destination.
4. The Code of Conduct also includes solutions pertaining to airport infrastructure in terms of
signage and information for PRMs.
5. All queries and doubts regarding the present document will be explained and interpreted by the
Advisory Committee for the Disabled.
Rules for PRM for flights to and from United States - rules concerning people with reduced mobility,
US DOT 382, the rules are on pages 27683-26687 of this document. According to the European
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the carriage of specified categories of passengers (SCPs) refers to
the following documents [5].
Regulatory advice:
Regulation (EC) N° 261/2004, in particular Articles 8, 9 and 11.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 859/2008 (EU-OPS)
Regulation (EC) No 216/2008
Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006
JAA guidance in order: Section 2 / JAR-OPS 1, TGL 44
Reference documents:
Studies TÜV Rheinland of special categories of passengers traveling by air. EASA.2008.C.25.1
December 2009
ICAO Anex Anex 6 and 9: Part I The international commercial aircraft in aviation; Part 4 Flight
operations and section 12 of the deck crew.
ECAC DOC No. 30 (Part I), Section 5 and Anex A - G.
Proposal for a Regulation on Air operations; Anex IV, Part CAT (Commercial Air Transport)
CAT.OP.MPA.155 Passenger Transportation special type
3.1. Airports / airlines assistance
A special in-flight wheelchair is available onboard aircraft for passengers with reduced mobility
traveling with an escort.
Table 1 IATA codes for Reduced Mobility Passengers [8]
WCHR
(Wheel Chair
Ramp)
Passenger able to walk by him/herself inside the plane as well as walk down and
upstairs, but who requires a wheelchair or other means of transport to move long
distances inside the airport.
WCHS
(Wheel Chair
Stair)
Passenger able to walk by him/herself inside the plane, but who cannot walk down
or upstairs and who requires a wheelchair or other means of transport to move
inside the airport.
WCHC
(Wheel Chair
Completely)
Immobilized passenger requiring a wheelchair to move about and assistance from
the time of arrival in the airport until the end of the flight, as well as to exit from
the airport.
Deaf
Passenger with hearing disability or hearing and speaking disability.
Blind
Passenger with sight disability (distinguish between blind and visually
handicapped person)
Deaf/Blind
Passenger with sight and hearing disability and who requires the assistance of an
accompanying person to move about.
DPNA
Passenger with intellectual or behavioral impairments
In the interests of safety, crew members are not authorized to lift passengers between cabin seat and
wheelchair or be of assistance during a visit to the lavatory, immobile as well as with the disabled
Passengers with reduced mobility in air travel 5.
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passengers using the air transportation. A wheelchair powered by a spillable battery has to be sent as
cargo. Service providers are recommended to follow the “Guidelines on ground handling for persons
with reduced mobility” contained in Document 30 of the European Civil Aviation Conference
(ECAC)16, notably Annex 5 D. That Annex sets out the standards of service that airports should
provide for departing and arriving disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility with and
without the required notice.
The main differences between the US and Europe is, on whom the responsibility is left for disabled
passengers. In the United States they are responsible for passenger Disabled airlines as soon as they
come up for tripping the counter. In Europe is responsible airport operator for services to PRM. The
airport is responsible to take responsibility for the passenger at the time when the response to the
airport, and ends at the passengers sitting on the plane. The logic may be questionable in both
directions, but the key point is the inconsistency and confusion passengers.
The situation in Canada is somewhat different. Canadian Transport Authority (CTA) has the transport
network to ensure the elimination of unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities. Some basic
regulations were adopted in the middle 1990s, but usually on the matter and decide cases CTA [3].
The air carriers could refuse carriage of persons:
The passenger, whose transportation, due to a physical or medical condition of the passenger,
could endanger the safety of passengers, their property, aircraft or crew.
Who refuses or is not subject to specific provisions under conditions of transport.
But the carrier cannot limit the number or type of incapacitated passengers on their flight, only, except
for operational reasons or if the government safety regulations limiting such numbers.
Employees should strive to be available at all airports wheelchairs and other devices to aid in loading /
unloading passengers off the plane at the airport and during stops at airports. They should also make
efforts to restrict disabled passengers to move around the airport. [7]
Categories
Passengers with reduced mobility are categorized into various groups distinguished by the disability of
the passenger requiring assistance.
Table 2 Identified in airline messages by AIRIMP code [7].
MAAS
Meet and assist - specify details
SP
Special needs passenger details to be optionally entered after the passenger’s name
on the ticket
WCHR 1
Wheelchair R for Ramp passenger can ascend/descend steps and make his/her
own way to/from cabin seat, but requires wheelchair for distance to/from aircraft (i.e.,
across ramp, finger dock or to mobile lounge, as applicable). When a service animal is
accompanying the passenger, specify the type of animal in the free text of the Special
Service Request (SSR) Item.
WCHS 1
Wheelchair S for Steps passenger cannot ascend/descend steps, but is able to
make own way to/from cabin seat; requires wheelchair for distance to/from aircraft or
mobile lounge and must be carried up/down steps. When a service animal is
accompanying the passenger, specify the type of animal in the free text of the SSR
Item.
WCHC 1
Wheelchair C for Cabin Seat passenger completely confined to wheelchair;
requires wheelchair to/from aircraft/mobile lounge and must be carried up/down steps
and to/from cabin seat by trained personnel. When a service animal is accompanying
the passenger, specify the type of animal in the free text of the SSR Item.
