Meeting the needs of people with reduced mobility (PRM’s)

The purpose of this document is to improve the accessibility of air travel to people with reduced mobility by ensuring their needs are understood and provided for, and their safety and dignity are respected. It is aimed at airlines providing services and facilities at airports and on aircraft, and forms the basis on which a voluntary Code (or Codes) of Practice may be prepared. When preparing Codes, the appropriate provisions of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Document 30 (Section 5), and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO Annex 9) will be considered. These documents provide technical information and are produced, following consultation with the airline industry, by governmental agencies concerned with establishing standards and recommended practices.

A person with reduced mobility (PRM) is understood to mean any person whose mobility is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or locomotory), an intellectual impairment, age, or any other cause of disability when using transport and whose situation needs special attention and the adaptation to the person’s needs of the services made available to all passengers.

Basic assumptions
1. PRM’s have the same rights as other citizens to freedom of movement and freedom of choice. This applies to air travel as to all other areas in life.
2. Airlines, airports and related service providers have a responsibility to meet the needs of PRM’s. PRM’s also have a responsibility to identify their needs to the proper channels at the proper time.
3. Information must be made available to enable PRM’s to plan and make their journey.
4. The cost of providing for the needs of PRM’s must not be passed directly to the PRM’s.
5. Disability should not be equated with illness and therefore PRM’s must not be required to make medical declarations about their disability as a condition of travel.
6. Organizations representing PRM’s will be consulted on issues relevant to PRM’s.
7. Staff will be given appropriate training in understanding and meeting the needs of PRM’s.
8. Control and security checks should be undertaken in a manner which respects the dignity of PRM’s.
9. PRM’s must be enabled to remain independent to the greatest possible extent.

Airline Practices
* No carrier will refuse a PRM except where he/she cannot safely be carried or cannot physically be accommodated. When the carriage of a PRM is refused, carriers will explain clearly and explicitly the reasons for refusal.
* When a PRM declares that he/she is self-reliant (self-sufficient and capable of taking care of all of his/her physical needs independently in flight), the airline should accept that declaration. The airline should then be under no obligation to provide on-board assistance, which contravenes health, safety or hygiene requirements where such declaration has been made.
* Airlines will pursue technical and operational options for improving access and facilities on aircraft of all sizes, particularly when major refurbishment is undertaken.
* Where a direct route is not possible for a PRM (e.g. because of small aircraft), airlines will endeavor to suggest an acceptable alternative.
* Regardless of the size of airport and aircraft, arrangements for embarkation and disembarkation should respect the dignity of PRM’s.
* Airlines will, where space permits, provide on-board equipment / facilities to aid the self-reliance of PRM’s within limits of health, safety and hygiene.
* PRM’s will have equal choice of seat allocation, subject to safety requirements. Airlines will explain clearly and explicitly the reasons for not allocating a specific seat when the request is not met for safety reasons.
* Certified Service Dogs will be carried in the cabin, subject to national importation and airline regulations. Where they are carried, there will be no charge.
* PRM’s will not be charged for the carriage of basic mobility equipment or other essential disability assistive devices.
* Airlines must take all reasonable steps to avoid loss or damage to mobility equipment or other disability assistive devices. Where loss or damage occurs, airlines will make appropriate arrangements to meet the individual’s immediate mobility needs.

Scandinavian Airlines © 2014