To make it easier for its wheelchair-using patients to readjust to air travel, Shepherd Center (Atlanta) has partnered with Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways
As reported in the Fall 2009 Spinal Column published by Shepherd Center, Delta donated airline seats and transfer chairs to Shepherd so occupational and recreational therapists can help people learn how to transfer from wheelchair to aircraft seat. Therapists also take patients on outings to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where they practice checking luggage, going through Security, and getting to the gate. They board an empty Delta jet to become familiar with transfer and boarding procedures and learn more about Delta aircrafts’ onboard accessibility features.
To facilitate transferring from wheelchair to a seat where the armrest does not raise (common in older planes), Delta developed a hydraulic transfer chair that elevates people above the armrest.
AirTran is also stepping up its customer service. The airline is working with Shepherd on a disability-awareness training video for its employees.
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