Delta joins the push to improve air travel for wheelchair users


An aircraft seat design being developed to make air travel safer and more enjoyable for powered wheelchair users has received a boost, having received backing from Delta Flight Products (DFP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. The design, named Air 4 All, is a flexible aircraft seat design intended to enable customers who use a powered wheelchair to remain in their own wheelchairs for the entire journey.

The design has been developed by a UK-based consortium comprising PriestmanGoode. Flying Disabled and SWS. The seat functions as a standard passenger seat, but when required by a wheelchair user, it can be converted to accommodate and secure a wheelchair during flight.

When not required to accommodate a wheelchair, Air 4 All serves as a regular aircraft seat

The patented design offers comfort and safety for all passengers by providing access to a headrest, centre console, tray tables and cocktail table, which can be adjusted so they are also available when a wheelchair has been rolled into place. The product also enables airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat. The design partners also say that implementation of the seat facilitates a more seamless boarding and disembarking experience for passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs).

A full prototype of the seat will be debuted at next week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany. Following the exhibition, the Air 4 All seat will be sent for final design and validation. Testing and certification programmes to install the seat will begin once certified.

“DFP delivers highly engineered products and services to fill service gaps, solve operational challenges and transform the experience of customers and crew members,” said Rick Salanitri, president of Delta Flight Products. “Air4All is collaborating with DFP’s strong production and manufacturing capabilities to explore new ways to deliver equal access to comfort, safety, and dignity for all customers. This patented design offers new possibilities for customers in wheelchairs to enjoy a travel experience they truly deserve.”

When required, the Air 4 All seat can be folded to accommodate a wheelchair

Delta Flight Products has long engaged in investigating initiatives to increase air travel accessibility, including working closely with an advisory board on disability in creating experiences pertaining to aircraft, airport renovations, procedures and more.

“Offering equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers has always been our objective for Air 4 All,” said Daniel MacInnes, director of PriestmanGoode. “We want to see the PRM community enjoy the benefits of Air 4 All – hence the progress made through the new partnership with DFP is significant in bringing that closer.”

Chris Wood, founder of Flying Disabled, also commented on the new partnership: “An innovation like this in air travel provides those with reduced mobility a safe and comfortable way for them to travel and remain in their own power wheelchair. It has taken truly a collaborative effort to develop this seat and we believe this product provides an optimal solution for all parties.”

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About Author


Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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