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Airline Trashes Custom Electric Wheelchair

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    Airline Trashes Custom Electric Wheelchair

    This is my greatest fear about travel. Not the plane going down, but the airline trashing my chair.

    On my limited travels, I have been fortunate not to have trouble. However, it only takes one 'tard in baggage handling to F up your trip and possibly life.

    Can someone give me a good reason they don't allow us to just drive on the plane in our chairs and get tied down like in a taxi? In the event of crash, we are all fubared anyway. Turbulance? Please. Makes no diff in my chair or airplane seat. It would make everyone's life easier. I for one, would travel more.

    Anyway, here are details of the trouble:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/arti...tter-rage?bn=1
    Last edited by CowboyCrip; 5 Aug 2010, 7:39 PM.

    #2
    I know the fear. NL and I have been invited to a wedding in Hawaii next year and we would love to go, but I'm thinking instead of risking the power chair, I might dust off my old manual chair, replace the wheels and prevail upon my dear wife to be port-a-power to get me around. Since I had to go to a power chair (blown out shoulders and wrists and need for tilt in space for low blood pressure) about 10 years ago we have only traveled by van and I must admit, I miss the range of travel we used to do when I was working and traveled a lot domestically and internationally.

    GJ

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      #3
      I hear you. When I saw the story on the news, it freaked me out. I am supposed to be flying alone for the first time at the end of the month. A few days before I leave, I am supposed to pick up my new Tilite ZRA as long as it's in.... I think the Quickie will be coming along for one last, good, ride

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        #4
        Wow. If the airlines had to give us each a trip to Disney and home renovations any time they trashed our chairs, it would quickly become cost-effective to make airplanes wheelchair accessible.
        NYC Disability Forum (@DisabledNYC on Twitter)

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          #5
          Oh wow, had to comment on this one. I have been c5/c6 quad for almost 8 years and did not fly until December of last year. Two different airlines.....2 different broken chairs. Lol I absolutely agree. We need to be able to stay in our chairs. Of course that would mean redesigning airplanes.

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            #6
            They not only broke my chair twice but also didn't put it on the airline once ( Jet blue ) and I had to get a loaner upon landing . It was delivered the next day !!! I never trust them and always ask for confirmation that my chair is in baggage.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jonesv View Post
              I absolutely agree. We need to be able to stay in our chairs. Of course that would mean redesigning airplanes.
              I don't know if a redesign is needed. Frankly, that would never happen. Why can't they make those 2 or 3 seats in the front row removable?

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                #8
                It used to be far worse in the dark ages: the 80s & 90s. The only chair I ever got wrecked was a loaner from the dealer in 1989. Naturally it was Air Canada.

                What's most effective is begging the ramp crew who take your chair from you at the aircraft door. The whingeing usually works on the loading crew. At the other end, you're at the mercy of the wheelchair gods.

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                  #9
                  [QUOTE=CowboyCrip;1245084]This is my greatest fear about travel. Not the plane going down, but the airline trashing my chair.


                  Can someone give me a good reason they don't allow us to just drive on the plane in our chairs and get tied down like in a taxi? In the event of crash, we are all fubared anyway. Turbulance? Please. Makes no diff in my chair or airplane seat. It would make everyone's life easier. I for one, would travel more. (end quote by cowboy)


                  oops, deleted end quote. anyway, i had read about this incident.

                  here's the deal: airline seats are designed by FAA regs to withstand 16g impact (the latest ones). no wheelchair tiedown is going to come close to that. the biggest danger in any survivable incident on an airline is things flying around the cabin.

                  if you have a 15k custom w/c, i suggest you buy one of the crates out there to house it during the flight. cargo is loaded by people not accustomed to specialized equipment or possessions.

                  hope this helps.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by wheeliegirl2010 View Post
                    I hear you. When I saw the story on the news, it freaked me out. I am supposed to be flying alone for the first time at the end of the month. A few days before I leave, I am supposed to pick up my new Tilite ZRA as long as it's in.... I think the Quickie will be coming along for one last, good, ride
                    folding manual chairs, by ACAA rules, are given priority space in the cabin storage (the closet space). don't let an airlines operating in the U.S. put your manual in cargo w/o a good fight. carry a copy of the Air Carrier Access Act. i don't know if your chr folds.

