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Greater Accessibility for AirAsia's Disabled Passengers

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Disabled guests traveling with AirAsia will now be able to fly with greater ease with the airline’s newly acquired ambulifts. The airline is placing one ambulift in its LCC Terminal hub (Kuala Lumpur) and another in its Kota Kinabalu hub.

Previously, disabled travellers would need the assistance of AirAsia’s ground staff to physically carry them onboard the aircraft. To help ease the difficulties faced by disabled travellers, the low cost carrier has purchased the ambulifts which will be used to transport the disabled guests directly from the ground to the aircraft and vice-versa.

In addition, the airline has acquired aisle wheelchairs to be used with the ambulifts and onboard the aircraft. For extra support, AirAsia’s in-flight lavatories are already equipped with special built-in handles for disabled guests.

Tony Fernandes of AirAsia, said, “It is great to finally see that our disabled friends are able to fly with us more comfortably today with the assistance of the ambulifts and aisle wheelchairs. After understanding the needs of our disabled friends, we have also enhanced our booking system to enable everyone including our disabled friends to now enjoy low fares when they log into our website.

 “As a low cost carrier, we acknowledge that there are certain limitations on our end with the services that we can offer but we will enhance our services and accessibility where possible and we hope to set the example for other LCCs to work towards an improved environment for our disabled guests in terms of enhanced amenities for greater mobility and comfort. Although we proactively acquired our very own ambulifts, we look forward for support from the airports to improve the total experience for disabled guests including leveled walkways, designated car parks, amongst others.”

Christine Lee, Coordinator of the Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) said, “We applaud AirAsia for taking responsible and proper steps to enhance its facilities and services to cater to the diverse needs of the traveling public, including disabled travelers. These new facilities and services are a positive reflection that AirAsia as a leading budget airline is serious in its effort to make air travel more accessible and inclusive of everyone. This in the end shows that Air Asia is consistent with its tagline ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’.”

“We are also happy that AirAsia, together with BEAT’s resource team comprising of disabled people themselves have introduced “Disability Equality Training” for its cabin crew and staff to give them a better understanding of “disability” issues as well as tips on how to relate and how to assist disabled passengers,” added Christine.

There are, however certain restrictions that remain. AirAsia only allows a maximum of four disabled passengers per flight. Out of the four, the airline can accommodate up to two seats for quadraplegic passengers. Disabled travellers requiring special assistance must contact AirAsia’s Call Centre at least 48 hours before the scheduled flight departure date to make prior arrangement with the airline for the type of assistance required.

Disabled passengers may also be required to travel with a companion if :
• It is essential for safety; or
• The passenger is unable to assist in his own evacuation from the aircraft; or
• The passenger is unable to understand safety instructions.

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