‘air 4 all’ democratizes air travel for wheelchair users

 

design studio priestmangoode, in collaboration with flying disabled and the SWS consortium, unveils ‘air 4 all’ – a system aiming to revolutionize air travel for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM). the proposal enables powered-wheelchair users to remain in their own wheelchair for the entire journey without reducing the seat count for airlines. 

 

the launch coincides with the 35th anniversary of the air carriers access act (ACAA), passed by US congress in 1986 to guarantee that people with disabilities would receive consistent and nondiscriminatory treatment when traveling by air.

'air 4 all' will make air travel more accessible for passengers with reduced mobility

 

offering equal access to comfort, safety and dignity 

 

through this project, priestmangoode wants to drive practical improvements to the aircraft cabin and overall aviation transport experience for severely disabled people – resulting in greater independence, dignity and freedom of travel. ultimately, this new system will disrupt the air travel industry and create a new standard for the provision of accessible air travel.

 

“‘air 4 all’ will usher in a step change in the industry and finally offer equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers”  explains paul priestman, designer and chairman of priestmangoode. “the biggest barrier in the past has been that giving greater space to passengers in wheelchairs would have reduced seat count and resulted in a loss of revenue for airlines. air 4 all solves this problem and has the added benefit of enabling airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat, ensuring brand consistency and a cohesive brand experience for all passengers.”

'air 4 all' will make air travel more accessible for passengers with reduced mobility

 

install and attach: new standards for powered wheelchairs

 

‘air 4 all’ works in a similar way to ISOFIX /LATCH standards in passenger cars. both the airline seats and wheelchairs facilitate an installation and attachment system, enabling them to be securely installed in the aircraft cabin. moreover, the system is designed so that different powered wheelchair types can be certified for flying; it will also be able to interface with a wide range of airline seats. if no wheelchairs require access, the seats function as regular airline seats. 

 

the system is initially designed for a 2+2 configuration. meaning, ‘air 4 all’ is envisioned to convert front row seats and install a wheelchair guidance and locking system to the aircraft – allowing for up to two wheelchairs per row to travel on a single flight. the consortium (SWS) will be working alongside sunrise medical to establish those power-chairs that would be fit to fly, as well as to retrofit and create new standards for powered wheelchairs. this will ultimately enable passengers with the most challenging disabilities to travel.

'air 4 all' will make air travel more accessible for passengers with reduced mobility

 

chris wood MBE, founder of flying disabled states that “‘air 4 all’ is the first system that has been developed jointly by a design agency, a certification body and with input from the disabled community. with a leading global wheelchair manufacturer as well as the subsidiary of a major airline on board to develop the product, it’s a truly collaborative project. we’re actively working with all the necessary parties, including initial discussions with some of the key national aviation authorities,  to ensure our solution is harmonized and fit for purpose“. 

 

a first prototype of the ‘air 4 all’ system is expected in december 2021.

'air 4 all' will make air travel more accessible for passengers with reduced mobility
the seat design reflects equal access to comfort and safety during air travel for differently-abled passengers

 

 

project info:

 

name: air 4 all

designer: priestmangoode

collaboratorsflying disabled, SWS certification

status: patented to cover all types of wheelchairs across every mode of public transport