                    a summary w/link to entire ACAA. don't use the summary; print the whole thing and highlight applicable parts to you.

                    http://www.disabilitytravel.com/airl...arrier_act.htm

                    the full version from the DOT which governs U.S. air travel:

                    http://www.dotcr.ost.dot.gov/asp/airacc.asp
                    Last edited by cass; 10 Aug 2010, 12:28 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CowboyCrip View Post
                      I don't know if a redesign is needed. Frankly, that would never happen. Why can't they make those 2 or 3 seats in the front row removable?
                      redesign is not the issue. the seats can be removed but an airlines is not authorized to change the interior w/o a whole series of cert testing and FAA cert. we aren't talking a city bus here.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by cass View Post
                        no wheelchair tiedown is going to come close to that.
                        Why not?

                        Please forgive my ignorance of the materials and stresses involved; I'm not an engineer. (I just lived with one for years.) It seems to me that "It can't be done" is an overly simplistic answer, one often employed by able-bodied business owners who really mean "It can't be done cheaply or easily, so I don't want to pay for the development."

                        We're able to engineer space stations and large hadron colliders. We hear so much about space-age polymers, nanotubes, and silica and carbon materials. I find it hard to believe that it's completely impossible, in this modern world, to build a tie-down system that can withstand 16g.

                        Sure, it might mean redesigning tie-downs from the bottom up, and maybe the wheelchairs themselves. Again I say, why not?
                        NYC Disability Forum (@DisabledNYC on Twitter)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I've traveled a handful of times both domestically and internationally and I've yet to have anything happen.

                          First thing I tell them when I give up my chair. "put it on it's side please, THANKS"

                          I wouldn't want to be strapped to my chair for over 3 hours, let alone a 14 hour trip to China. screw that.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Soliloquy View Post
                            Why not?

                            Please forgive my ignorance of the materials and stresses involved; I'm not an engineer. (I just lived with one for years.) It seems to me that "It can't be done" is an overly simplistic answer, one often employed by able-bodied business owners who really mean "It can't be done cheaply or easily, so I don't want to pay for the development."

                            We're able to engineer space stations and large hadron colliders. We hear so much about space-age polymers, nanotubes, and silica and carbon materials. I find it hard to believe that it's completely impossible, in this modern world, to build a tie-down system that can withstand 16g.

                            Sure, it might mean redesigning tie-downs from the bottom up, and maybe the wheelchairs themselves. Again I say, why not?
                            well, the biggest problems i see are the wheelchairs and tiedowns. too many kinds of chairs (none of which are close to a 16g airline seat) and no universal chair/chair restraint out there or will be out there.

                            now if you want to manufacture one type of w/c and one restraint for that chair that meets FAA regs, passes cert testing and gets FAA cert, you still have to sell it to the airlines. ntm to the consumer who is then restrained to one type of chair.

                            think about it. every ez lock restraint (as an example) has to be customized to fit each individual chair. w/c frames are all different. each frame would have to be FAA tested and certified. each frame/restraint combo as well. an airlines cannot modify the interior of the plane on a fly by fly basis. the logistics are just not feasible. too many variables.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Imight View Post
                              I wouldn't want to be strapped to my chair for over 3 hours, let alone a 14 hour trip to China. screw that.
                              Are you not strapped to your chair all day anyways? I am. 15 hours / day usually.

                              Cass,

                              I hear you Cass. In my heart and head, I know you are right. On the other hand, these 16g rated seats really do not do anyone any good in a crash - crash. We are all dead. In a crash landing (i.e Miracle on the Hudson as a recent event) I can see their value. Still, my ez lock would stand up. It is rated at 20 g.

                              Please see http://www.ezlock.net/crash_test_2010.html

                              Let's face it, in any "event" there is going to be death, injuries and litifgation. So let the cripples fly, stay in their chairs and tie them down as best as possible. It would seem the automotive restraints already exceed the FAA regulations.

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