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    Wheelchairs and flying

    I have a friend that is a paraplegic and used a manual chair for 22 years, recently she wen to a power chair for most things. Shes flying soon and wants to know should she take the manual chair. Shes afraid flying with power is a hassle. What do you guys think

    #2
    Flying with a powerchair is a huge hassle. I (a dealer) have sold lots of replacement chairs that airlines have bought because they dropped the chair out of the airplane.
    Joysticks get broken all the time. (they stack stuff on top of chair and break joystick)

    My advice: If you decide to travel with a power chair. Drive the chair up to the gate and disconnect the joystick and carry it on the plane with you. Disengage the motors and have them push the chair for storage. Have the name and number of a wheelchair dealer on the destination side of your trip just in case. If the airline breaks or damages your chair in anyway, they are really good to pay for repairs or pay for a loaner. It is just a real hassle....

    From a dealers perspective...... I love when people fly with powerchairs.... it helps me sell more chairs, obtw airlines pay MSRP...

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      #3
      This look's WAAAAAAAAAY cool for travel or other if you also have a manual chair like me, when my power chair is not an option:
      ZX1 Manual Chair Power Add-On

      Almost bought one of these last Summer from Pat, the inventor & guy in the video. Unfortunately, I just got ready to contact him for purchase & discovered he has licensed it to Spinergy.com as of last Aug.-Sept.. He only sold about 8-10 before he ran into the Owner/Rep(?) for Spinergy & the soon struck a collaboration deal.

      Looks like all the gov't approvals, tweaks, mod's, etc...are about done & supposed to be on the available July-Aug.. Seems FDA & RESA approvals take forever. I hear the MSRP is $7995, so actual buying price should be lower?

      Hope someone else finds this info. interesting or helpful.

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        #4
        flying w/ p/chair

        Unplug the joy stick agreed and take your manual. Since switching to power I have avoided flying where possible.

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          #5
          I've flown often with a power. Sure, there's more to be concerned about than a manual chair, but just make sure you DIS-engage it (set on manual mode), give clear and direct instructions on maneuvering it (even better, type out brief instruction and tape to the chair where it'll be readily visible to the destination/arrival crew), remove cushion and other loose parts, and depending on the type of battery you have (eg. acid), prep/pack for storage per airline instructions (see airline website).

          Once logistics are taken care of, there are some great benefits - like, zipping through the airport and thru security, and getting to my gate extremely fast, while carrying tons of luggage on lap and/or off the back of chair (so not needing airport transport to help me thru - I waited once, but it took so long to wait for them to show up, I just took off and probably made it gate on my own before they even showed up). I also arrived late once (people were already boarding) so curbside check guy called them to let them know I was on my way and escorted me up - we sped (he ran w/me) the entire way, all the while he was on the CB thingamagig to make sure they didn't take off, and we flew thru security and made it in time to load onboard (everyone already seated) in just a few minutes.

          A powerchair (for me, as a quad) makes getting thru the airport, carrying/getting luggage, and getting through the crowds much faster and easier. After a long tiring flight, it can be especially useful (and critical if I need to get to a bathroom asap!).

          Comment


            #6
            Sorry, I misread the post & thought she was "getting" a new power chair. What Mfg. & model does she have? It does make a difference.

            I'm a C5-6 quad for 30+ years & have to fly 1-2 times a year min. to visit the wife's family. I used a manual the first 8-10 years, but had to switch to power.

            1) If she is traveling with someone who can help she will have more flexibility with the manual chair.
            > less to get damaged by airlines
            > lots more options & cheaper car rental or ride with friends there
            > can get into most any home with a little help

            2) If she's going to be doing lots of pushing (sightseeing, rough terrain, etc.) & thinks the power will make a more enjoyable trip then the risk of damage might be worth it. I have had some damage from time to time, but luckily nothing to make the chair unusable.
            ***As others said ALWAYS remove the joystick & carry it on***
            > Never do less than 1 hr. layover (1st on, always last off plane)
            > Consider getting a gate-claim-check at layover so will have the chair if flight delay, cancellation, long layover, etc...
            > After making the reservation, call the airline & ask to speak to someone about updating your travel info. for a power wheelchair. Some have a special agent they will connect you with & may ask for chair weight, size (h-w), battery type (gel-wet), aisle chair needed, full 2-person or 1-person lift assist...they will usually change your seat to 1st row coach (reserved until last for h/c travel). Sounds like a pain, but better to do ahead than bigger problems at airport!!

