What is a Wheelchair Companion Seat?

What is a Wheelchair Companion Seat?

Do you plan to go to the movies with a friend or family member who uses a wheelchair? Have you ever wondered how you could sit together at this event?

If you have, you probably never knew that there is a designated legal option for those going along with a disabled person. You don’t have to sit world-apart next time you are going to an event with a friend in a wheelchair. With a wheelchair companion seat, your difficulties have a solution.

It is important to know the laws binding wheelchair seats and wheelchair companion seats. This way, you are not cheated out of enjoying a great event.

What is a wheelchair companion seat?

Companion seats are set aside seats directly beside or aligned vertically to a wheelchair reserved spot. These seats are set aside for people who go with friends and relatives in a wheelchair. Each country hosts its own rules and regulations about companion seating and requirements. In the US, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) legally stipulated that those in a wheelchair have equal rights to go to events with friends and enjoy the program with proximity to themselves.

The seating arrangement could differ depending on the size and seating arrangement of these event locations. You could have the companion seats set beside each wheelchair spot or have them aligned vertically. In most countries, strict laws bind these places, and deliberate ticket fraud is subject to punishment.

Do all wheelchair reserved chairs have companion seats?

For most events, including cinema, theatres, stadium, auditorium events, having a wheelchair reserved spot is paramount. By default, once there is a wheelchair accessible spot, there must be a companion seating arrangement. This rule is in use by most parts of the world and offers a chance for those in a wheelchair to enjoy events with many friends and family.

Wheelchair companion seat in cinemas

According to the ADA, each wheelchair reserved spot must have at least one and at most three reserved companion seats. These seats must sell at the same price and within the same portal and process as those available to able-bodied individuals. To learn more about the rules and facts of companion seating and ADA requirements, click here. You can also visit the ADA site for further information.

Can I get a wheelchair companion seat if I am with a disabled person?

The answer is yes. Are you planning to go out with a disabled friend? Are you wondering how you can enjoy the movie, play, match, competition, or concert with your friend or relative right beside you? You can very easily do so. When buying your ticket, you just have to mention to the ticket seller that you are paying for a wheelchair spot and a companion seat.

By law, if these seats are not already sold to a similar client, you will receive a seat and a spot. Depending on the building’s size, which will host the event, you might not get up to three companion seats.

Can I get a wheelchair companion seat if I am not with a disabled person?

There have been records in the US and across the world of people who intentionally or mistakenly receive wheelchair companion seats when they do not qualify for it. In many countries, including the US, you are not allowed access to those seats and should never buy or be sold one if you are not accompanying a person in a wheelchair. If you do manage to get it unknowingly, speak up early. 

If you don’t, you are subject to whatever actions the event planners choose to give out. Even when shows are sold-out, these chairs retain their reservation till the end for those who need it. Never be tempted to buy a companion seat if you are not going with anyone in a wheelchair. You could end up forfeiting access to the event. 

Wheelchair companion seat in a stadium

Points to Note About Companion Seats

  • They are always in alignment, beside or above the wheelchair spots.
  • They are reserved for those who are accompanying people on the wheelchair.
  • Some events and locations offer free companion seats; this is especially so when children are involved.
  • Each wheelchair spot in the US is entitled to acquire a maximum of three companion seats beside it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I was sold a companion reserved seat even though I am not accompanying anyone in a wheelchair?

When a ticket is fast selling out, there could be errors made by the organizers or even on your part. Immediately reach out to the organizers of the event and lay a complaint about this error. You should receive a new ticket, and if there is no more space, you might have to take back your money. If you do not lay a complaint on time, you might end up sent out of the event and still lose your money. 

Why are reserved wheelchair companion seats not open to use at an event even when no one is claiming it?

Companion seats are reserved for those who come along with someone in a wheelchair. Many locations and countries have laid down rules that enforce the protection of that space. This is why even if a show is sold-out, the wheelchair spot and the companion seats remain unused.

The sell-out or availability of other seats does not affect these seats, and even if no one claims it till the end, they still will not be open for access. The goal here is to ensure that a companion can have a place right next to his or her friend in a wheelchair, even at the last minute.

What are the penalties of using a wheelchair companion seat?

Although there are no designated universal penalties, the organizers can take certain actions against those sitting on the companion seats without reason. You would most likely be reprimanded. If no space is available for you to take, you could end up missing the show. 

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Jill believes that life just keeps getting better as she gets older. She believes everyone can live a full life of endless possibilities, with the right mindset, a healthy diet and with exercise.

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