Do you travel by plane often? Shawn Fluke, a C5/C6 quadriplegic, demonstrates how he transfers himself from his wheelchair to and from his plane seat.
“When I had my chair made, I had it designed as narrow as I possibly could,” narrates Shawn. The narrow chair frame allows Shawn to board most airplanes himself rather than having to transfer to an aisle chair for boarding. For the transfer, Shawn supports his body weight with an arm on the plane seat, and with the other arm pushing his body off the wheelchair, he slowly shifts his body onto the plane seat. Shawn repeats this to get back in his wheelchair from the plane seat. However, he acknowledges that the transfer from the plane seat to the wheelchair might be “fairly tough” because of the long sitting hours during the flight.
As for the storing of the wheelchair, Shawn has an instructional checklist to guide the airplane staff on how to properly break down and store his wheelchair. (Shawn uses power-assisted wheels on his manual wheelchair and has specific instructions on how they should be handled.) First, take off the power wheels and store them on the plane. The person carrying the wheels should carry them by the rim. Next, take the cushion and sideguards out.
Lastly, for his convenience, Shawn also reminds himself to use the restroom before boarding the plane.
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