Services for people with wheelchairs

Our staff are experienced in assisting customers with wheelchairs so you can be sure of a warm welcome when you travel with us.

If you are able to physically assist in your own evacuation in the case of an emergency and you're confident in your ability to do so, you can travel independently without the need of a safety assistant if you choose. Welcome onboard.

Where you are unable to physically assist in your own evacuation in the case of an emergency you are still welcome to travel with us however you will need to travel with a safety assistant 16 years or older capable of physically assisting in your evacuation.

Our crew aim to assist customers with a wide range of needs. However, there are some things they can't help with. If you require assistance with eating, administering medication or toileting during your flight you will need to travel with someone 16 years or older capable of assisting you with these needs.

If for the duration of your flight you will not require this level of assistance you may travel independently without the need of a safety assistant if you choose.

The following information will help you prepare for your travel:

Air New Zealand uses three "Special Service Request" (SSR) codes which are entered into your booking. All airlines use these to help identify just what level of assistance you require (if any). Our staff may ask you questions about your ability to transfer into and out of the aircraft seat and will enter the code most appropriate to your needs into your booking.

  • WCHR
  • WCHS
  • WCHC

Please see more details on the codes.

If you are connecting to another airline during your travel, it pays to contact the airline concerned to find out what services they provide and what information they require from you to meet your needs.

Check-in

We ask you to check-in at least 60 minutes prior to departure. This allows us to take care of your travelling and seating requirements before those of other customers. Please don't check in via an automated airport kiosk as it is important that we have the opportunity to discuss and confirm the exact level of assistance you require.

Please advise the check in agent if a lifting device or aisle chair is required. For the lifting device, please state your preference for a male or female staff member to assist with positioning of the lifting sling.

If you choose, your wheelchair may be checked-in and you will be provided with an airport wheelchair and assisted by staff to get to your aircraft seat. You may choose to remain in your own wheelchair until you reach the door of the aircraft. Your chair will be tagged at check-in and taken to the baggage hold from the aircraft door.

Your personal wheelchair and one other chair (e.g. shower/sports) will be carried in the cargo compartment at no extra charge, excess baggage charges may apply for additional equipment carried. Please ensure they are labelled with your name and address, (we can assist with this if required). If a disassembled sports wheelchair breaks down into two or three pieces, this will be counted as just one piece in the baggage calculation.

As many wheelchairs are uniquely designed for your personal requirements it is helpful to have written user instructions attached so our staff can pack, stow, and reassemble your wheelchair as carefully and quickly as possible.

Key points to show are:

  • How to fold the seat back
  • How to disconnect the battery (if required)
  • How to release the gears to allow the wheels to spin freely
  • How to remove the “controller / joystick”
Carriage of battery powered wheelchairs on all Air New Zealand flights

Please note, as many battery-operated wheelchairs are not completely collapsible, they cannot always be accommodated on certain smaller aircraft types. Please use the aircraft reference details below or check with Air New Zealand before booking, as you will need a confirmation as to whether your wheelchair can be carried.

  • Safety regulations require that the terminals on non-spillable batteries are protected against short circuit and the battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid. The airline also has to make sure that a wheelchair cannot be operated unintentionally in the aircraft hold during flight.
  • If the chair or mobility aid has a spillable battery, it must be disconnected, the terminals protected from short circuit and the chair/mobility aid stowed in an upright position. If this cannot be achieved, the battery must be removed from the wheelchair/aid and carried in approved packaging.
  • Please ensure that you inform staff at check-in, what type of battery your chair or mobility aid contains.
  • To avoid possible damage it is recommended that where possible you remove the "controller / joystick" from your chair and carry this with you.
Wheelchairs and Mobility Aids with Lithium or Lithium-Ion batteries

Lithium batteries can pose a significant fire hazard on flights. Please read the following requirements carefully:

  • The battery must not exceed 300Wh. For Wheelchairs or mobility aids requiring two batteries for operation, each battery must not exceed 160Wh.
  • Before checking in a wheelchair or mobility aid, any batteries designed to be removed must be removed and carried in the aircraft cabin. Batteries must be protected from damage and from short circuit by insulating the terminals.
  • Batteries not removable from the wheelchair or mobility aid must be securely attached and the terminals protected from short circuit. Passengers must be able to explain to airport staff how the wheelchair or mobility aid can be fully deactivated.
  • Spare batteries must be carried in the aircraft cabin. A maximum of one spare battery (maximum 300Wh)or two spares (maximum 160Wh each)may be carried.
  • Please ensure that you have the Watt-hour (Wh) or Lithium content (g) for all the installed and spare batteries that you are planning to bring. Lithium batteries with no or unclear marking of Watt-hour (Wh) or Lithium Content (LC) will be refused carriage.
    To convert Amp-hours (Ah) to Watt-hours (Wh) multiply Ah by the Voltage e.g. 4.9Ah x 10.8V = 53Wh, this data is displayed on the battery information plate.

