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"Packing up" rigid W/C for airplane "hold"

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  • #16
    Originally posted by 2drwhofans View Post
    It doesn't take much to get me nervous, but we haven't flown in a long while and currently have tickets to Chicago on United next month.

    What does one do if they're strapped to that horrible transfer chair and find that either the wheelchair is damaged, still in the home airport or was loaded onto a plane going somewhere else?
    I would wait till your chair is brought to the plane before you start the transfer process to the isle chair.

    This does 2 things, remember this is a business and the business is to get the plane unloaded and reloaded and for that jet to pull away from the gate.

    They get fined if they pull out late.

    So by you staying in the plane you will be more comfortable and it will move the process along. If ground ask if you can wait in the jetway explain no due to comfort, its cooler and the isle chair is not comfortable.

    Once your chair get to the jetway I would send someone out to do a fast inspection have them walk around the chair if it looks ok just let you know and start the transfer process.

    If something is wrong they can put you in a wheelchair and they can push you to United baggage claim and put in a claim for damage.

    My bet is if you get there an hour early, follow the plan of talking to them and explaining your chair, your chair will be fine!!

    Have faith and believe! Remember everything is fixable too.

    Remember your chair to the jetway at your home airport and then you transfer in the jetway, so all they are doing is taking your chair out the door of the jetway and carry it down to load it or if it doesn't fit though the door to the fright elevator so its not going to get damaged at home.

    Make sure you let them know to come back up and notify you once its loaded!!

    Remember you be in charge they work for you not you for them!

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    • #17
      Thank you, RollPositive. Your optimism and advice is appreciated !

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      • #18
        Originally posted by RollPositive View Post

        If you do a lay over make sure you give yourself an 2 hours between flights to get your chair use the restroom, eat etc and not be rushed.
        i agree strongly with this. I once had a 90 my mute layover and everything was running more or less on time, but because airlines have badgered everyone into carrying on all their luggage and you’re first on, last off I almost missed my connecting flight. It had already boarded, so I had to wait for the aisle to clear and then get strapped to the aisle chair and wheeeled through a crowded cabin last. Not a fun experience. And I was moving quickly. I was probably going an average of 8 miles an hour, flying past pedestrians and using the people movers to get an extra speed boost.

        now I make sure I have at least two hours.

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        • #19
          A rigid wheelchair will fit in the coat compartment of the airplane. I don't know the max size. You could call the airline and ask. Mine is 16" wide and it fits. Don't worry about this being an unreasonable request. Airlines specify this option on their website. You have to get there early enough to pre-board or else the space will be taken. It's a tight fit so you may have to put your cushion in overhead storage.

          If you want to put you wheelchair in the luggage area of the plane, just remember there's a time constraint so it has to be something quick. A fabric store or auto/home upholstery service can custom make a case for the frame.

          Wheel cases are standard parts available online.

          Don't worry about them losing your wheelchair. They can put your luggage in the wrong plane when they take possession of it at the gate. When they take possession of your wheelchair while it is on the plane (or the jet bridge) there's no other plane they can put it in other than the one you are on.

          There is the risk of putting your chair in the wrong plane between connecting flights. But only if you use their wheelchair to get from plane to plane. I'd have them deliver your chair to you between connecting flights.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by August West View Post
            A rigid wheelchair will fit in the coat compartment of the airplane. I don't know the max size. You could call the airline and ask. Mine is 16" wide and it fits. Don't worry about this being an unreasonable request. Airlines specify this option on their website. You have to get there early enough to pre-board or else the space will be taken. It's a tight fit so you may have to put your cushion in overhead storage.

            If you want to put you wheelchair in the luggage area of the plane, just remember there's a time constraint so it has to be something quick. A fabric store or auto/home upholstery service can custom make a case for the frame.

            Wheel cases are standard parts available online.

            Don't worry about them losing your wheelchair. They can put your luggage in the wrong plane when they take possession of it at the gate. When they take possession of your wheelchair while it is on the plane (or the jet bridge) there's no other plane they can put it in other than the one you are on.

