United Airlines Adds Wheelchair Size Booking Filter


United Airlines has added a nifty feature to its booking engine, allowing guests traveling with wheelchair devices to filter flights based on the size of their unit.

In a now implemented feature on their website and mobile app, customers simply have to search for their desired flight, then choose the ‘wheelchair’ filter and input the size of their personal device and battery type. The new filter will then whittle down the results to show all flights capable of properly accommodating devices based on the new criteria.

If an equivalent wheelchair-capable flight happens to be more expensive than the option without adequate space for the device, United says these customers can request to have the fare difference refunded.

If the search shows flights with no appropriate results, it will alert the customer letting them know that there may be loading issues.

United is also testing a new program at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport to better accommodate customers in the unlikely event their wheelchair was damaged or delayed while traveling.

The pilot program focuses on the time frame between a customer’s arrival and when United returns the wheelchair or provides an appropriate loaner wheelchair if the original is damaged.

United is currently testing “specialized, adjustable Permobil” cushions for loaner wheelchairs at its Houston hub that better match the customer’s needs and improve comfort and stability.

The airline is also reimbursing customers for transportation expenses should they choose to wait at a location other than the airport.

United ground handlers will also be provided with more tech to let them know that wheelchairs are to be loaded, so as to let them know how to handle them, as well as requiring confirmation that the units are loaded before the cargo/baggage doors are closed.

I’ll say the only unfortunate thing about their promotional material is that they used a demo with 4 stops over almost 12 hours. That can’t be fun, but that’s a topic for another day. United seems to be doing a very good job at backing up its statements to better support those with mobility issues with these changes.

Reports of lost and damaged wheelchairs may never be completely eradicated, but it seems they are taking steps in the right direction to minimize these incidents.

Featured image: Angelo DeSantis/Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 2.0 DE

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