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Planning

Mobility assistance

Booking Your Flight

Your safety and comfort is important to us, so to make your flight as enjoyable as can be, we need to know about your specific assistance needs in advance.

Guests whose specific assistance needs requirements are listed below and who are not flying within the next 24 hours can now book direct via the Virgin Australia website.  

If booking mobility assistance online please ensure you complete the Specific Assistance section on the passenger page.

  • Wheelchair required as unable to walk long distance but can use stairs and walk to seat
  • Wheelchair required as unable to walk long distance, use stairs or walk to seat
  • Wheelchair required as guest is completely immobile and unable to negotiate stairs or distance; may not be able to self transfer
  • Wheelchair required for onboard use
  • Travelling with own electric wheelchair in hold powered by non-spillable battery
  • Travelling with own electric wheelchair in hold powered by lithium battery
  • Travelling with own manual wheelchair in hold
  • Travelling with another form of Mobility Device

Please note, however, that Velocity Reward and Redemption bookings must still be booked via the Membership Contact Centre.

If you are travelling within the next 24 hours, you must make your booking via our Guest Contact Centre where your booking will be made at no additional cost and will enable us to best accommodate your requirements. Should you fail to advise us in advance, your request for mobility assistance may not be assured.

It is important that you provide us with as much information as possible at the time of booking. Key information we need to know includes:

  • Whether you are travelling alone or with a Safety Assistant or Carer. To travel independently you must meet the Independent Travel Criteria.
  • Whether you are able to self transfer in and out of a wheelchair and/or an aircraft seat. Due to our Occupational Health and Safety regulations, Guests who weight more than 130kg*, and require to be transferred into or out of a wheelchair and/or an aircraft must arrange a Safety Assistant or Carer to assist with the lift.
  • Whether any medical assistance will be required.
  • The type of mobility aid you are travelling with (electric or non-electric).
  • If the mobility aid is electric, what type of battery is used (non-spillable (Gel type or Sealed Lead Acid) or Lithium-ion battery).
  • Whether the mobility aid is collapsible.
  • The dimensions (height, width and length) in adjusted or disassembled state and weight of mobility aid.

*Transfers from your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat are performed using an option of approved methods of transfer provided by Virgin Australia.

Important: If you have a connecting flight with another airline, you will need to check and comply with their guidelines for guests with specific assistance needs.

Wheelchair Assistance

Virgin Australia accepts guests requiring wheelchair assistance, however the number of such guests accommodated on any specific flight may vary depending upon operational and safety requirements.

Where you envisage that wheelchair assistance is required on your flight, we highly recommend you to notify us as soon as possible about your specific requirements.

In determining how many passengers requiring wheelchair assistance we are able to carry on each flight, we take into consideration the following:

  • The aircraft hold space available for that flight;
  • The access limitations associated with specific airports;
  • The extent of guests’ abilities and the level of assistance they require from airline staff;
  • The level of assistance for any other guest's already booked on the flight;
  • Whether the passenger is travelling with a personal wheelchair or mobility device and if so the nature of that wheelchair or mobility device (including weight, size, features);
  • Whether the guest is travelling with a colleague/friend/family member on the requested flight;
  • The availability of alternative flights; and
  • Whether there are any compassionate or other reasons a particular flight is requested.

Where Virgin Australia is unable to accommodate your needs or your accompanying equipment, we will offer an alternative Virgin Australia flight.

Mobility Aid Size Restrictions

To reduce the risk of damage to your mobility aid, and to our aircraft, the following restrictions apply:

  • Please ensure you provide us with the weight of your mobility aid at the time of booking so that we can work with you to get your mobility aid in the aircraft where feasible.
  • Refer to our ‘maximum dimensions’ table below. If your mobility aid is greater than the size restrictions specified (in either a folded or unfolded state), we may be unable to carry the item.
  • All electric mobility aids must travel in an upright position.
  • Electric mobility aids must travel in the ‘free wheel’ mode.
  • Depending on size limitations, only 1 electric mobility aid is normally carried on our ATR aircraft.
Maximum Dimensions Table

Wheelchair/Aircraft

B777

A330, B737, E190

A320

F70, F100

Height

84cm 

84cm

65cm

65cm

Width

100cm

100cm

89cm

100cm

Length

125cm

125cm

125cm

125cm

 

If your mobility aid does not fit within these allowable dimensions (after being adjusted or disassembled) you will have to travel with an alternative mobility aid (such as a manual wheelchair) that fits within the above dimensions.

