Traveling has been a burden for the majority of the population of disabled people. I experienced personal situations where I feel the airport staff was ignoring me. Traveling via an airplane has put a lot of pressure on me since my mobility is limited. Since mobility scooters have been a big part of my life, having them with me even when traveling is a must. I am so glad that most airlines are now assisting disabled people, free of charge. The great thing here is my mobility scooter is convenient since it is foldable. Traveling via land, sea, or air is now very much easy because of the assistance I get. I am now familiar with this and remember all the necessary details when traveling with a mobility scooter. Having this knowledge with me, I would be glad to share how to travel with a mobility scooter with you guys.
Traveling has been quite challenging, especially when you are a disabled person. There are more things that you have to know and to do, unlike an average person. Also, you have to process the protocols on your scooter as well.
Disabled people must know what to do, especially when traveling on an airplane. You can encounter different scenarios that you have not even expected. The inexperienced staff with no idea what to do with your situation, the lack of personnel to assist you, and some people who will help you have a terrible or cold attitude.
Your mobility scooter must pass the protocols for you to have it safely placed on the plane. Some of these things are batteries, the scooter’s height, and space availability in the airplane. Traveling on the road with your mobility scooter possesses some issues you have to look into before making the trip. Cruise ships are your friend. They will strive to make sure that everyone, including us disabled, has a great time on our cruise.
Can you take your mobility scooter on a plane?
The answer is yes. You can take your mobility scooter on a plane, but it has some protocols to go through. And you must be familiar with how the process works, especially when boarding the plane. Here are some of the protocols:
The height of the scooter. The size of your scooter is what the airline personnel will check first. If the height of your mobility scooter must be 86 cm or under, your scooter will place it vertically. If it exceeds the height limit, which is 86 cm, they will horizontally put your scooter. The position of your scooter may or may not damage it during the trip. I suggest following the protocol of having your scooter below 86 cm. If your scooter is too big, you might have a big problem. Some airlines do not allow big and heavy mobility scooters for safety reasons.
You should examine the parts and accessories of your scooter. The first to address is the battery of the mobility scooter. The protocol requires the scooter to have a “gel cell” or dry batteries and avoid scooters with wet batteries. Wet batteries are the batteries that are present in automobiles. The scooter’s power cord must be removed or detached from the scooter to avoid problems in the air.
You tell the airline about your scooter to know what to do. The airline must understand that you are traveling with your mobility scooter. It is essential because the airline will assign people to help you until seated inside the plane. Also, they will help you check-in your mobility scooter.
One mobility scooter for disabled people per flight, meaning you have to address your concern to the airline days before your trip to secure the space for your mobility scooter. By telling the airline about your scooter, you can decide whether to book that flight or not. Some airlines do not allow mobility scooters inside the plane.
Following protocols will ensure your safety and the safety of your mobility scooter. If your scooter is a small mobility scooter, it is suitable for traveling. Knowing what to remove from the scooter will give you time to take it out earlier.
Doing this procedure will allow you to have a shorter time for checking and boarding time. And it would be best if you remembered that the staff assigned to you could not assist you all the way. You have to be okay being alone, or it is better to travel with a companion. Having a companion can help your part since you cannot rely on your mobility scooter all the time.
How do you go to your airplane seat if you don’t have your mobility scooter?
The personnel that is in charge of you have full responsibility. The airline will provide a wheelchair for you to move with ease in the airport. They will assist you with your needs, like personal concerns and checking in. If you have landed at your destination, there will be another waiting personnel.
They will assist you until you have your mobility scooter. Some even help you until you are outside of the airport. Don’t even think of paying for these services since this is free of charge. Do not expect that much, especially when it’s your first time.
Sometimes people who are there to assist you are doing things carelessly. They can do something that will make us uncomfortable. Not every person who is sitting in a wheelchair is the same. We have various issues, and they must know about this before approaching us.
Steps on the process of boarding your plane
When checking in, make sure that you are seated to present yourself as a person with a disability. Other staff might think you are faking it if you are standing while checking in. If you have your scooter’s battery, please do not put it in your luggage since it will cause a problem.
Please put it in plain sight so that the staff can identify it immediately. If your travel scooter is not allowed to be hand-carried, it will be on the cargo hold. Personnel of the airline will provide a wheelchair for you. They will assist you in every moment of the flight.
At the gate, you are the priority as much as families with children. It is necessary since the cabin crew cannot adequately escort you in your seat if the plane is already full of people. It would be best if you did not blend in with the crowd. You must be in the sight of the agent who is at the gate. Or be with your assigned personnel for a more straightforward process when boarding.
Some scooters are allowed onboard the plane. These scooters are those that are either foldable or can be removable on sight. They can be hand-carried by you or your companion. Most scooters are on the cargo hold, so you can only see your scooter when you have already landed. Your scooter is on the belt in the hall. Hand-carried scooters, especially the foldable scooter, which is easy to use, can be already used inside the airport after landing.
When the plane has landed, remain seated and let everyone get off first. As same as the boarding situation, it is hard for the staff to assist you when there are people inside the plane. Then you are helped to the luggage belt to take your mobility scooter. The team will get the scooter for you from the luggage belt in other cases.
