If you’re planning on taking a flight to go on a vacation and you use an electric scooter, there are some things you’ll want to be aware of before you head for the tarmac. Airline travel can be sticky for everyone these days, with long security lines and new regulations to keep everyone safe. But when you’re traveling with a mobility scooter, you need to take a few extra steps to make sure your travel goes smoothly.
First, think ahead and make your airline reservations as far in advance as you possibly can. Last minute trips are absolutely possible, so don’t think that you can’t be spontaneous. It’s simply that the further ahead you plan, the easier the whole process is and you’ll have to time confirm your arrangements again before your actual departure date.
When you make your reservation, be sure that the operator knows that you’ll be bringing your mobility scooter on the trip. If you need help getting onto the plane, now is the time to tell them. Some airlines allow you to ride in your scooter through most of the pre-boarding process, while others require the battery be disconnected shortly after you arrive. You won’t be able to change the policy of the airline you’re traveling with, so be sure you’re aware of their procedures and can work within them.
For instance, if you can’t walk to the boarding gate to get onto the plane, you’ll need to let them know that you need a wheelchair waiting for you at the point they take your scooter, and that you’ll need to ride in that chair to your seat on the plane. You may also want to make sure that they’ll have an aisle wheelchair available for you to use, if needed, to get back and forth to the bathroom during the flight. Ask if there are any aisle seats with arm rests that lift, so that you can transfer to and from the seat easier. All planes don’t have these, but those that do will accommodate you if possible. Call and confirm these arrangements 48-72 hours before your departure date, to be on the safe side.
Before you go, purchase gel batteries (with an appropriate charger packed in your bag) if you don’t have this type already to avoid having your entire battery removed. They’ll disconnect the battery cables for safety, but if they can’t easily find these connections they may want to remove the whole box. Get to the airport early. Give yourself a 2 to 3 hour window so you can be sure you’re not rushed and that your mobility scooter is properly taken care of. Make sure your address and name are clearly marked on the scooter. And remove anything that can be removed to store in the overhead compartment. This is a precaution to make sure that your scooter doesn’t come back with missing parts like the seat cushion or accessories like a bag.
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