Travel & Holidays

How to access air travel: 3 top tips for making your next flight less stressful

The launch of Accessible Travel Week has been phenomenal. We’ve had charities and accessible travel blogs sharing our work. People have already been in touch saying how useful the first video was. So without further ado, let’s release the second video and guide – about flying with Virgin Atlantic!

Are you disabled and have had a lifelong desire to travel the world? Does the thought of accessible air travel put you off the whole idea? Does it all seem too daunting, overwhelming and stressful?

I’m running an awesome social campaign called Accessible Travel Week where you can find hints and tips on how to book your dream holiday…

If you wish that travelling by plane was more straightforward, less effort and less stressful, then watch our video on accessible air travel to get actionable advice and our downloadable guide.

Air travel can be a formidable experience for everyone, but it adds to the stress, anxiety and apprehension if you’re also a wheelchair user.

“What if my wheelchair breaks during the flight? How am I supposed to actually get on the plane? Will I even be able to fit in the seats properly?”

I’m sure you can relate to these questions.

As Norman Vincent Peale once said: “Every problem has in it the seed of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”

Of course, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about flying, especially if you have extra equipment such as a wheelchair. Maybe it’s your first ever flight, or you’ve had some pretty bad past experiences, either way, it’s expected for you to feel this way.

Martyn and George at Virgin Atlantic discussing accessible air travel

Last week I visited Virgin Atlantic’s ‘base’ in Crawley, UK. I arrived with very few expectations, but this place was incredible!

Virgin has ‘rigs’ – pretty much life-size aeroplanes in the middle of a huge room – which are primarily used for training purposes, but also serve a purpose for any nervous disabled flyers.

You will be shown the ins and outs of it all – how you will get on and off the plane, the different seats and services available, Virgin’s equipment, such as ‘aisle wheelchairs’ for the plane itself, and much more. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask all the questions in the world.

In order to make your flight smooth, easy and simple, here are 3 useful tips:

1. Contact your chosen airline prior to your flight. Make sure the staff are aware of all of your needs and requirements. This is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions to put your mind at ease.

2. Create an inventory list prior to your flight. Make sure this list includes all of the equipment you are taking, AND their measurements. Not only will the airline need to know all of this information, this list will be extremely helpful in undesirable cases such as any equipment going missing or being broken during flight.

3. Label ALL your equipment, not just the equipment that you’re taking as hand luggage. Put your name, address and contact number on everything. This means you’re covered if anything goes missing during the flight.

Your flight will be a lot smoother if you follow these 3 simple tips. To get more in-depth tips like these, click here to watch our video on accessible air travel. Because after all, why should you miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities?

The best thing I ever did was stop worrying and just go for it, and I strongly urge you to do the same. You have the opportunity to persevere with your dreams and desires, so take it with both hands and don’t let it slip.

These videos will only be around for ONE WEEK, so to make sure you don’t miss out, click here to watch them now.

By Martyn Sibley

Want to learn more about accessible travel and to ask us your travel questions? Get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons using the hashtag #AccessibleTravelWeek, emailing us at or leaving your comments below.

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