It’s daunting as a wheelchair user entrusting an airline with your chair. Given most wheelchair users are dependent on the equipment when they get to their destination, it’s important to pre-plan and prepare your chair for travel.
Here are 10 tips to help prepare you for travelling with a wheelchair
- When booking a flight, speak to the airline’s special handling department and advise them of the dimensions of your chair. If it’s a power wheelchair, have information handy about the battery type.
- If travelling with a power chair, check if you’ll need a voltage converter for your destination. If you’re unsure, check with your wheelchair supplier.
- Print instructions on how to operate your chair, laminate and attach it to your wheelchair. If you are travelling to a country where English isn’t the first language, put the instructions in both languages.
- Arrive at the airport early. Allow additional time for check in processing and security screening.
- Take any removable parts with you on the flight ie cushions, arm rests and joysticks.
- Bubble wrap any fragile parts or fancy paintwork on the wheelchair frame.
- Mid-flight speak with the air crew and ask them to ensure your wheelchair will be delivered to the aircraft door on arrival.
- Check your wheelchair for any damage on arrival and report it immediately to the airline. If the wheelchair needs immediate repairs the airline will organise it for you. If the damage won’t interfere with your travel, they will give you a reference to organise repairs on your return home and they should pay for it.
- Take a basic wheelchair repair tip with you. Your wheelchair supplier should be able to supply you with spare parts.
- Ask your wheelchair supplier for details of a repairer at your destination just in case you need major repairs while travelling.