Model of the aisle chair that AirAsia will equip all its aircraft with.
Photo by Wuan.
A wheelchair user nicely tucked in an airplane seat would feel pretty helpless without the means to move around. Never mind that the seat is luxuriously leather. On long-haul flights, I usually inform the airline of my needs well in advance to ensure that they are prepared. For me, one of the most useful piece of equipment inside an aircraft is an aisle chair. I need that to get to the toilet. The aisle chair is also important for me to get into and out of aircrafts at the airport.
Malaysia Airlines aisle chair at Penang International Airport for moving passengers from the airport into the aircraft.
Therefore it was great news for wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility when AirAsia Group Chief Executive Director Dato’ Tony Fernandes announced that all of AirAsia’s planes will be equipped with at least one aisle chair. This will clear a lot of anxieties for disabled passengers who need mobility inside aircrafts to empty their bladder in the privacy of the toilets.
Japan Airlines aisle chair at Narita International Airport for moving passengers from the airport into the aircraft.
The aisle chair is actually a wheelchair without the large back wheels that we normally see. Small casters are used in place. It has a narrow seat and high back to fit into the narrow aisles inside aircrafts. The chair has 2 straps – one a diagonal restraint for the torso and the other to keep the legs close together. It is not a comfortable thing to be in but is essential for mobility. The chair is also very portable and easily foldable into very compact configurations for easy storage.
Japan Airlines aisle chair at Narita International Airport with the large wheels removed.