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ADAPTS Slings Bring Safer Flights, Transfers for Passengers with Disabilities Aboard Kenya Airways

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, UNITED STATES, April 16, 2024 / -- All Kenya Airways 787-8 Dreamliners will now fly with the ADAPTS Portable Transfer Sling aboard, ensuring that passengers with disabilities can easily and rapidly de-plane in the event of an emergency. Many airlines’ methods for evacuating passengers with disabilities are ad hoc, but Kenya Airlines purchasing the ADAPT slings for their long-haul flights allows for crew members to load a passenger onto the device in any situation and quickly move them, making traveling immediately safer for those with disabilities. Kenya Airways, part of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, is the first airline to purchase ADAPT slings in bulk for its airplanes.

“The ADAPTS Portable Transfer Sling is a forward-thinking product with airlines, cabin crew, and—most importantly—passengers in mind,” said Robin Wearley, PA-C, MSc, the founder and president of ADAPTS. “We sell many slings directly to individuals with disabilities but are thrilled to help Kenya Airways ensure any passengers with mobility needs can be evacuated from airplanes safely and quickly. We hope other airlines will add our slings to their on-flight gear because they should be thought of as standard on board commercial airplanes, just like oxygen masks and flotation devices.”

After professional careers as both a flight attendant and a cardiovascular physician assistant, Wearley spoke to contacts in the airline industry and realized that, in the event of an emergency, there is no standardized evacuation plan for passengers who require mobility assistance, or even those who become incapacitated in a true emergency. Most flight attendants are told to use the “grab and go” method: Lifting passengers with disabilities with the help of any available passengers or crew. But lifting individuals, especially those who have mobility challenges, can easily cause injuries. On top of that, aviation regulators worldwide require flight attendants to be able to evacuate their airplanes in 90 seconds or less. That includes safely moving passengers with mobility needs.

“People with disabilities should know that, in the event of an emergency, they have as much opportunity as anyone to successfully get out of danger,” said Wearley.

Wearley carefully designed the ADAPTS sling with functionality and safety at the fore. The American-made sling is built out of the same fire-retardant material used in NASCAR racing suits and complies with FAA Air Circular 25.853-1 flammability standards. Six strategically-placed handles allow for 2 or more rescuers to grab the sling and approach the lift on each side of the passenger or front and back, whatever angle is necessary given the confines of the environment. When not in use, the 1 pound, sling—, which can hold up to 450 pounds—folds up for easy and compact storage.

“While ADAPTS was created for airplane use, customers use them to move into a dentist chair, enter a swimming pool, and complete a host of other daily transfers,” said Wearley.

ADAPTS continues to advocate for safer and more equitable travel for people with disabilities, and use of these slings is just one small action airlines can take to give people with disabilities the same freedoms and experiences their peers have, said Wearley.

“The world of transportation is beginning to pay extra attention to those with disabilities,” said Wearley. “And we are proud to be part of that movement.”

Kenya Airways is part of the SkyTeam Alliance consisting of Delta Air Lines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and XiamenAir.

ADAPTS, LLC, is an American company based in Utah and the manufacturer of the ADAPTS Portable Transfer Sling. Founded in 2017 to make transfers for people with disabilities easier and safer within airplane cabins, ADAPTS is passionate about bringing equity to the air and allowing those with disabilities a safe, accessible, and easy flying experience by solving a need for both airlines and passengers. The ADAPTS sling is available for purchase online.

Alex Gardner