Cory Lee, a wheelchair user and travel blogger, gives tips on how to navigate the world of flying with your wheelchair safely.
"If you’re like me, you don’t like something like a wheelchair slowing you down. Whether you’re a world-class traveler or just starting to explore the big blue globe, you can hop on a jet plane and take your chair with you so you don’t miss a beat."
Taking the necessary steps prior to take off is the ultimate key to ensure your wheelchair remains safe during flight.
- Let the airline know well in advance the special accommodations you need with your wheelchair on the flight. Be specific! If you have a power chair with a battery, you may require special protocol like packaging the batteries in a separate container during takeoff.
- List out instructions for the crew to properly operate your chair and attach to the back of your wheelchair. Be sure to include it in English and the language of where you're headed. It's best to detail how to turn on/off, switch to manual & put any necessary pieces back together.
- Take small parts like headrest, footrests with you in your carry-on. Less attachments means less damages. Label things when possible.
- Confirm with the airline 24 hours in advance of your flight to double check they have properly documented that you're traveling with a wheelchair. Speak to crew about any special instructions from there.
- Standard airlines require 2-3 hours in advance to check-in, but allowing another hour for your extra needs and to check in your wheelchair and special instructions is best. Double check all labels matching your name and flight information before handing off components to crew.
- Having your chair brought to you at the next gate for layover gives you the mobility and freedom to navigate restaurants and shops at your leisure. It also gives you a chance to have more eyes checking on your chair throughout your entire flight.
These precautionary tips should help solidify your wheelchair's well-being when using an airplane.
Share these tips with someone you know who enjoys traveling and can benefit from them!