Traveling with a power chair 
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 Traveling with a power chair

re: Travel help- Thought you might find this helpful for Stu

Date   : Sun, 11 Feb 2001 11:57:35 EST
Subject: ALSD 805 (1) Travel help --Flying with a Power Chair

Patti, my husband (who has ALS) and I have flown 6 times with his power
chair, a Permobile Corpus.  I would not hesitate to do it again.  My
husband wants "his" chair and I would hate the hassle of a rental.  We
have never had any significant problem with airline personnel damaging
his chair, but I have learned some important lessons along the way:

1.  Call the airline ahead of time and notify them that you will be
traveling with a power chair.  Tell them that you will need to bring
the chair right up to the door of the plane. (This is their usual
procedure with power chairs.)

2.  Be aware that federal law (the Hazardous Materials Transportation
Act) requires that power chair batteries be removed for flight transport

and remind the airline that this needs to happen.  Tell them that you
will need two battery boxes, the correct paperwork and the services of
a mechanic when you arrive at the gate.  The airlines are well aware
of this regulation.  A Catch-22:  my husband's chair must be brought
to its full height for the batteries to be removed; then it's too tall
for the cargo hold!  (The feds never thought of that.)  So we simply
disconnect the batteries and let them stay in the chair for flight,
and no one objects.  Only once did the airline bother with the

3.  When you arrive at least 2 hours early, check your bags and tell
the baggage person that you are traveling with a power chair.  They
will give you a special tag for the chair.  Go right to the gate and
get your husband boarded.  Airline personnel are trained to board
paralyzed persons and will be most agreeable if you let them do it
their way. Get the kids and the nurse on board too.

4. Tell everyone that you want to stay with the chair and supervise
until it is loaded into the cargo hold.  They will be delighted.  The
last thing they want is full responsibility for this expensive-
looking contraption.  Show them how to make the chair move after the
batteries are disconnected.  Show them how to make the chair as
compact as possible. (Figure out how to do this before BEFORE your
trip, not the way I did, in the belly of the cargo hold with the whole
plane waiting for me to do it.)  The more you hold their hand, the
happier they will be.  Get the chair key and tell them you are going to
keep it on your person and will give it to anyone who needs it.

5.  Check the chair all the way through to your destination.  Arrange
for your husband's manual transport to any connection flight.  Ask for
reassurance that your chair has made the connection.  Tell them it
will be OK if you deplane last when you arrive at your destination.
They will be pleased.  If a problem arises and you need help getting
the chair back to operational mode, ask for a mechanic who has worked
with a power chair.  Alot of people fly them, so experienced mechanics

Hope this is helpful!  Good luck.  Sylvia

2.  Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.  If you
arrive before any other scheduled passengers, you will get the full
attention of the airline people, and they will be helpful instead of


Sun, 03 Aug 2003 05:33:39 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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