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Airport assistance for impaired adult?

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Airport assistance for impaired adult?

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Old 11th May 2018, 12:24
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Airport assistance for impaired adult?

A friend is considering travel from the US West Coast to Eastern Europe. This person suffered a serious stroke several years ago, has been fine since and walks OK, but still has some trouble with balance and, hence, things like stairs and escalators, and needs to avoid long walks (like from one end of FRA to the other). In my experience as a normal traveler, I find US airports much friendlier in general than European ones as far as passengers getting onto and (especially) off of aircraft and general navigation from one gate to another.

Are there generally adequate services at airports to deal with departing, connecting and arriving passengers with such needs? How are these arranged? How reliable are they? Other tips?
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Old 11th May 2018, 13:45
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA View Post
A friend is considering travel from the US West Coast to Eastern Europe. This person suffered a serious stroke several years ago, has been fine since and walks OK, but still has some trouble with balance and, hence, things like stairs and escalators, and needs to avoid long walks (like from one end of FRA to the other). In my experience as a normal traveler, I find US airports much friendlier in general than European ones as far as passengers getting onto and (especially) off of aircraft and general navigation from one gate to another.

Are there generally adequate services at airports to deal with departing, connecting and arriving passengers with such needs? How are these arranged? How reliable are they? Other tips?
sorry to learn of your friends' stroke - if he gets the OK to fly from his Dr - is he OK to travel unaccompanied?
if that is OK then as long as assistance is correctly pre booked with the airline then a Wchr or buggy from check-in to the aircraft will be arranged and off the aircraft to baggage claim and through customs

your friend may blanche at a WCHR assistance but frankly if he is on his own and has balance and walking issues affected by that then the sensible option is to ask for a booked Wchr assistance or at least buggy right through to the gate and off at the arrival
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Old 11th May 2018, 14:00
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Check with the airline. Depending on the severity of the condition he may need prior approval. He also may need an escort, for example if he cannot make his way to and with the toilet.

In the US it is the airlines responsibility to provide assistance but in the EU++, it is the airport. However, in both cases, request the assistance from the airline and, where possible, 72 hours in advance.

Avoid connecting flights if possible. If connecting avoid U.K. airports - a search here will tell you why.
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Old 11th May 2018, 14:24
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My friend has flown US domestically alone and was OK. The main concern here is 1) making the connection between flights (no way to avoid at least one) and 2) the less friendly design of many European airports (lots of stairs, especially at arrival gates). My friend can likely manage getting on and off the plane solo, and no problem with lavatory, etc. Otherwise, my friend is quite independent, drives alone, shops, cooks, cleans, etc.
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Old 11th May 2018, 14:42
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Depends which airport to be honest. I can think of more than a few that it really won't be a problem if booked more than 72 hours in advance. And they will get met with a smile and looked after no problems. I can also think of others eg London Heathrow where the experience will not be pleasant.,
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Old 11th May 2018, 14:44
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA View Post
My friend has flown US domestically alone and was OK. The main concern here is 1) making the connection between flights (no way to avoid at least one) and 2) the less friendly design of many European airports (lots of stairs, especially at arrival gates). My friend can likely manage getting on and off the plane solo, and no problem with lavatory, etc. Otherwise, my friend is quite independent, drives alone, shops, cooks, cleans, etc.
where is he going in East Euro? maybe find a connection point that is smaller and less busy - trouble is most EU hubs are all now massive - even Vienna and zurich are.

if he is going to Poland then LOT fly direct to Warsaw from the USA so the connection could be in the US...

its probably best to to book assistance all the way through as any stress during the trip and connecting could be negative for him
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Old 11th May 2018, 19:19
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We have recently discussed this in the Cabin of PPRuNe and the key is to avoid Heathrow.

In due course, if you can, feedback your friends experience, it helps others - as the linked thread demonstrates.
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Old 12th May 2018, 10:03
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Originally Posted by tescoapp View Post
Depends which airport to be honest. I can think of more than a few that it really won't be a problem if booked more than 72 hours in advance. And they will get met with a smile and looked after no problems. I can also think of others eg London Heathrow where the experience will not be pleasant.,
The flight will be to Budapest, and so the usual suspects for connections from the US West Coast are LHR, FRA, CDG, ZRH and MUC. Others with only one stop from the West Coast? Austrian/VIE? From what I've been reading here, LHR is a non-starter in this instance. Who knows of Air France will be operating in September. That would mean only FRA, MUC and ZRH.

