‘air access’ detachable wheelchair and fixed-frame aisle seat by priestmangoode
the ‘designs of the year 2013′ exhibition opened at london’s design museum yesterday, march 20th, 2013 presenting the more than
90 nominations of this year’s contest, divided into seven categories: architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport.
one of the selected shortlisted projects is ‘air access’ by british transport designers priestmangoode, a concept which transforms air travel
for passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs) with particular benefits for long haul trips on wide body planes.
facilitating an easier transition between gate to aircraft, ‘air access’ is composed of two components: a detachable wheelchair which
passengers are assisted into at their departure gate, transporting them onto and off the airliner; and a fixed-frame aisle seat which is already
on board in which the wheelchair is seamlessly mated via 360-degree pivoting wheels, sliding sideways into the infrastructure and locked in place.
the result is a regular airline seat. upon arrival, ‘air access’ is simply unlocked and slid out into the aisle and the passenger is wheeled off the plane
and transfered to their own / or airport wheelchair, or zimmer frame.
the wheelchair simply locks into the frame resulting in a regular airline seat for PRMs
priestmangoode anticipates that their concept could potentially be installed into all aisle seats, meaning that in wide-body aircrafts
there would be four seats per row allowing numerous PRMs to travel on any flight together in larger groups.
some of the benefits of ‘air access’ include making it more convenient to use toilet facilities in flight as travellers would only
need assistance to unlock their seat and wheeled to the toilet; a removable seat pad allows passengers with series disabilities,
such as spinal injuries, to sit on their own purpose-designed cushion for enhanced comfort; and finally, the convenience that anyone
can sit in the ‘air access’ seat as it integrates effortlessly into a plane’s interior, and the airline does not lose seating space
in the case that there are no PRMs travelling on any given flight.
‘(…) as designers we strive to improve things, not just for the immediate future, but for the long-term.
a demographic shift is sweeping across europe: the population is aging, life expectancy is increasing,
obesity levels are rising and PRMs account for a largerproportion of the population than ever before.
‘air access’ is a much-needed concept for the future of airline travel that will provide a pleasant experience for passengers
with disabilities or reduced mobility.’ – paul priestman, founding director of priestmangoode
see the full ‘designs of the year 2013′ shortlist on designboom here.
anyone can sit in ‘air access’ so airlines do not lose seating space in the case that there are no PRMs travelling on a particular flight
‘we have been designing aircraft interiors for over fifteen years and always work to improve the entire passenger journey,
from home to destination. at present there are some accessibility regulations on aircraft, however they cater for only the most basic requirements.
as a result, passengers with special needs often face considerable difficulties when travelling by air.
these difficulties generally go unnoticed – very few members of the public are aware of the anxiety and discomfort PRMs can experience when travelling.
but it is a matter of equality that people with reduced mobility should have the same rights to a quality passenger experience that able-bodied people have.
priestman continues “as designers we strive to improve things, not just for the immediate future, but for the long-term.
a demographic shift is sweeping across europe: the population is aging, life expectancy is increasing, obesity levels are rising and PRMs account
for a larger proportion of the population than ever before. air access is a much-needed concept for the future of airline travel that will provide a
pleasant experience for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.’ – paul priestman, founding director of priestmangoode