Accesible air travel, and indeed overall travel, will increasingly be something airlines will have to work on as regulations tighten, nevermind the cost-cutting.
UK-based Transport design studio Priestmangoode has created a conceptual airline seat with a detachable wheelchair. The Air Access wheelchair would start in the departure lounge – where there’s more room to manoeuvre than on the aircraft itself…Once on board, the wheelchair would simply clip back into a fixed seat frame to form a normal aisle seat, until the destination.
From Priestmangoode’s description: How it works:
The Air Access concept consists of two elements: a detachable wheelchair by which passengers can be transported onto and off of the plane, and a fixed-frame aisle seat on the aircraft into which the wheelchair is mated to create a regular airline seat. Ground services staff assist the passenger into the Air Access wheelchair seat in the departure gate or on the jetway, where there is ample space to manoeuvre. When seated, the passenger is wheeled onto the plane.
Once onboard, the wheelchair’s 360-degree pivoting wheels enable it to be slid sideways into the fixed-frame aisle seat without the passenger needing to get up. When the two elements are positioned, they are locked together for the duration of the flight. On arrival, ground staff simply unlock the wheelchair seat, slide it out into the aisle and wheel the passenger to the jetway or arrival gate. Once there, the passenger returns to his or her own wheelchair or zimmer frame, or transfers into the airport’s wheelchair.