Thursday, 16 January 2014


Might this help?
(It takes me back to the late eighties)

Those were the days

In 1986 the Soviet-made airliners of MALÉV, Hungary's then national air carrier (the ones that looked as if they had bomb-aimers positions in the nose) flew between Budapest's tiny Ferihegy Airport and London's Heathrow. British Airways ran alongside it. One of many unexpected effects of BBC TV's first broadcast of Standing up for Joe was the sudden influx of disabled children and their families on to MALÉV's and British Airways' altogether unprepared London-Budapest services, met by their equally unprepared flight crews and ground staff. Soon this was to include sometimes substantial parties (I think particularly here of Buddy Bear) and of course this 'pilgrimage' effect soon spread to other countries (Israel in particular) before it thinned out across the world.

Those who witnessed and took part in those events will have their own memories, good and bad. Oh, those aircraft holds and overhead lockers jammed with buggies and all the other paraphernalia of of living with a disabled child outside the Western comfort zone! I myself particularly remember 'the MALÉV lady' at Heathrow who for years ushered anxious parents and their sometimes tired and distressed children down through the departure gates at Heathrow.

Those were the days, a long time ago now, rather late to acknowledge the efforts, hope and anxieties of everyone involved. It was all very real at the time, however.

The world moves on

That was another age, in all sorts of respects. Very, very slowly now, and often as result only of bad experiences and battle, the general lot of disabled air-travellers of all ages, and their companions, has shown improvement – though horror stories of events, ill-managed in some cases on both sides, still surface, too often. Now I learn, from Tsad Kadima's Facebook page, that the comfort and convenience of disabled children and their families may be somewhat improved by the introduction of a new adaptation to fit airline seats, suitable for children aged around three to eleven years:

The great surge from the UK and other countries to Budapest is long over, though a trickle continues. But many, many families who now access Conductive Education in their own countries also take holidays and have other reasons to go places. I have no idea how many this adaptation might enable, or whether it is just another holiday gadget to buy and carry, but here it is for consideration:


  1. Andrew, thank you very much for these links. Very useful for our children who are becoming part of the jet set, with their families and with their schools.

  2. Well, I hope that it helps, I am in no position to judge.

    I wonder, if it does, whether it would be of any benefit on other forms of transport.