As a wheelchair user and keen traveller, I am no stranger to special assistance services at airports in the UK, Europe and USA. Travelling can be a stressful and unpleasant experience for many disabled travellers, myself included. However, when the right equipment, training and services are available to passengers with reduced mobility, it can truly make all the difference to the overall travelling experience. So I’m always happy to hear of new and improved services such as the brand new wheelAIR trial starting out at Edinburgh Airport.
OmniServ, the UK’s leading airline and airport assistance services provider, is rolling out the trial of the innovative wheelAIR® cooling backrest cushion at Edinburgh Airport, as part of its continued efforts to improve the experience for passengers requiring special assistance at UK airports.
The wheelAIR was designed by Corien Staels in 2015 and became the first product of Scottish company Staels Design LTD in 2016. It has been carefully designed with the input of Paralympic athletes and wheelchair manufacturers. Using inbuilt fan technology, it cools the back and reduces the user’s core temperature by taking away excess heat and moisture. This allows for instant comfort and better temperature control. The cushion also offers extra support through a unique blend of carefully selected foams.
The trial officially launched yesterday (June 5) and sees wheelAIR teaming up with mobility retailer FastAid Products, who will be providing an active lightweight wheelchair that will enable customers to easily try the wheelAIR cushions for themselves and give OmniServ the opportunity to gain feedback from passengers.
Ross Gilpin, Accessibility & PRM Contracts Manager at Edinburgh Airport said: “The passenger experience is a crucial element of our business and we have invested and focused on our special assistance service provision over the last few years so we provide that positive experience for those passengers who require extra attention and care.” He also explained: “The trial of wheelAIR is another example of the innovative approach we take as we seek to improve on what the Civil Aviation Authority already regard as a good standard of service. We want to improve further and will look at the feedback we receive from our passengers as it is important that they help to shape our service.”
Speaking on the launch of the trial at Edinburgh Airport, Corien Staels said: “Our mission is to help improve wheelchair users’ lives by designing stylish products of the highest quality. We are delighted to be working with OmniServ in helping people stay comfortable whilst at the airport. Like OmniServ, we are committed to providing a high quality experience for our customers.”
The wheelAIR trial follows a move earlier this year by OmniServ with the introduction of the ProMove Sling, which is a lightweight and portable solution for lifting and transferring passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) when it is unsuitable to use a powered hoist. The ProMove sling also provides a safer and more dignified experience for disabled passengers needing assistance to and from their wheelchairs and seat on the plane.
Would you benefit from using the wheelAIR during your airport experience?