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Composite image including "#RightsOnFlights", Josh wintersgill getting on a plane, Sophie Morgan in a red dress and a group of disabled people outside No10 Downing St.

Rights on Flights Campaign

#RightsOnFlights : New Campaign for Airlines to take better care of Mobility Equipment

Disability Rights UK, a disabled TV presenter named Sophie Morgan, disabled entrepreneur Josh Wintersgill and MP Marion Fellows have started a new campaign for better care of disabled people and their essential equipment taken onboard by aircraft staff. They want the UK government to give the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the power to fine airlines and other groups if they don’t take good care of disabled passengers and their mobility equipment during flights.

Sophie, who uses a wheelchair and travels internationally for her work on TV, began the campaign after her wheelchair and special front-wheel BATEC system were destroyed on a flight from Los Angeles to London. The campaign is called “Rights on Flights” and it wants airlines and others to be responsible for any damage to wheelchairs or essential mobility devices. It also asks them to help disabled passengers without delay and provide the support they need.

Watch Sophie Morgan on Loose Women Launch the Rights On Flights Campaign

In the video, Sophie discusses a new campaign called the “Rights on Flights” campaign that aims to address the issues faced by disabled travelers when flying. The long-term goal is to redesign aircraft so that wheelchair users can travel in their chair, similar to how train travel is made accessible. However, the short-term goal is to ask the government to give the civil aviation authority the power to impose fines when any of the parties involved in air travel, such as airlines or handlers, fail disabled people. This is to ensure that there are consequences for any damage to equipment or failure to provide appropriate assistance, which will hopefully discourage this behavior in the future. Disabled travelers share their horror stories in the video, such as being left on board for too long or having their equipment damaged, and the campaign aims to put a stop to these abuses.

Key Goals Of #RightsOnFlights

The campaign’s goals:

  • Hold airlines and other actors accountable for damage to wheelchairs or essential mobility devices.
  • Ensure that disabled passengers are not left on flights for a prolonged period once the flight has landed.
  • Ensure that disabled passengers receive adequate assistance despite prior knowledge of their needs.

The campaign will highlight the challenges that disabled travelers face when flying and the need for change in the aviation industry.

The CAA’s rules for accessible air travel are not enough to make sure that airlines and others take responsibility when things go wrong. Sophie thinks that this campaign is a short-term solution to a long-standing problem. She wants a big change in the airline industry, so disabled people can feel as confident as non-disabled people when they travel by air.

MP Marion Fellows has asked the Prime Minister and other lawmakers to support the campaign. Everyone can join in by going to the Disability Rights UK Rights On Flights campaign page and writing to their MP. The campaign is using the hashtag #RightsOnFlights on social media.

My Experience of Airplane Wheelchair Damage

Wheelchair user with a trabasack lap tray and a glass of wine
We were very lucky that the damage happened on our RETURN journey or it could have ruined our holiday

During our recent holiday trip to Port De Soller, Majorca, my wife Clare’s Electric Invacare wheelchair got damaged on our return flight with Jet 2. The motherboard to the controller was hit and misaligned. We had to wait for almost an hour to get an “insurance number” from a Jet 2 representative. We were already exhausted and wanted to get home and this caused problems for the wheelchair taxi we booked to pick us up. We had a huge amount of anxiety that the chair would not work or suddenly malfunction. I’ve seen a friend’s wheelchair controller fail and start to drive her into a wall before!

The next day, I took the wheelchair to our local dealer, Bromakin, to be repaired. Luckily there was no electrical damage and they only charged £40 to repair it. Given the circumstances, we chose not to file an insurance claim, since there are only so many battles you can tackle at once and like most people, we have a lot going on in our lives!

We were also fortunate that the damage happened on our way back home, if it had happened on the way there it would have ruined our holiday. We were upset and couldn’t understand why people could be so careless with someone’s wheelchair. It shows a lack of knowledge and respect by the baggage handling staff who clearly need more training about how vital disability equipment is to people’s lives.

