Some airlines OK use of harness

Q and A

July 09, 2006|By SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

We have a 15-year-old son with cerebral palsy who needs a full-support wheelchair because he has no sitting balance. We have asked the airlines about using a harness for air travel, but have run into dead ends. Can you help?

The Federal Aviation Administration's only requirement for passengers is that they be able to sit in an upright position while flying. After that, it comes down to each airline's regulations.

We contacted three major carriers and asked about their policies.

American Airlines said they would allow your son to travel with the use of a harness as long as it had a single-point release system similar to a traditional seat belt.

United has an FAA-approved "torso belt extension" that you can request when making reservations, but you will need to call ahead to make sure that one is available at the gate.

Delta gave a thumbs up to your son regarding the use of a harness. A spokeswoman said the carrier also would attempt to obtain an exemption from the FAA if his seat needs to be in a reclining position for takeoffs and landings.

The only harness we were able to find is manufactured in Lancashire, England, by Crelling Harnesses (www.crelling.com). Their harness Model No. 27B, which has a one-point release, has been used on British Airways and Virgin.

What public transportation is available between Pisa International Airport and Venice, Italy?

Trenitalia (trenitalia.com) is your best bet. There's a train station at the Pisa airport, and the ride to Venice takes about four hours and 45 minutes. One-way first-class fares cost from 34 to 47 euros ($43-$60), depending on the time of your departure. You can purchase tickets online.

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