            A couple of final things:
            1) Plane cargo doors are 34" high. If her chair back is 33"+ & doesn't have a folding back, then it's probably going on it's side for the trip, batteries taken totally out & possibly luggage stacked on top. They pack cargo holds full!!
            2) If she goes power on flight & no gate-claim-check, take the cushion onboard with the controls.
            3) Consider option to fly with manual & rent a Quickie P-110 or V-521 at destination from a DME provider which is often very close to the airports. Their battery packs quick release w/ carry handle & chairs fold for transport. Luggage & Quickie chair will fit in trunk of a Crown Victoria or Lincoln. 2 people can lift them into a Toyota Rav4 with batteries or not upright in the rear (1 strong without). The Rav4 seat ht. allows me to transfer w/ an 18" board & strong wife :-) I currently have a spare-previously acquired V-521 for FULL travel. You will need to call the arrival car rental mgr. to guarantee the vehicle you NEED to have. They are usually VERY accommodating to your situation.

            TMI...drop a PM or reply if you need.

            PS: I am considering forking out the $$ for the ZX1 (click previous highlighted post above) for this exact need. Best new technology option I've yet to see.

            Comment


              #7
              i must be lucky....ive flown bout 12 round trips, 2 with layovers ,so thats almost 30 flights, and ive never had 1 problem..i go right to door of plane, disengage so they have to push...its always been right there when i get off, nothing missing or broke...ive flown AA, Spirit,Delta, and SW...
              - Rolling Thru Life -

              Comment


                #8
                Darn, for a moment from the title I thought there was flying wheelchair now available!!!. But, yes unfortunately I've heard of a lot of problems with power chairs getting damaged.
                "Life is about how you
                respond to not only the
                challenges you're dealt but
                the challenges you seek...If
                you have no goals, no
                mountains to climb, your
                soul dies".~Liz Fordred

                Comment


                  #9
                  Considering how badly airlines beat up on manual chairs I would never fly with a power chair if I had another option. I use a power chair all the time, but when I fly it is back to the manual, and even then it is with fingers metaphorically crossed. Not sure where your friend is flying to, but remember Europe has a different current so you would need an adapter even for the battery charger.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Read a copy of DOT rule (Title 14 CFR Part 382) before flying.

                    These are your rights. American airlines just violated most of them on my last flight.

                    Know before you go and take a printed copy for them because you cant fix stupid.
                    Darwin wants me dead

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by t6para View Post
                      Read a copy of DOT rule (Title 14 CFR Part 382) before flying.

                      These are your rights. American airlines just violated most of them on my last flight.

                      Know before you go and take a printed copy for them because you cant fix stupid.
                      You can't, but I have found in general you don't need to brandish a rule book but simply be nice and explain what you need and things work out. What happened on your flight?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by roc21 View Post
                        i must be lucky....ive flown bout 12 round trips, 2 with layovers ,so thats almost 30 flights, and ive never had 1 problem..i go right to door of plane, disengage so they have to push...its always been right there when i get off, nothing missing or broke...ive flown AA, Spirit,Delta, and SW...
                        I've never had any real problems either, other than when some of the workers/ground crew moving my chair wouldn't know about the engage/disengage mechanism and would keep trying to 'engage' the power mode. Other than that, I've always had a pretty easy time flying, like I said above, from going through security to boarding. I never go early as recommended (~2 hrs is suggested) and it's been fine (except that time I was very late) nor do I bother with calling or talking to reps while booking - only called reps my first time since I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but it ended up confusing and worrying me more than being helpful. So, basically, I just book online and figure out what I need to do and how to handle things, as I do it.

                        I definitely think people can take things easy and not worry too much. Yes, make sure to plan as needed, but don't stress. A friendly, easy-going attitude does go a long way - for you and for those there to assist.
                        Last edited by chick; 1 May 2012, 4:09 PM.

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