How to take part in the Rights on Flights Campaign

People are being urged to write a letter to their MP to help the campaign. I have created a template here:

[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, Postcode] [Date]

[Member of Parliament’s Name] [House of Commons] [London, SW1A 0AA]

Dear [MP’s Name],

I am writing to you to express my concern about the challenges faced by disabled passengers when traveling by air. As you may be aware, the Rights on Flights campaign has been launched to ensure that disabled passengers have equal access to air travel.

I believe that it is important that the UK government takes action to address the challenges faced by disabled passengers when traveling by air. Some of the challenges include the lack of adequate facilities at airports, poor treatment of disabled passengers by some airline staff, lack of clear policies by some airlines on the treatment of disabled passengers and their equipment, and extra charges for the assistance required by disabled passengers when traveling by air.

I urge you to take action to address these challenges and support the Rights on Flights campaign. Specifically, I ask that you consider:

  1. Encouraging the UK government to introduce regulations that require airlines to have clear policies on the treatment of disabled passengers and their equipment.
  2. Encouraging the UK government to provide funding for airports to improve their facilities for disabled passengers.
  3. Encouraging the UK government to introduce regulations that prevent airlines from charging extra for the assistance required by disabled passengers when traveling by air.
  4. Supporting the monitoring of the treatment of disabled passengers by airlines and airports by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

I believe that by taking action on these issues, the UK government can help to create a more inclusive environment for all passengers, including those with disabilities.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Add a paragraph about your own experiences if you are able. You can find your MP here. 

You can also take part in the consultation and complete an online survey at the CAA website here

Equipment for a successful Flight on the Disability Horizons Shop

At the Airport

The Ramble Tag Guidance Aid 

Original orange Ramble Tag guidance aid

Is an armband that can help blind and visually impaired people navigate airports and other crowded places making it easy to be led by their guide.

The Personalised Disability Awareness Card and Lanyard informs airline staff and other passengers about the specific needs of disabled travelers.

"Your message here" Personalised id card" with a wheelcair symbol

The Optivus Wheelchair Bag – The Captivator is a lightweight and easy-to-use wheelchair bag for hand luggage and air travel.

Optivus wheelchair bag

The Disability Activism Transport Disability Horizons Hoodie raises awareness about the challenges disabled people face when traveling by public transport.

disability activism transport white main image

Getting on the Flight:

The Power Wheelchair Battery Isolator for Air Travel is a device that ensures the safe transportation of power wheelchair batteries on airplanes.

Power wheelchair battery isolator for air travel

The Promove Standard Sling for Disabled Children and Young Adults helps airport staff safely lift and transfer disabled children and young adults during air travel.

The Ablesling Sit-In Transfer Sling for Hoists and Manual Transfers helps disabled passengers transfer from their wheelchairs to the airplane seat.

AbleMove founder Josh Wintersgill using his EasySling transfer device being lifted by two people

On the Flight

The Mini Wheelchair Lap Tray and Bag provides a flat and stable surface for disabled passengers to eat, drink or work on their laptops during air travel whilst also keeping their possessions close at hand in the bag space.

Image is a photograph of writer and wheelchair user Elizabeth Gwilliam using the Trabasack Mini on her lap as a wheelchair tray to hold a hot drink and a remote control

The Hydrant Water Bottle Drinking Aid is a hands-free drinking system for disabled people who have limited mobility. Stay hydrated on the flight!

Hydrant water bottle

Freshwipes Anti-bacterial Body Wipes for provide a convenient and hygienic way for passengers to freshen up during air travel.


The Uriwell Adult Portable Urinal provides a discreet and hygienic solution for disabled people who have difficulty accessing airplane restrooms.

Image is a photograph of three Uriwell portable urinals, two in blue, one in pink

The Blacknight Sleeping Mask helps you ignore the bright airplane lights and get some sleep.

Image showing the blacknight being worn by a dummy head

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