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E-motion wheels - tips for flying?

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    E-motion wheels - tips for flying?

    I'll be flying at the end of October and have a new chair with e-motion wheels. How do I keep my wheels safe from the not-so-gentle baggage handlers? Any ideas on how to prevent them from turning on mid-flight when my chair is in the belly of the plane? I hate flying, and have had bad experience in the past (i.e. big-time damage done to my chair), so any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!


    C5/6 incomplete

    (Side note: I do have plain 'ol regular wheels, but do not have the strength to push myself long distances or on uneven terrain)

    Are you traveling by yourself?? I would be inclined to remove the eMotion wheels, wrap them in bubble wrap, and take them with you, but put the regular wheels on the chair for use at the airport. Your companion can push you there, or you can have an airport employee push you to the plane. You might consider removing the batteries and wrapping them separately, or even carrying them aboard the plane as part of your carry-ons. Strap the eMotion wheels to your chair after transferring to the aisle chair (packing tape or duct tape), and gate check your whole chair then. Be sure to have name/address labels individually on each wheel, and any other removable parts of your chair...breakage is not the only potential problem...loss can be too.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      Do not leave the brakes engaged! If necessary tape the freewheel lever in the open position, so the baggage handler won't see/notice it. It doesn't matter whether or not you explain at your end, because if the guy at your destination finds the wheels don't roll, he WILL force it. I have actually had snapped manual brakes and a broken scooter motor from this. I also once had destroyed D's Locks that had been accidentally engaged. My brother once sprinted across the Tarmac at an airport to try and stop the handlers when I noticed them straining to push a scooter that had been left braked. I always always bring a roll of tape with me to the airport and cover up the brake handle. A sign is useless, because there is no guarantee he will or can read it.


        Did you fly with your E-Motion wheels? I too would like to fly with the wheels but I am concerned about damage.


          I've flown with mine many times.

          your DME company can get you 'covers' and battery boxes. Because there is no 'kill switch' (way to prevent the wheels from turning on), you need to take the batteries on plane with you. Also, you're not supposed to put lithium batteries in checked luggage.

          I leave my batteries in the wheels until I'm at the gate. Once at gate, remove battery from each wheel and put battery in 'battery box' (designed to hold in place without moving around) don't want to put batteries loose in carry-on as the battery terminals are exposed. Then put 'covers' on wheels. When you remove the battery from wheel the cover is attached and you don't want to leave the battery compartment exposed. The 'covers' I have are plastic & bright yellow; look just like the one that's integrated with battery except this is just a cover. The company normally uses them on wheels when shipping to/from DME as shipped without batteries in wheels.

          I also take zip-ties and loop around wheel & pushrim, basically keeping pushrim tight against wheel, eliminating the normal play/wiggle. Chair then looks & weighs like any other manual chair that baggage handlers are used to seeing. I normally toss an extra tote bag in my backpack, to put battery boxes & side guards in from chair. Only issue I've ever had in 3 years (with 5-8 flights a year) is Delta will NOT let lithium ion batteries on the plane as carry-on, even for wheelchair, and also will NOT let lithium ion batteries in wheelchairs go in cargo. So I just dont fly Delta.