For the last three years, YVR has partnered with Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI BC), WestJet and CATSA to provide a travel “rehearsal” for people new to wheelchairs. This informative tour delivers the real travel experience in a controlled, stress-free environment.
Earlier this week, a group of 10 participants from SCI BC visited YVR to discover how they can travel through the airport in a barrier-free way. The tour took participants from the curb to departure gates so they could familiarize themselves with every component of traveling through a major international airport.
Participants went through the check- in process at WestJet, cleared security and got to test out some tools that WestJet uses to help people with disabilities. Most notable was The Eagle Lift, an innovative, sling device that assists in transferring passengers from their wheelchair to their assigned seat. Participants also saw a demonstration of the more commonly used Washington chair, a small wheelchair which fits between the aisles of an aircraft.
In addition to assisting people in wheelchairs, the tour also acts as a great education tool for our airline and security partners, whose employees receive training on procedures and get to experience hands- on opportunities to face challenges that they might not see every day.
There will be more YVR Accessibility Tours in the future, and anybody who wants to learn more about accessibility and travel can check www.sci-bc.ca.
Thank you to all our partners who made the YVR Wheelchair Experience Tour a success including WestJet, SCI BC, CATSA and, of course, the participants.