WCLB 1
Wheelchair Lithium-ion Battery Requires advance notification/preparation. Weight
and dimensions may be specified. Wheelchair and battery must be claimed and
rechecked at each interline transfer point.
Airport management:
6 Peter Koščák, Ján Ferenc, Ján Kolesár
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Assistance to move from a designated arrival point within the airport terminal to the check-in
counter;
Assistance with personal and baggage check-in process;
Assistance to move from the check-in counter to the aircraft, with completion of emigration,
customs and security screening.
Assistance to board the aircraft with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed,
as appropriate.
On board the aircraft:
Assistance to move from the aircraft door to your seat, help to store and retrieve baggage to and
from the overhead locker.
Assistance in moving from your seat to the toilet.
Assistance to move from your seats to the aircraft door.
When leaving the aircraft:
Assistance to disembark from the aircraft, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other
assistance needed, as appropriate.
Assistance to go from the aircraft to the baggage hall and retrieve baggage, with completion of
immigration and customs procedures.
Assistance to move from the baggage hall to a designated arrival area within the airport terminal
building.
Inside the airport terminal, when taking an onward connection:
Assistance to reach connecting flights when in transit, with assistance on the air and land sides and
within and between terminals as needed.
In addition to the above, PRMs shall receive the following services:
To be assisted by an accompanying person who can provide the necessary assistance in the
airport and with embarking and disembarking.
Ground handling of all necessary mobility equipment, including equipment such as electric
wheelchairs subject to notification of at least 48 hours prior to the time of departure of the flight.
Transport free of charge of up to two pieces of mobility equipment per disabled person or person
with reduced mobility, including electric wheelchairs, subject to notification of at least 48 hours
prior to the time of departure of the flight.
Carriage free of charge of recognized assistance dogs in the cabin, subject to national regulations.
To be seated next to your accompanying career whenever possible (mandatory if PRM is a
minor).
The temporary replacement of damaged or lost mobility equipment.
CONCLUSION
People with reduced mobility or travel disability must receive the above assistance. It is unlawful of an
EU or U.S based air carrier (or any other air carrier flying from and to the United States of America)
or airport managing company or their third party service providers to deny the above assistance in part
or as a whole.
References
Journals:
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Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities. 2005. Available at:
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mZPMAhUjD5oKHYtnDdwQFggpMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fairconsumer.ost.dot.gov%2Flegi
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05.doc&usg=AFQjCNGxoBddWenqLjirrgz9BcVxr8fs6g&bvm=bv.119745492,d.bGs&cad=rja>.
Passengers with reduced mobility in air travel 7.
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[2]. Y. Ch. Chang&Ch. F. Chen: Overseas travel choice for persons with reduced mobility, Elsevier
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[3]. Hulínská Š., Němec V., Szabo S.: Regulation for aviation safety, 2016. In: Interdisciplinarity in
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[4]. ECMT: Transport for people with mobility handicaps policy and achievements in Europe, 2016.
Available at:
<http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/IntOrg/ecmt/accessibility/pdf/tphpolicye.pdf>.
[5]. EASA: Carriage of special categories of passengers. Available at:
<https://www.easa.europa.eu/system/files/dfu/ToR%20MDM.072%20%28a%29%20%26%20%2
8b%29%29%20%28RMT.0269%20%26%20RMT.0270%29%20Issue%201.pdf>.
[6]. Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006
concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by
air. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/?qid=1480681515715&uri=CELEX:32006R1107
[7]. ACI: Airports & persons with disabilities. A Handbook for Airport operation, 2010. Available at:
<http://www.aci.aero/Media/aci/file/ACI_Priorities/Facilitation/Supplement_for_Airports_and_P
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<http://www.iata.org/publications/Documents/cabin-operations-safety-bp-guide-2015.pdf>.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
This paper deals with relationship between regulations and aviation safety. Regulatory basis is very extensive in aviation and strict rules are established, but in some areas stakeholders have quite a freedom. One of these areas is the aviation safety. It is the first point in a list of demands from the general public, who use air travel. This article addresses three sample areas with a looser interpretation of regulations and shows on them the development of compliance-based safetyto performance-based safety.
Airline Contractors and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities
  • S Podbersky
Podbersky, S.: What Airline Employees, Airline Contractors and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities. 2005. Available at: <https://www.google.cz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwiI27u7 mZPMAhUjD5oKHYtnDdwQFggpMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fairconsumer.ost.dot.gov%2Flegi slation%2Facaa%2FTAM-07-1505.doc&usg=AFQjCNGxoBddWenqLjirrgz9BcVxr8fs6g&bvm=bv.119745492,d.bGs&cad=rja>.
What Airline Employees, Airline Contractors and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities
  • S Podbersky
Podbersky, S.: What Airline Employees, Airline Contractors and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities. 2005. Available at: <https://www.google.cz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwiI27u7 mZPMAhUjD5oKHYtnDdwQFggpMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fairconsumer.ost.dot.gov%2Flegi slation%2Facaa%2FTAM-07-15-05.doc&usg=AFQjCNGxoBddWenqLjirrgz9BcVxr8fs6g&bvm=bv.119745492,d.bGs&cad=rja>. ISSN 1339-9853 (online), acta-avionica.tuke.sk ISSN 1335-9479 (print) © 2015 LF TUKE