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Paralympic Games: Air France provides made-to-measure services

Profile Photo By: H L
August 29, 2012

Paralympic Games: Air France provides made-to-measure services

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Disabled and reduced-mobility passengers can call a dedicated number in 20 countries where agents are specially trained in the transport of disabled and reduced-mobility passengers. 
In France, a specialized team of over 20 people based in Nice, trained by a doctor specialized in disabilities, answers close to 300 daily calls and more than 50,000 calls per year Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 6pm, except bank holidays. 
This free reservation and information service, called SAPHIR, is intended for customers whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or motor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability and whose situation needs appropriate attention at all stages of their trip. Dedicated e-mail addresses have been created for each country as well as a phone number, so that customer can make a first contact by e-mail if they wish. 

Baggage and boarding made easier 

In addition to the baggage allowance associated with the ticket, the passenger can check in free of charge in the hold:

  • two personal mobility devices (wheelchair, electric scooter, Segway, etc.),
  • an additional piece of baggage, whose maximum weight is the same as that indicated on the ticket.

At baggage check-in, a special tag is put on the mobility device to facilitate its identification. 
Departing from Paris airports and most international airports, passengers can keep their personal wheelchair (manual wheelchairs of less than 20 kg) up to the door of the aircraft and recover it when disembarking.
For passengers in wheelchairs or who have requested individual assistance, pre-boarding is available where possible. This priority boarding enables them to get comfortably settled before the arrival of the other passengers and to be greeted individually by the crew, who give them all the useful information so that they enjoy their flight is in the best possible conditions of safety and comfort. 

On board: adapted equipment and service 

So that they enjoy their trip in the best possible conditions, Air France has introduced a multitude of details to make travel easier for disabled and reduced-mobility passengers. 
Thanks to their specific training, Air France cabin crew can understand and meet the needs of disabled and reduced-mobility passengers. The cabin crew assist them in a proactive and individual way and provide them with all the information they need about the cabin environment and all the various stages of the flight. Some cabin crew members are trained in French Sign Language (LSF). 
On board, everything is done to ensure that disabled and reduced-mobility passengers travel comfortably: 

  • All Air France aircraft are fitted with seats with armrests that can be raised, facilitating access for disabled passengers and with on-board transfer wheelchairs enabling them to move around once on board.
  • On the most recent aircraft, seat numbers are indicated in Braille for the comfort of visually-impaired passengers. Safety instructions in Braille (in French and English) are also available on board.
  • Air France passengers can keep their foldaway manual wheelchair with them in the cabin on all flights. Guide dogs are also accepted free of charge in the cabin.
  • The entire fleet is equipped with toilets accessible to reduced-mobility passengers.
  • On most flights lasting more than 2 hours 30 minutes, it is possible to order a menu adapted to a specific diet (salt-free, sugar-free, etc.). Customers should request this when booking and at the latest 48 hours before departure.
  • On board the A380, there is a dedicated area for providing first aid to any passengers requiring it, where the passenger can lie down in an isolated area. This area is equipped with a defibrillator, a doctor?s kit, a first aid kit, oxygen and a satellite communication system (SATCOM).
  • Customers with ?respiratory insufficiency? can benefit from therapeutic oxygen on board the aircraft (special fares apply; information available at the time of booking). 

USEFUL TIPS 
To ensure your trip goes smoothly 

? Notify us early
Air France advises its passengers to make any disability known as early as possible and at least 48 hours before departure, so we can prepare any assistance they may need.
? Check the need to travel with an accompanying person
Air France may require that the disabled passenger travel with a companion for safety reasons, depending on the disability and special requirements. Details are provided when making a booking with Saphir, a ticket office or travel agent.
? Check whether a medical certificate is needed
In the event of a contagious disease, for example, should your condition require exceptional medical assistance during the flight, you will need to obtain prior authorization to travel.
Forms can be obtained on the airfrance.com website or from a travel agent and can be directly filled in by a doctor.
? Check in early
To ensure the comfort of disabled and reduced-mobility passengers and guarantee the assistance provided by European airport authorities, they are invited to check in at least 2 hours before the flight?s departure time. If they have a connecting flight, they are advised to increase their minimum connecting time by at least 30 minutes. 
For all other commercial information and all the details concerning your trip, go to www.airfrance.com

Source: Air France

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