Most domestic airlines in Australia can accommodate customers with disabilities or special needs. Persons with physical disabilities (including temporary disabilities due to an injury such as a work injury or car accident injury) wanting to travel by air should contact the airline they wish to fly with and discuss how their needs can be met prior to or at the time of booking.
Disabled travellers should provide as much information as possible to the airline about their condition so that the airline can best accommodate their needs.
Note, however, that on some domestic aircraft:
Qantas offers a range of assistance to passengers with reduced mobility and other specific needs including provision for:
A helpful customer checklist is provided to assist passengers requiring a mobility aid such as a wheelchair.
Flights may be booked for a passenger who requires special assistance via the Qantas website, telephone or a travel agent.
Jetstar can accommodate independent travellers who:
If a passenger is unable to attend to the following tasks independently, they must travel with an accompanying passenger:
Virgin will assist passengers who require:
Wheelchairs and mobility aids cannot be taken into the aircraft cabin, however, assistance will be provided transferring from your wheelchair to an airport wheelchair and then to your aircraft seat.
A travel companion is required for guests who are unable to independently:
Virgin offer a medical companion service for passengers who cannot travel independently at an additional cost. A medical companion is provided to ensure the appropriate level of care and assistance before, during and after the flight, ranging from help with transportation and mobilisation through to intensive paramedic or doctor care for the entire journey.
Tiger airlines can accommodate passengers with:
Tiger can provide assistance with check-in, boarding and disembarking, transferring between wheelchairs and aircraft seats, individual safety briefings onboard, opening meal packaging onboard. However, it does not provide kerbside assistance to and from terminal buildings and staff cannot lift you out of your wheelchair if you are unable to do so to transfer to another chair.
Bookings for passengers with disabilities may be made through the Tiger Air website or a travel agent. Passengers who require additional assistance at the airport or onboard the flight must contact the Tiger Call Centre at the time of booking and at least 5 days prior to travel to ensure that appropriate assistance can be provided.
The travel insurance policy that you choose should be sufficient to cover all your medical expenses that you may incur in the countries you intend to visit. Many travel insurance policies do not cover medical expenses associated with pre-existing injuries so you may have to pay extra for such coverage if it is available.
Occasionally people with a disability may find that they cannot enter a particular establishment or public place or they are otherwise unfairly prejudiced due to their disabilities. If you are precluded from entering a certain place due to your disability it may constitute discrimination.
Discrimination can occur when a rule, law or policy exists at an establishment which applies equally to all people but has an unfair effect on disabled persons. For example, indirect discrimination may occur if a public establishment is only accessible by a flight of stairs because immobile persons may be physically able to enter the premises.
Disabled persons have the right to be treated in such a way that they are able to access accommodation, employment, services and public places to the same extent as other community members. If you believe your rights are not being respected, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer and learn if you should start a claim.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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Disability assistance information for domestic flights on Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar & Tiger as well as advice for international flights.