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United launches a new digital sizing tool to help customers determine the right aircraft for their wheelchair

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MUMBAI: Chicago-based airline United Airlines has launched a new digital tool on its app and website for customers who use wheelchairs to find flights that can best accommodate the specific dimensions of their personal mobility device. The airline also announced that eligible customers may seek a refund of the fare difference if a customer needs to pay more for a flight that can accommodate their wheelchair.
Last year, United and United Express together carried more than 200,000 checked wheelchairs.
In addition to working with the airline’s Accessible Travel Advisory Board, United said it collaborated with United Spinal Assosciation and Numotion to develop these industry-first initiatives.
How It Works
Customers with a personal wheelchair can visit the United app or united.com and use the filters on the flight search results page before selecting their flight. After clicking on the wheelchair filter tab near the upper portion of the screen, customers can then enter the specific dimensions of their mobility device. The search results will identify which flight options will accommodate those dimensions and indicate to the customer that their wheelchair fits. The size of aircraft cargo hold doors varies, so some aircraft are better able than others to handle larger motorized wheelchairs.
If a customer is unable to take a preferred flight because their wheelchair will not fit through the aircraft’s cargo door – and takes a United flight with a higher-fare that can accommodate their wheelchair on the same day and between the same origin and destination – the customer may seek a refund of the fare difference.
The wheelchair sizing tool launched as a beta test earlier this month.
“The more we know about a customer’s device, the more likely their experience will be a good one – from booking and check-in to the flight itself,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for United. “These new tools and policies also set our employees up for success, especially those working on the ramp or at the gate.”
“United Spinal Association appreciates this strong first step toward improving the air travel experience for wheelchair users,” says Vincenzo Piscopo, Chief Executive Officer and President of United Spinal Association, the largest disability-led membership organization representing our nation’s 5.5 million wheelchair users. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with United Airlines to ensure that all wheelchair users can book a flight to their next adventure, business meeting, or visit with family or friends on the flight they choose, trusting they will arrive safely with their equipment intact.”
“Numotion is dedicated to supporting the independence of our customers,” said Mike Swinford, Chief Executive Officer of Numotion, the nation’s largest provider of products and services that help individuals with mobility limitations maximize their health, personal independence, and actively participate in everyday life. “United’s new tool is a fantastic development for wheelchair users. By streamlining the flight selection process and ensuring compatibility with specific mobility devices, travelers can focus on enjoying their journeys. We’re proud to partner with United to make air travel more accessible and stress-free.”
Airport experience pilot program
United said it 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 timeframe between a customer’s arrival and when United returns the wheelchair or provides an appropriate loaner wheelchair if the original is damaged,” it said.





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