Wheelchair user Josh Wintersgill, who last year won the UK Disabled Entrepreneurs Award for his easyTravelseat invention, tells us about his incredible year – from being supported by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to exhibiting at Naidex 2019. Find out more about how Josh has found success and how his unique invention can make travelling abroad easier for you.
Last year, when myself and co-worker Charlotte first visited Naidex 2018 to meet new people and make business connections, my target was to exhibit at the event in 2019. After the successes at the UK Disabled Entrepreneurs Award 2018, our first action was to book a stand for 2019.
This year saw 16,000 pre-registered attendees at Naidex – a phenomenal number. Across the two days, the four of us on the easyTravelseat stand were non-stop, discussing its benefits with customers, potential partners and retailers.
It got to the point where we heavily relied on Anne (middle right) being a fantastic traffic warden for the queue of wheelchairs – exactly what we wanted!
We were overjoyed to see that everyone was astounded by the simplicity of the easyTravelseat and how it helps to alleviate the current undignified and uncomfortable process of boarding and disembarking an aircraft.
On our stand, we tried to replicate a wheelchair user being lifted from their wheelchair or aisle chair to an aircraft seat using the easyTravelseat, purely for demonstration purposes. These were certainly a success, resonating extremely well. If you weren’t able to make the show, you can see how it works in the video below.
What people think of the easyTravelseat
Claire Taggart, a GB Paralympic Boccia player, flew to Croatia the weekend prior to Naidex. Claire used the easyTravelseat on her flight there.
Here’s what she had to say:
“The easyTravelseat is incredible. I’ve just flown to compete in a competition in Croatia and I can honestly say I’ve never been comfier on a flight.
I usually get lower back pain and increased muscle tone when flying, due to the lack of seat support. But not with easyTravelseat. I felt comfortable through all transfers. If you are indecisive about whether to invest in one, I can highly recommend it.”
Claire will be documenting her journey back from Croatia, which we will share with you soon, giving you an even better insight into her trip and the logistics of using the seat.
Making sure the easyTravelseat is right for you
The easyTravelseat has been designed to be universal so that it can be used almost on any aircraft. Because of the need to transfer down the aisle of a plane, we have had to be mindful of the seat’s width and it impeding on other passengers.
As such, customers can use their own cushion inside our easyTravelseat, but only if it fits within the measurements of our current sizes. The cushion also needs to have a soft base. Customers with cushions greater than 2.5 inches thick cannot currently be used inside our easyTravelseat. But this is something we are working on, so watch this space.
We also had enquires about more support for the upper body, including the neck. The easyTravelseat does allow for a cushion to be placed through the back, although we don’t supply those cushions at the moment, nor the headrest.
We are, however, entering into some work with a UK company to enable us to provide an integrated solution. It’s something we know our customers want, and we’re always trying to make our seat even better, so it’s extremely exciting. More to come on this, too.
Lastly, some customers asked about compatibility between the Eagle hoist and the easyTravelseat. Again, this is something we are currently investigating and will have more information about soon.
Easy family of brands conference
A week after Naidex, we were in central London for the yearly conference of the easy family of brands, hosted by easyGroup and its founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. This was our first year attending the conference as we’d just got our licence to be part if the easy family brand.
The afternoon involved an introduction by Sir Stelios and a brief history of his life, from a young man running his own shipping company to launching easyJet, his philanthropic foundation, his easyGroup and easy family of brands. It was extremely inspiring.
Afterwards, it was time for new licensees to take the stage. I wasn’t aware that I would be speaking until I arrived at the event. More than 150 people were there, including lawyers, bankers, easy franchisors and franchisee. So, I explained our journey – from creating Able Move, winning the award and rebranding to the new easyTravelseat. We had a fantastic round of applause.
By Josh Wintersgill
For more information about the easyTravelseat, visit the website.
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