            There is the risk of putting your chair in the wrong plane between connecting flights. But only if you use their wheelchair to get from plane to plane. I'd have them deliver your chair to you between connecting flights.
            I thought there was room only for a folding W/C in the closet. Good point about getting my chair for connecting flights.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Lynne View Post
              I thought there was room only for a folding W/C in the closet. Good point about getting my chair for connecting flights.
              I did too. I've looked at them before and don't think a rigid 18x18 TiLite would fit.

              I'm still wondering- if they brought your custom wheelchair up from storage and it has gotten broke-up to the point where it's not safely useable- what would you do? Transfer chair to their beater wheelchair with fixed armrests and a 90 degree back to seat, then file a claim with baggage and then...?
              So far, the only scenario i can picture is getting him to an airport hotel, ordering a modest folding wheelchair chair on Amazon Prime and, after that arrives, fly back home, to figure out the details and coverage with which ever company contracts for these problems.

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              • #22
                You are overthinking it. If you try to cover every possible scenario you won't leave home without a tank and another one for back up. They know it's a wheelchair and how important it is. They treat it accordingly, not like just another piece of luggage. This isn't wishful thinking. I used to fly about 10 times per year and never had any damage. If there was, what could they possibly do to a rigid frame other than scratch it? If it's scratches to the paint you're concerned about, then you've got yourself a losing battle. Get a titanium frame and put that concern to rest. If it's structural damage you're concerned about, just know that I've had a car almost back over me. I fell out of the chair and the chair stopped the car from rolling over me. They're strong. It's the wheel spokes I worry about. But even if they broke a spoke, I could still get around with a broken spoke good enough until it was fixed.
                Last edited by August West; 07-14-2018, 08:22 PM.

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                • #23
                  Re: "just know that I've had a car almost back over me. I fell out of the chair and the chair stopped the car from rolling over me."
                  O.K., that puts my worries in perspective. Well said. Glad you're still here.

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                  • #24
                    I hope your travels are less stressful.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by August West View Post
                      You are overthinking it. If you try to cover every possible scenario you won't leave home without a tank and another one for back up. They know it's a wheelchair and how important it is. They treat it accordingly, not like just another piece of luggage. This isn't wishful thinking. I used to fly about 10 times per year and never had any damage. If there was, what could they possibly do to a rigid frame other than scratch it? If it's scratches to the paint you're concerned about, then you've got yourself a losing battle. Get a titanium frame and put that concern to rest. If it's structural damage you're concerned about, just know that I've had a car almost back over me. I fell out of the chair and the chair stopped the car from rolling over me. They're strong. It's the wheel spokes I worry about. But even if they broke a spoke, I could still get around with a broken spoke good enough until it was fixed.

                      Perfectly said...

                      People get so stressed out that many times they will talk themselves out of traveling?

                      Everything is fixable!

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                      • #26
                        If you are worried about your spokes, you could always get spoke guards that they use in Wheelchair Basketball or Rugby. They do an excellent job of protecting spokes and are easily removable (Velcro straps).

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                        • #27
                          We've flow a number of times without issues. At the bottom of the gate ramp she gets in the isle chair, and I take off all to loose bits (fenders, back, arms, seat cushion and the battery off her FireFly) and put them into a big shopping bag to take into the cabin with us. Other than lots of questions on the FireFly, no problems so far.

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                          • #28
                            I've seen too many veteran's chairs get trashed on the airlines and would caution those who assume everyone who might handle your chair realizes how critical it is for your day-today function and how difficult it may be to replace. A few simple things can go a long way to preventing damage.






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                            • #29
                              How does removing the wheels mitigate risk of damage?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by August West View Post
                                How does removing the wheels mitigate risk of damage?
                                I'm not sure how to interpret that, but there is much more to it. Most of my 3,500+ posts are from a kinder gentler time on CC when people came here to help and support one another. Here's the original post from 2008.

                                http:///forum/showthread.php?102617-...DC-with-my-ZRc

                                My chair is now 11 years old and has aged better than I have.

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