The width of a standard-sized wheelchair is approximately 24 inches. It is too wide to fit into the narrow aisle of an aircraft that can be as narrow as 20 inches. To facilitate the boarding of passengers with mobility impairments, airlines use aircraft boarding chairs. There are several models of aircraft boarding chairs. They are mostly rigid-framed chairs with small wheels for the front and back. Some are fitted with detachable larger wheels with push rims like those on wheelchairs to ease the independent movement of users around the airport premises. Users sitting on the boarding chairs with just the small wheels have to depend on airline staff to push them.
I have previously identified aircraft boarding chairs as aisle chairs. This is only partly accurate as boarding chairs are indeed able to traverse aircraft aisles. Boarding chair is used to move a disabled person from the check-in counter or outside the aircraft to the seat inside the aircraft. The chair removed from the aircraft after the passenger has transfered to the aircraft seat. The usage of this chair is dependent on the availability of an aerobridge connecting the aircraft to the airport terminal. In the next entry, I will write about on-board aisle chairs which are foldable or collapsible and are stored inside the aircraft.
Malaysia Airlines aircraft boarding chair at Penang International Airport.
Japan Airlines aircraft boarding chair at Narita International Airport.
Japan Airlines aircraft boarding chair with the large wheels removed.
On-Board Aisle Chair
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