Tips for Travel with an Electric Scooter or Electric Wheelchair
Taking a trip can be stressful. Airports and cruise ships are extremely busy these days. So, if you’re planning a trip and you have mobility needs, this can be extra stressful when it comes to getting on a plane or a ship. In this post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks over the years that make traveling with a power wheelchair or scooter much easier.
Open a file with the Airline’s Medical Assistance Desk.
If the airline has a Medical Assistance Desk, it’s a great idea to open a file with them prior to booking your ticket. This file will keep all of your pertinent information around your disability or mobility restrictions, the device you will be bringing on the plane with you, medication, etc. Depending on airline policy, your file can be valid for a few years, so if you travel often, you won’t need to do this each time.
Another benefit of opening a file with the airline’s medical assistance desk is that if you require an in-flight companion for medical or personal reasons, they can often provide discounted tickets for your companion.
Discuss batteries, size restrictions and special container options.
There are a few key piece of information you are going to want to speak with your airline about before you book your ticket.
The first is what type of battery packs they allow on their aircrafts. This is a key piece of information you’ll need to establish before you bring your power wheelchair or scooter with you. Most aircrafts allow lithium-ion batteries to be included in carry on luggage, however it’s best to double check this before travel day!
Size & Weight Restrictions
Depending on the scooter or wheelchair, you most likely will be required to check it as cargo. If you have a larger device you will need to ensure that the cargo door of the plane is large enough to accommodate your wheelchair or scooter.
Separate containers for mobility Equipment
This is often a service that airlines offer for their passengers. Some of the larger, more premium airlines offer separate containers for wheelchairs to be stored more safely vs. including it in the regular cargo storage on their aircraft.
Preparing your Electric Wheelchair or Scooter for a Flight
Because your device will be traveling in the cargo area of the aircraft, there are a few things you can do to be best prepared for a successful, bump-free flight.
Arrive Early. Be at the airport 3 hours before to check your wheelchair or scooter. This will ensure you have more than enough time if the airline requires you to do any additional preparation before the wheelchair or scooter gets checked in.
Remove the Battery. The battery will not be allowed in the cargo area of the plane and will need to be packed into your personal carry-on item. Have this in an easily removable place to help you get through security quicker.
Disconnect the and cap the leads. This will help to prevent any potential short circuits.
Depending on the airport, you can likely go as far as the boarding area in your electric wheelchair. At this point, the airline crew will provide you with a transport wheelchair. They will also assist you in boarding the plane if you require help. When you arrive at your destination, you should expect to have your wheelchair or scooter ready for you once you reach the ground.