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Delta Flight Products to Unveil Revolutionary Wheelchair-Accessible Cabin Designs

Next week, Delta Air Lines subsidiary Delta Flight Products will introduce a groundbreaking prototype wheelchair-accessible economy cabin design that enables flyers to remain in their powered wheelchair during flights. This innovative design will be showcased alongside an accessible lavatory prototype and an enhanced first-class option at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, from May 28-30.

Delta Flight Products’ new economy seat solution offers wheelchair users the same level of comfort and safety as their first-class counterpart. The design, created in collaboration with U.K.-based Air4All Systems, features a folding seat bottom that transforms the seat to accommodate a wheelchair, allowing for standard use when not booked by a wheelchair flyer. This initiative follows the initial unveiling of their wheelchair-accommodating first-class seat at last year’s Expo, where feedback from wheelchair users has informed subsequent design modifications.

The accessible lavatory prototype, also set for unveiling, will be located at the front of the aircraft near the boarding door. It features a fixed channel that unlatches to create extra entry width, facilitating easier access for wheelchair users. Inside, the lavatory is designed to be fully accessible, allowing passengers with disabilities to access the sink from the toilet before transferring back into their wheelchair. The lavatory includes other touchless features and lighting designed to assist individuals with limited vision. Delta is also exploring additional accessible features such as a “smart mirror” that displays the text of PA announcements for the hearing-impaired and uses braille or touchable symbols for the vision-impaired.

In addition to Delta’s innovations, Collins Aerospace will present its own solution for onboard wheelchair accommodation at the Expo. Their design includes a restraint system to secure powered wheelchairs at the front of the plane, addressing a key priority for disability advocates. This solution not only enhances comfort for wheelchair users but also eliminates the risk of wheelchairs being damaged in the aircraft cargo hold and reduces the likelihood of injuries during boarding and deplaning. Currently, wheelchair users must transfer from their chair to an airline wheelchair for boarding and disembarking.

The unveiling of these new designs underscores the aviation industry’s commitment to improving accessibility for all passengers. By allowing individuals to remain in their own wheelchairs, these solutions represent a significant step forward in creating a more inclusive flying experience.

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