Establish transport boxes for electric wheelchairs for air travel!

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For weeks we have been looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year's Eve with our family in Alicante (Spain), but when my son Noel sat in the plane with his father, Ryanair simply kicked him out again. 

Noel lives with muscular atrophy. For this reason, since he is 12 years old he is dependent on an electric wheelchair manufactured for him. For safety reasons we have to give exact information on the type and battery of the electric wheelchair for every flight. We have taken care of all formalities as usual.

Furthermore, in accordance with the safety regulations, all battery-powered wheelchairs must be deactivated for the duration of the flight and the battery voltage must be switched off. Of course, this was done by his father before the handover, but Ryanair's staff was overburdened with the task of switching the wheelchair to neutral and pushing it into the plane. Noel's father offered to leave the plane and to take care of this for the staff, but he and my severely disabled son had to leave the plane and were left on the airfield.

We are still shocked and Noel has already said that he never wants to fly again because it has been a terrible experience for him. We know of countless other cases in which wheelchairs were not handled or stowed properly by the flight crew, so that they needed to get repaired afterwards. Electric wheelchairs like my son's are not ordinary equipment, but highly complex, very expensive machines that require professional handling. Furthermore, people like my son are dependent on their wheelchairs, so that it becomes all the more difficult to enjoy the holiday if the wheelchair gets damaged during the flight.

For this reason, I demand that airlines purchase transport boxes for electric wheelchairs that allow relatives / experienced persons to drive the wheelchair into the box and to stow it in accordance with safety precautions. The boxes can then be brought into the baggage compartment by the airport staff without time-consuming handling or requiring more specialist knowledge.

Not even the airfare was refunded. Instead, Ryanair offered us a free rebooking for a flight to Alicante on 30.12.2018 - at the end of our holiday... without wheelchair.

Ryanair is probably not aware of

  1. that without this specially adapted wheelchair it is not possible to travel for people with a similar handicap like my son and
  2. how much effort a trip involves for severely disabled people. If you do not have a suitable transport vehicle yourself, you will have to hire an appropriate transport taxi to get to the airport. At the holiday resort, accommodation with suitable sanitary facilities to provide hygiene for the wheelchair user is required as well as a special hospital bed. Furthermore, a suitable way of transport must also be provided at the destination. All these things require to be planned beforehand and timed exactly as well as it must be paid extra.

All this effort was for nothing just because Ryanair's staff were unable to push Noel's wheelchair from the airfield into the plane. To prevent this from happening again in the future, I call for establishing transport boxes for electric wheelchairs for air travel. Will you support me with your signature?