Mobility Aid Equipment Available at the Airport

Dependent on port specific capabilities,we may only be able to provide assistance in certain circumstances. The following mobility assistance equipment is available when travelling with us, provided that it has been previously arranged at the time of booking:

  • Aisle wheelchairs (boarding/disembarking aircraft)
  • Manual self-propelled wheelchairs; may be used independently or with assistance from team members or companions whilst in the terminal environment
  • Motorised wheelchairs to assist guests boarding/disembarking aircraft and may be used within the terminal environment. Motorised wheelchairs must be operated by trained team members
  • Slide boards and slide sheets to support safe transfer of guests between wheelchairs and/or aircraft seats
  • Eagle lifts and manual transfer slings to support safe transfer of guests between wheelchairs and/or aircraft seat. (Selected airports only)

If you fit within our health and safety weight requirements for transferring our team members can assist by transferring you from your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat (and vice versa) with use of the slide board and slide sheet or manual transfer sling or Eagle where available.

If you weigh more than 130kgs and require assistance with transfers you will need to arrange a Carer for travel on domestic and international flights. Where required, team member may assist with guidance of the torso and/or legs while transferring.

Note: A transfer is defined as movement between your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat (and vice versa) utilising the slide board and slide sheet, or manual transfer sling or Eagle where available. Guidance includes guiding your upper torso (shoulders) and legs while they are being transferred during transfer.

We are unable to perform transfers other than in accordance with our slide board and slide sheet, manual transfer sling or Eagle methods.

Upper Torso Harness

Virgin Australia aircraft are equipped with upper torso harnesses to provide additional postural support and restraint in the aircraft seat. The upper torso harness is suitable for adults and can be modified for children over the age of two years who are less than 122cm (4ft) tall. Due to safety reasons, the use of an upper torso harness may be restricted to selected seating and is capped at two per aircraft. Guests are only permitted to use an upper torso harness supplied by Virgin Australia on the aircraft however, Virgin Australia permits guests to bring other approved support devices onboard. If you require the use of an upper torso harness, please contact our Guest Contact Centre to make your booking.

Pre-Approved Support Devices 

Virgin Australia does not provide, but permits use of the selected Support Devices onboard for infants, children and guests with disabilities. Pre-approved devices have been tested for fitment and safety compliance within the aircraft for use during flight. These devices must have the original label intact and must be used in accordance with operating instructions.

The Pre-Approved Support Devices are approved for use in most seats, pending legislative and fitting limitations. Additional information regarding pre-approved devices and seating requirements can be found in our Pre-Approved Support Devices List (PDF - 37KB).

Please note: support devices are not approved for use in the Business class suites of our Airbus 330 and Boeing 777 aircraft. 

More information regarding support devices can be found on the Kids Fly Safe website.

Talk to Us

If you are planning to travel with a Support Device onboard a Virgin Australia flight, we encourage you to contact our Guest Contact Centre at least 24 hours before departure.

At the Airport 

A visual assessment of all devices will be conducted at check-in and onboard. All labels, supporting paperwork and operating instructions must be clearly visible and available for inspection by Virgin Australia staff, at all times.

Our priority is the safety of you, your family, our guests and crew. If it is determined that a particular device does not meet our requirements it must be carried as checked baggage. 

At the Airport

Virgin Australia may provide mobility assistance to the airport terminal from kerbside. This will be subject to the availability of wheelchairs and staff on duty. Virgin Australia staff is unable to provide kerbside check-in or vehicle transfer assistance. Upon arrival at the airport, the guest must be accompanied by a companion who can notify Virgin Australia staff that a wheelchair is required at kerbside.

Check-in

To allow us sufficient time to take care of your travelling and seating requirements, and transfer you between wheelchairs/aircraft seat, we ask that you check in at least:

  • 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time for domestic flights
  • 2 hours before the scheduled departure time for international flights

Travelling with a Manual Wheelchair

You can either check in your manual wheelchair or self-propelled wheelchair for use within the airport – and we will provide you with an airport aisle wheelchair – or you can choose to take your own manual wheelchair to the boarding gate (where possible). Your wheelchair will then be stowed in the aircraft hold.

