Air travel with electric mobility scooters and power wheelchair
Will you be taking your power wheelchair or electric mobility scooter on a plane trip? If you happen to use any of these mobility aids, most commercial airlines will allow you to take them on board. Your mobility impairment may confined you to such device, but it does not restrict you from enjoying the perks of air travel. With adequate preparation, you can enjoy a smooth and hassle-free trip. There are a few things that you need to take note of.
Will your desired destination be accommodating?
Where do you plan to travel to? Most cities and states should be scooter or wheelchair friendly, but ignorance of the law will excuse no one. So at this stage, you need to know what your rights and responsibilities are as a mobility scooter or power wheelchair user in the places you want to travel to. Research how accommodating local businesses and transport services are to users of mobility scooters and power wheelchairs. Understand their rules and regulations regarding the use of such mobility aids in public roads and sidewalks.
Planning and ticket reservation
Pick the airline that offers the best rates and has the most accommodating policies for passengers with power wheelchairs or mobility scooters. These are the most important criteria that you should look into when deciding on what airline to fly with. Moreover, you may also want to inquire about the accessibility of restrooms on the airplane and request that you be seated near to one.
When reserving for tickets, inform the ticketing agent that you will be traveling with a mobility device. That way, the agent can coordinate with airline staff to prepare and set up the necessary accommodation practices once you get to the airport. There, airline employees will check your wheelchair or scooter, help you get on a standard wheelchair, and disassemble your device right in front of you.
Product details of your mobility device
Why is it important that you inform the airline or ticketing office that you will be using a mobility scooter or power wheelchair? Other than to provide you the best service possible, the need to take into account the plane’s total weight limits and determine if your device falls under the limits. If you fail to inform them, the airline will have no choice but to refuse transporting your device on the grounds that it will cause the plane to surpass its weight limit.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies power wheelchairs and electric mobility scooters as medical equipment. However, their batteries still fall under the dangerous goods regulations, so they are subject to security checks. As owner, you should carefully examine your battery condition. Is the battery properly attached to the device? Airline employees will need to turn off the motor, disconnect the cables, remove the battery and enclose it in a container before checking your device in.
It is important too that you tag your electric mobility scooter or power wheelchair with your name, address, and contact details as you would do with any luggage in case it gets misplaced. As if it is not enough, attach a copy of your user’s manual to the device and take a picture of your device once it is taken away from your possession in case you need to make a damage claim.
Working condition of your mobility device
Make sure your electric mobility scooter or power wheelchair is in top working condition before you leave home. Have a technician check your device and make the necessary repairs. Ready a spare battery (or mobile or solar chargers) and a small repair kit. A pre-travel general check-up of your device will surely spare you a lot of troubles while you travel.