Sir Richard Stilgoe and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen joined representatives from the travel industry, disability groups and major airlines at the Gatwick headquarters of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to witness the launch of TravelChair, an innovative chair for disabled children for use in passenger aircraft.

The TravelChair has been designed by the children’s disability charity MERU to replace a cumbersome older version. Virgin Atlantic has already placed orders and MERU are currently in negotiations with several other major airlines.

The TravelChair’s postural support to physically disabled children was amply demonstrated by Azaria and Leo who, with their mums Carolyn and Tracey, thoroughly enjoyed the celebrity attention. Thousands of disabled children are potentially being denied the opportunity to travel by air because not all airlines currently offer suitable postural support systems on board.  The chairs are portable, fit into standard airline seats and can be stored in the overhead lockers.

Parents simply advise the airline of their need to use the TravelChair at point of booking and the airline ensure it is on board for both outbound and inbound flights – at no extra charge. Virgin Atlantic has been quick to purchase the new, improved version, available from summer 2012.