So many parents and guardians of children with moderate or severe disabilities share my friend’s frustrations. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s high time the industry gave these parents more options.
Now it can. UK-based charity MERU, which designs and manufactures specialised equipment for children and young people with disabilities, has launched a new and improved TravelChair for aircraft. The TravelChair offers various adjustable features to ensure that disabled children between the ages of 3 to 11 years (depending on weight and height) are supported and comfortable, even on long-haul flights.
Virgin Atlantic recently became the first airline to purchase the latest version of the TravelChair, which weighs about 6kg, and folds in half to fit into an overhead bin. Geraldine Lundy, Virgin Atlantic’s passengers accessibility adviser, says: “We’ve used the previous version of the TravelChair for many years to fly hundreds of children with disabilities around the world and we are really pleased to know that we will enable many more children with disabilities to travel safely and comfortably to wherever we fly.”
Needless to say, it would be wonderful to see other carriers follow Virgin Atlantic’s lead. MERU TravelChair sales & marketing manager Gilly Golesworthy reports that the charity is “working towards FAA approval which is very exciting and will open up a whole new world of possibilities for families with disabled children”.
She says Boeing is also very keen to display a TravelChair in its visitor centre in Seattle as it attracts over 280,000 visitors annually, and Airbus wants to display a TravelChair too, “both of which are fantastic opportunities” to get the word out.