Now once you get the taste for travel, it’s really hard to get rid of it.  As mentioned during these blog entries, the confidence of travel comes through the knowledge that help is at hand and taking that journey may not be as traumatic as first thought.

Mention aeroplanes then it can send the shivers up many peoples back.  However, once a very difficult area to gain assistance and help, it’s now possible to travel by air and have the assurance that help is at hand.

Assistance at airports is usually provided by a third party organisation.  Once this was the responsibility of the individual airline, but now separate companies have responsibility for this.

To arrange assistance, you do need to organise it when purchasing your tickets.  The booking agent, airline or travel agency was put this onto your schedule and the airports that you are travelling from and to will be informed.  The organisations contracted by those particular airports will then arrange the assistance at those points.

Airlines cannot refuse travel because of a disability, but some do put conditions on it, such as they will only carry so many people with disabilities or accept just one or two people with assistance dogs.

Assisted travel is available across the world; although my experience is just in the UK and across Europe.  Recent directives from the European Union have made assisted travel much more easier and put pressure on airlines not to refuse people on the grounds of disability.  There are airlines that don’t have a great reputation in terms of enabling visually impaired people to travel.  One budget airline specifically has proven to be problematic but on the whole air travel is becoming much easier.

The key to a successful trip is to always let people know what kind of assistance you need; whether it is guiding through the airport, help boarding the aeroplane, help if needing to change planes if your journey involves two flights or if you have a guide dog; just let them know.

A few years ago, I worked as a European projects manager.  I travelled extensively across Europe and experienced a wide range of assistance when going through airports and on airplanes.  Most of my experiences were good and I found people willing to help wherever I went.  Having this assistance made my job much easier and I didn’t have to worry too much about getting somewhere, which in effect allowed me to concentrate on my job.

Please feel free to share your experiences; it would be really good to hear and read them.  Whether you are in the UK, Europe or in another part of the world, what is assisted travel like where you live.  What are your experiences like and what advice would you give to others.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these short blogs on travel.

Will be back soon with more reflections in Ian’s blog.


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