How Private Aviation Supports Passengers with Special Needs

How Private Aviation Supports Passengers with Special Needs

Exquisite Air Charter Founder and CEO Rena Davenport shares her experience organizing private flights for passengers with disabilities while providing tips on how to request a charter that adapts to the specific needs of each customer.

Private aviation is not just about high-end leisure flights and celebrities. It’s so much more than that and it all starts with its most coveted trait – the possibility for passengers to control how they fly. This concept is truly what separates the industry from its competition, enabling passengers with special needs the possibility to fly with comfort, privacy, and utmost flexibility.

A private charter flight will adapt to the passengers from start to finish, with special ground transportation to the private lounge and the final destination after landing if needed. On board, special seating configurations can be arranged as well as using the service of dedicated health personnel. In essence, very different from traveling by a commercial airline, private aviation has no limits in terms of customization.

At Exquisite Air Charter we have worked with a variety of travelers with various special needs. At one time in my career, alongside my team we supported a family with an autistic son whom they had picked up from his home care facility on the east coast to fly him into Aspen to spend the holidays with their family.

Shortly before arriving at Aspen, the flight crew (no cabin attendant on flights on the smaller private jets) called me because the passenger (the jet owner’s son) was having a seizure. From the ground, emergency personnel were contacted to assist the crew in properly caring for the passenger while simultaneously arranging a medical ambulance to be waiting when they landed in Aspen and notifying the family. The most crucial medical emergencies often come without warning, and it is a must to be prepared for dealing with anything that comes your way.

We have also arranged the transportation of transplant patients as well as the transportation of transplant organs (always on a strict timeframe so these are urgent flights). I take this so seriously that at one point I had a charity that raised money for medical flights. I have also arranged everything from stair lifts for wheelchaired patients, to medical flights with a full medical staff (doctor, respiratory therapist, and nurse) and just about every other special needs request you might imagine.

Each medical flight must be assessed individually to ensure you incorporate the most appropriate care for that individual’s needs. Since we entered the business in 2004, I believe we have likely been presented with almost all situations imaginable – from paraplegic to cancer patients. Cancer patients frequently opt to try to fly private because their immune systems are often compromised so not entering crowded airports with a wide variety of germs can be crucial for them.

How to charter a private jet

While the process of chartering a private jet is easy, passengers need to worry about partnering with a trustworthy company with experience. The industry has witnessed a boom in demand which has led to the creation of many private jet providers which usually lack established relationships with certified operators, vendors, and even aeronautical authorities. Passengers should definitely stay away from these actors to avoid a bad experience.

When contacting a company passengers should discuss all their needs throughout the travel process, from leaving home to arrival at the destination, to allow the provider to source the best possible arrangements for the flight as quickly as possible. With all these details, the company will know which aircraft is the most appropriate to adapt to specific inflight needs as well as the route and number of passengers, with the only goal to deliver a safe, efficient, and comfortable flight for any type of passenger. That’s private aviation at its finest.