Full details regarding restricted items can be found on our Dangerous goods page.

As a guide the following domestic aircraft door measurements will assist you in determining if your battery-operated wheelchair can be accommodated, especially if the seat back does not fold. The cargo door sizes are measured as width x height in centimetres. 

Aircraft specs

Aircraft type

  • ATR 72
    • Forward door: 129 x 153 cm
    • Rear door: 64 x 122 cm
  • Bombardier Q300: 127 x 152 cm
  • Beechcraft 1900D: 134 x 150 cm

On other Air New Zealand aircraft types your wheelchair will be stowed in a container so the door size is not a concern.

To and from the aircraft

Where an air-bridge is available, you may remain in your own wheelchair until you reach the door of the aircraft. An earlier boarding gate reporting time may be advised at check-in. Early boarding allows time for a private transfer into the aircraft and for the transportation of wheelchairs to the aircraft hold. Should you wish to take advantage of early boarding please advise one of our gate agents.

At the aircraft you will either:

  • self transfer into the aircraft seat
  • or transfer with the assistance of your own support person
  • or our staff will utilise the Eagle lifting device to make the transfer (within New Zealand only - Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin airports) or use a slide board and slide sheet.

If required, a lifting sling (used with the Eagle lifting device) will be positioned within the privacy of the air-bridge and either a male or female staff member may be requested to assist you with this. The wearing of shorts or long trousers is recommended for your privacy and comfort.

Please note that the Eagle lifting device is not available during the flight. It is ground based equipment at New Zealand airports.

On arrival, you will be met by our staff with an airport wheelchair or your own chair upon request. Where applicable, they will assist you through Customs and Immigration and help with retrieval of your baggage in the arrivals area.

Onboard aisle chair

All Air New Zealand International Boeing 777, 767 and International Airbus A320 aircraft have an onboard aisle chair (a specially designed onboard wheelchair that fits within narrow aircraft aisles). The aisle chair is used to take you to your seat and can be used to access the toilets on board the aircraft during the flight.

Limitations of space mean aisle chairs are not available inflight on Air New Zealand Domestic flights. Airports are equipped with boarding aisle chairs for aircraft arrivals and departures and will be used to get you to and from your seat.

You will need to remain in your seat for the duration of the short sector domestic flight.

Tetraplegic harness

All Air New Zealand aircraft are equipped with a special torso harness to provide additional support and restraint in the aircraft seat. Please request this at the booking stage and on board the aircraft. Due to FAA regulations passengers requiring a torso harness for support are unable to be accommodated in our Business Premier or in Premium Economy Spaceseats due to the harness interfering with the in-seat airbag.

Support onboard

If you are able to physically assist in your own evacuation in the case of an emergency and you're confident in your ability to do so, you can travel independently without the need of a safety assistant if you choose. Welcome onboard.

Where you are unable to physically assist in your own evacuation in the case of an emergency you are still welcome to travel with us however you will need to travel with a safety assistant 16 years or older capable of physically assisting in your evacuation.

Our crew are here to help; there are however some things they can't help with.

Where you will require assistance in flight with eating, administering medication or toileting during your flight you will need to travel with someone 16 years or older capable of assisting you with your needs. If for the duration of your flight you will not require this level of assistance you may travel independently.

For travel on international services

If you normally require physical assistance to transfer to/from your seat then our staff can assist you using a slide board and slide sheet. If you are able to self transfer or prefer your travelling companion to perform a transfer for you we encourage you to do so, our staff can help move your lower legs if required.

For travel within New Zealand

If you normally require physical assistance to transfer to/from your seat the Eagle lifting device is available for access to all Airbus A320 aircraft at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. We also have staff able to assist you with a transfer into / out off the aircraft seat using a slide board and slide sheet.

If you prefer, arrange for a support person at each airport to lift you into and out of the aircraft seat on boarding and disembarking the aircraft. The support person does not have to travel with you but will need to go through security clearance. They must be able to perform an upper body lift, our staff can help move your lower legs if required.

Please note that there is currently no lifting device available for the regional aircraft (ATR72, Q300, Beech 1900D). A support person will be required to lift you into and out of the aircraft seat on boarding and disembarking these aircraft.