List of Airlines that allows Scooters
|AIRLINE||Their Scooter Accommodation|
|United Airlines||Allow mobility scooters, either foldable or removable (collapsible). The collapsible must weigh less than 40 lbs or 18 kg when assembled.|
|British Airways||British Airways also requires the battery to be removed from the scooter. You must also cover it with electrical tape to prevent it from short-circuiting while in the air.|
|Delta||Delta allows you to bring an extra battery for your scooter if the spare battery is less than 300WH and two spare batteries if less than 16W.|
|Lufthansa||They do not allow any battery-powered transportation, including mobility scooters.|
|American Airlines Group||They have some restrictions on electric-powered transportation goods like hoverboards, balance wheels, small mobility scooters, and intelligence scooters. The airline does not allow Li-ion battery-powered personal transportation devices.|
United Airlines happens to allow mobility scooters, either foldable or removable (collapsible). The collapsible must weigh less than 40 lbs or 18 kg when assembled. The airlines’ staff will then examine the scooter, especially the battery. The battery must be removed and approved before traveling. The battery is straightforward to withdraw from the scooter.
British Airways also requires the battery to be removed from the scooter. You must also cover it with electrical tape to prevent it from short-circuiting while in the air. The storm must be inside the cabin as hand-carried baggage.
The information about the scooter itself, like the brand, model, height, weight, type of battery, and instructions, must be presented to the airline. The airline staff will store your scooter in containers to keep the scooters safe. You must inform the airline if you have made changes to your scooters, like accessories or an upgrade. The notice must be two previous days before your actual flight.
In Delta, the scooter battery must be removed by the staff and physically examined. They will identify whether the battery’s rating is suitable for traveling. Delta allows you to bring an extra battery for your scooter if the spare battery is less than 300WH and two spare batteries if less than 16W.
They do not allow any battery-powered transportation, including mobility scooters. This policy applies to all types of batteries and their capacity, and this will ensure the safety and the security of the airline regarding dangerous goods.
American Airlines Group
They have some restrictions on electric-powered transportation goods like hoverboards, balance wheels, small mobility scooters, and intelligence scooters. The airline does not allow Li-ion battery-powered personal transportation devices.
They do not allow this whether it is hand-carried or checked in. But you can still bring your mobility scooter on the plane, but you have to give the airlines advance notice regarding your mobility scooter. And you must follow specific guidelines for your scooter to be checked-in.
Choosing the airline is your decision. You have to follow what they are implementing to keep you and everybody going to safely board the plane. Traveling became a hobby for some people. Looking at your mobility scooter’s information when traveling is more important than when you are just home.
Regulations vary from one country to another; it is more strict in Asia, especially in China. China is so rigorous with its rules and regulations regarding mobility scooters.
Airline Approved Scooters
Some scooters are listed and approved by most airlines. These scooters are already qualified and can easily be checked-in since all the required information has already been looked up and checked by the airline personnel.
Foldable scooters are trendy in terms of airline travel. Since these scooters can fold and lightweight, they can put them on the cargo hold. There are mobility scooters that have this feature.
They can help you in the best way, and they are convenient since they can be stored easily. But not all foldable scooters are airline approved. Some foldable scooters are too heavy to be used as a travel scooter, and some have features that are not okay with the airline’s protocols.
Lightweight scooters are also called travel scooters. These scooters are not a burden for you and the personnel assigned to check them in and move them to the cargo. People can put scooters in a hand-carry bag because it is that light.
Having a Roadtrip with your Mobility scooter
People are always craving for a road trip, even disabled people. The ambiance of a new destination is so relaxing. Just imagine the people you love are inside a vehicle with you, enjoying the breeze from the window.
You can experience this while not thinking about your mobility lack since you have your mobility scooter. Some mobility scooters have features that make them almost like traveling companions.
Lightweight scooters are easy to bring on road trips. Most lightweight scooters are foldable, decreasing your vehicle’s required space or storage. It is also easier to take in and out from the vehicles’ trunk since it is not heavy. These mobility scooters are considered travel scooters.
Some of the scooters are very reliable, especially those mobility scooters you can use on all terrain. When traveling, you can encounter many terrains such as rough roads, grass, sand, gravel, et cetera. You can smoothly go through this when you have a heavy-duty mobility scooter. The only problem you face is the scooter weighs heavier than most travel scooters.
You can travel with your mobility scooter but plan to make sure that you will not face problems on your trip. Planning can be the key to enjoying your trip.
Traveling with Mobility Scooters in your Daily Life
People with disabilities are now getting hired as workers just like a regular average person are. The idea of walking all the way to work is pretty much impossible, especially when you have problems with your lower part of your body. The Mobility scooters are not suitable when covering long trip distances. The issue is that the mobility scooter may run out of battery before reaching your workplace.
Today, it is now okay to put your mobility vehicles on public transportation like buses. It is very convenient for people who use mobility scooters as a source of alternative transportation. You can cover much more distance and much faster time as well.
There are times that you are wanting to go and take a cruise around the Caribbean and still thinking about your mobility scooter. Well, most cruise ships allow you to bring your mobility scooter. The crew will be glad to assist you. Other cruise ships provide wheelchairs for smoother embarkation and disembarkation. You have to keep in mind that crewmembers are not allowed to lift your assistive device. But you must know the rules and regulations regarding your mobility scooter.
You might be thinking, “Why are you taking your mobility scooter when you can easily take public transportation?”. The answer is common sense. People with disabilities or having issues with walking are enough reasons to own a mobility scooter. The purpose of a mobility scooter is to help you whenever you need support.
There are also recreational scooters that happen to give their users joy and ease. There happens to be a scooter fit for every one of us here in this world. Instead of being negative and judging people right off the bat, we should take time to know them first and their story.