Another concern I have is the possibility of missing a connection and what would happen then, especially if it involved an overnight stay. Does the PRM service extend beyond the airport?
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Old 12th May 2018, 10:49
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See if you can get HEL or ARN both airports are good. And then you could use say Airbaltic to get them to BUD. Riga airport is excellent for meet and assist and has a very high English standard and Airbaltic look after their punters.

With this sort of thing its usually easier to reverse the trip so go to the BUD airport website and see which flights go out and then make plans backwards.

AMS although big is pretty solid.

I don't have a clue what the official method of dealing with PRM's if caught in a overnight delay once they are out of my care sorry.
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Old 12th May 2018, 15:38
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The airline is responsible for the costs of a missed connection,
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Old 12th May 2018, 17:03
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See if you can get HEL or ARN both airports are good. And then you could use say Airbaltic to get them to BUD.
That would then involve 2 separate bookings, and if the flight from the USA is late the airlines are not responsible. It is an absolute must that your friend should book a through ticket on one reservation. I would also recommend you investigate routes where there are more than one flight from their transit airport to Budapest exists, then if they miss their intended flight there is another that the airline can put them on. Despite what people have said I would consider Heathrow as well as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt, all of which will have multiple flights to Budapest, so will have the contingency needed.
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Old 12th May 2018, 21:18
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Very much agree with Johnny FP’s comments on this.....whilst a single booking might force you to use what many might regard as a sub-optimal airport/airline combination it does provide some degree of protection against a missed connection....





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Old 13th May 2018, 05:52
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Yes but it is still possible to get a single ticket involving more than one airline. In the example Air Baltic is in the MITA and would accept an interline ticket issued by another airline.
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Old 17th May 2018, 13:34
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Thanks for all your suggestions.

Can't say I've ever seen a routing between the US West Coast and Budapest that involves either HEL or ARN. AMS is common, however, and KLM often have one of the lower costs.

It appears the EU has some pretty strict guidelines for providing services at airports to PRMs, including having to have assistance provided within 15 minutes of arrival at a request point in the airport even without advance warning.

Considering the seriousness of the stroke my friend had, it's amazing how far they've come, being able to be self-sufficient, including the ability to drive. I'm sure this trip won't be too much of a stretch, but it 's still best to be prepared and take advantage of the services offered as needed.
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Old 17th May 2018, 15:00
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Mark, ALWAYS give advance warning. And avoid UK airports.
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Old 21st May 2018, 16:13
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If you can get the phl there is a direct flight tobud. AA all the way from L.A. One stop 20 hours from what I can see.
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Old 22nd May 2018, 10:03
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Originally Posted by tescoapp View Post
If you can get the phl there is a direct flight tobud. AA all the way from L.A. One stop 20 hours from what I can see.
Yes, thanks, I am aware of this new service on American Airlines. Still, there are many options for 1-stop service to BUD from LAX, and in my experience you are better off flying non-stop from the West Coast to some airport in Europe than stopping on the East Coast.
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Old 9th Jun 2018, 09:21
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PRM handling was my first airport job in one the the major international airport in Africa AKA Wakanda kingdom. Its a lovely job and it makes one to appreciate humanity and to love the most. It most cases I know it's an airline job to organize for the processing of PRM passengers. Some airlines do it directly while others do opt for a third party contractor to do the job. WCHR is never that serious and so in most cases may not need DR clearance but just a notification to the airline. WCHS in most cases are those with medical conditions and so they need Dr clearance and the DR must be recognized by the airline you are flying. That job was sweet and it made me to understand disability and learn more about extreme medical conditions
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 09:05
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Originally Posted by ExXB View Post
Mark, ALWAYS give advance warning. And avoid UK airports.
And Dublin must also be added to that list. I think that OCS in DUB provide the worst Special Assistance service in Europe. In the few years Iíve flown into and out of this place not once have they ever been on time. A typical wait is 15 minutes after the last able bodied person has left. Their record is 45 minutes.

Regulation (EC) Nį 1107/2006 demands airportís provide a service that enables people with reduced mobility on a equal basis with able bodied passengers. This clearly does not happen at various airports. Maybe itís about time an airport or two was taken to court in order to send a message that the dreadful service currently on offer is unacceptable.

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Old 14th Jun 2018, 12:17
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This recent forum thread is also relevant: Heathrow wheelchairs
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