Due to security restrictions, only wheelchairs/mobility aids that have been taken through security screening on departure can be returned at the arrivals gate at your destination, otherwise you can collect your wheelchair at the arrivals carousel. This option is for manual (non-motorised) wheelchairs only, as motorised wheelchairs will be handled as follows.

Travelling with a Motorised Wheelchair or Mobility Aid

You can check-in your motorised wheelchair or mobility aid and after your chair has been packed, we will provide you with an airport wheelchair or our team members will assist you in a motorised wheelchair to the boarding gate. In addition at our international ports, you may request to take your own motorised wheelchair to the boarding gate (where possible). At your destination, your motorised wheelchair can be collected from the arrivals carousel or if applicable at an intenrational port, it will be provided at the arrivals door. Please ensure you advise us at the time of booking that you need to use one of our motorised wheelchairs. 

Wheelchairs and similar mobility aids with batteries 

Batteries that power mobility aids/wheelchairs are considered dangerous goods when carried by air. To be carried safely on an aircraft, the mobility aid/wheelchair must be correctly prepared.

Battery types in mobility aids/wheelchairs permitted on Virgin Australia Group aircraft are:

  • Non-spillable types such as Sealed Lead Acid (SLA), Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) and Gel batteries, which must not contain free or unabsorbed liquid
  • Dry type batteries such as alkali-manganese, zinc-carbon, nickel-cadmium (NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries.
  • A lithium battery (includes polymer, Li-Po and Li-ion) which must meet the requirements of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3.

When preparing the mobility aid/wheelchair for air transport:

  • The battery terminals must be protected from short circuit. This may be achieved by enclosing the battery within a non-conductive battery container/case/transport box as part of or separate to the device.
  • The battery and container must be securely attached to the mobility aid/wheelchair unless the batteries are required to be removed for air transport.
  • The electrical circuits must be isolated/inhibited. That is, the mobility aid/wheelchair cannot be accidentally turned on and moved by operating the controls. Isolating/inhibiting the electrical circuits must be done by following the manufacturer’s instructions

Where a battery is not adequately protected by the mobility aid/wheelchair design or must be removed to allow the device to be folded or otherwise prepared for air transport, it must be done in accordance with the instruction of the manufacturer.

Non-spillable or dry type batteries removed for transport must have the battery and terminals protected from damage and short circuiting and be carried in strong, rigid packaging provided by the user. The packaged battery will then be loaded in the cargo compartment with the mobility aid/wheelchair.

Lithium-ion batteries removed for transport must not exceed 300 Wh (watt-hours), or for a device that requires two batteries for its operation, each battery must not exceed 160 Wh. One spare battery not more than 300 Wh, or for a device that is fitted with two batteries not more than 160 Wh each are permitted. The removed and/or spare batteries and terminals must be protected from short circuit and damage by placing each battery in a protective pouch/bag/container and carried in the cabin.

 

On the Aircraft

Transferring to the Aircraft

You will be transferred into an aisle wheelchair to board the aircraft as close as possible to the aircraft door. At an airport without an aerobridge, you will transfer into our aisle chair at the check-in counter or on the tarmac, to be boarded onto the aircraft via the Disabled Person Lifter (DPL).

Onboard Wheelchairs

Virgin Australia have equipped and stowed an onboard wheelchair on all our aircrafts across the fleet. Cabin crew can assist with escorting you to and from the aircraft seat and the aircraft toilet door. Cabin crew is unable to provide assistance with the transfer from onboard wheelchair to the aircraft toilet as well as assisting guest’s toileting requirements. If the guest is unable to meet these requirements, then a carer is required to travel with the guest.

On Arrival

On arrival you will be supplied with a wheelchair (manual self-propelled or motorised where available) or your own manual wheelchair upon request (see above).

Virgin Australia staff can provide assistance to the baggage carousel, to connecting flights/carriers and between terminals if required or even to the closest drop off. This includes taxi ranks, bus stop or drop off bay.

Important (domestic only): Only wheelchairs/mobility aids that were taken through security screening on departure can be returned at the arrivals gate at your destination.