Delta Air Lines has unveiled a new accessible airplane seat to accommodate power wheelchair users.
The chair prototype was showcased this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
It was created in partnership with British company Air4All and will allow passengers to sit in their own electric wheelchairs during the flight.
Air4All says on its website: “Commercial aviation is the only unregulated mode of transport that allows electric wheelchair users to move safely and properly while in their seats in the aircraft cabin. .
Visitors to the show saw the patented design first-hand, and aviation journalist Seth Miller called it “the star of the show.”
Mr Miller shared a video on Twitter detailing how the chair works. After removing the cushions and storing them under the side seat, you lift the armrests, and then you can also pull up the base.
These actions mean that the standard seat converts into a space designated for the electric wheelchair to be immobilized.
“The mechanics are simple and Delta Flight Products is making that happen. Big thanks to @flyingdisabled for his efforts to make that happen,” he wrote on Twitter.
One of the members of the Air4All team is aviation accessibility consultant Christopher Wood MBE, founder of the Flying Disabilities Foundation and travels the world to campaign to make wheelchairs accessible to wheelchair users. commercial aviation.
Delta Flight Products President Rick Salanitri said: “Air4All is partnering with DFP and our strong manufacturing and manufacturing capabilities to explore new ways to deliver equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all customers.”
The seat can be used in both standard mode and allows the use of an electric wheelchair.
As Air4All points out: “Airlines have refused to provide wheelchair spaces as this would result in a loss of seating capacity.”
The chairman of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Sir Stephen Hillier, said: “We believe everyone should have the right to air travel and we welcome the significant improvements in accessibility. of UK airlines and airports in recent years.”
“This patented design offers new possibilities for customers with disabilities to enjoy the travel experience they truly deserve,” said Mr. Salanitri.
Last November, a passenger’s wheelchair was irreparably damaged after it was thrown onto Gatwick’s baggage carousel “like a suitcase”.
Meanwhile, in February this year, TV presenter Sophie Morgan described £5,000 worth of damage to her wheelchair by British Airways as “an attack”.