Qantas has elaborate guidelines on providing special assistance to the people with special needs. Qantas trains its staff to ensure that passengers do not face any problem at any stage of their flight. There is a dedicated helpline number which works round the clock to answer queries related to special assistance.
Expectant mothers are allowed to travel up to 28 weeks of pregnancy with the need of any medical certificate, if the pregnancy is progressing without any complication. After this time frame, there is a need to have the certificate from a midwife who is attending the passenger or the registered medical practitioner. This certificate shall mention the time of delivery, whether single or multiple pregnancy and that the pregnancy does not involve any complications. Please note that if there is a complication then Medical Clearance from the Qantas Medical team is also required.
Qantas outlines the upper limit of time of travel for pregnant women on the basis of duration of flight. If the duration of flight is more than 4 hours, then women up to end of 36 weeks of single pregnancy and 32 weeks of multiple pregnancies are allowed to travel. For flights of less than 4 hours of duration, travel is permitted till end of 40th week and for multiple pregnancies, it is permitted for end of 36th week.
Passengers requiring carers
Those people who are in need of caretakers, shall fly with them. Qantas specifically mentions that those passengers who are not able to self-toilet, or eat or drink on their own, or are not able to take medicines or are travelling in a group which exceed the number specified by the carrier.
Qantas allows carers to travel on a reduced or concessional fare. However, to get the concessional fare tickets, the passenger would need to hold either of the following three documents:
Carer Concession photo ID card issued by NICAN
Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card (having an entitlement for the blind)
a pass for visually impaired issued by appropriate authority of state or territory
Conditions for Service Dogs
Qantas allows service dogs to travel with the passengers on all domestic flights within Australia. However, with respect to international flights, it allows them on select routes and for certain destinations. Qantas allows service dogs to travel on flights to USA, Tokyo- Narita airport, Chile, Johannesburg, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
If there is a connecting flight from Dubai, the prior approval from Dubai authorities is required which is a complex process and approvals can not be guaranteed.
Additionally, there is a need to satisfy the airline staff by providing documentation relating to registration of service dog as a service dog at the time of booking, presentation of Service Dog ID card, documentation pertaining to training of service dog, evidence of disability of passenger and how that service dog helps the passenger. There is a need for advance intimation to airline about travel of service dog along with passenger.
Service dogs shall be seated on a moisture absorbent mat in front of your seat in Business or First class and in front of adjacent seat in economy class.
Visually Impaired passengers
Qantas provides help at the airport, during flight and on arrival at destination for the visually impaired. Visually impaired passengers can travel with a service dog or an escort. Special meal requests are entertained till 24 hrs before flight. Passengers can also request for a meet and greet service at the time of booking tickets. Individual safety briefing is provided to these flyers and a Safety card in braille is also provided. It is the duty of flight attendant to read out the meals menu to visually impaired for providing meals.
Hearing Impaired Passengers
Special assistance for the hearing impaired shall be requested for at the time of ticket booking. People having problem in hearing or speech are requested to use the National Relay Service which is available round the clock. NRS is a nation-wide service wherein hearing and speech disabled can make a call using a TTY (telephone type-writer). Communication happens via a relay officer who acts a key facilitator. Any hearing assistive device which would not need airplane power to operate can be brought in cabin without informing the airline. But, which would need power of aircraft, shall be brought to the notice of airline.
Walking canes, crutches and frames can be carried inside the cabin provided these are collapsible and can be stowed in the overhead space or some other alternative space. Those which are not collapsible might be denied to be carried in cabin and kept in check in.
Generally, passengers are not allowed to take their mobility aids inside the cabin and the same is either surrendered at the checkin counter at airport or at the departure gate. The aid is then taken to check in baggage. Passenger can get the same at arrival either at the gate lounge or from baggage area. There is a provision of carrying one collapsible wheelchair in A380 aircraft cabin of specific size and 30-31 kg weight.
Rules Pertaining to Free Allowance of Mobility Equipments
Mobility Equipment= Mobility Aids (wheelchairs, electric scooters) + Mobility Assistive Devices (walking frames, shower chairs, commodes, hoists and inflatable pressure cushions).
For non US flights, 2 pcs of mobility equipment are allowed to be carried free of cost in addition to check in luggage. Each piece shall not weigh more than 32 kg but the ones which can be carried in upright position as free wheel mode are allowed. All such items which can not be thus carried and are more than 32kg weight shall be brought as cargo.
More than 2 pcs are also allowed but these additional pcs will be counted towards the check in allowance and will be allowed free if these fall within the check in baggage allowance.
For US flights, there is no limit on number of mobility equipments allowed and these do not form part of cabin or check in baggage allowance.