Tips To Make Travel in a Wheelchair By Plane Easier
If you’re a wheelchair user, travel can be unpredictable. It can also be exhausting to go through large airports, carry your luggage, get through lines, go through security check, and sit patiently in your aisle chair through a flight. The best way to sidestep some of these issues is to prepare.
Remember a Few Things When You Make Your Reservations
Before you buy a plane ticket, you should always check to see what the airline’s policies are for travelers with disabilities. Some airlines, for instance, have strict rules regarding how much a wheelchair can weigh. If yours is a motorized model, it may weigh more than an airline allows. Unless you read up ahead of time, you may only discover an airline’s rules when you get to the airport.
Choose Easy Seat For You
When you choose a seat, you should think about how easy it is likely to be for you to get in or out of it. Often, an aisle seat is the most convenient for wheelchair users. Bulkhead seats tend to have more room, but they can be problematic for wheelchair users because their armrests usually do not fold up.
Allow More Time Between Flights to Make Connections
Wheelchair users are usually required to wait to exit the plane until everyone else gets off. It can easily take a half hour just to get off the plane for this reason. When you make reservations for connecting flights, then, it’s important to allow yourself extra time. You will also need to plan for time to visit the restroom, considering the possibility that you won’t be able to use the ones on the airplane. In general, you should allow for at least 90 minutes between flights to comfortably make connections.
Once you make your reservations, you should call the airline at least two days in advance of your flight, and tell them that you will need assistance at the airport. If you’re traveling on multiple airlines, you need to notify all of them.
Be Very Careful With Your Wheelchair
Wheelchairs can sustain damage when taken on airplanes. Some people who use wheelchairs avoid travel as much as they can simply for the reason that damage is a possibility.
You can take a few precautions to prevent damage to your wheelchair. You should print out instructions on how to operate it, fold or tilt it, and attach them to the wheelchair. If there are removable parts such as a seat, backrest, wheels or footrests, you should remove them so that no one loses them along the way. You can carry these parts with you on the flight. They don’t count against your baggage allowance.
When your wheelchair is delivered to you at the other end, you should inspect it to make sure that there is no damage. If damage is evident, you can put in a claim with the airline.
It’s important to not let the challenges of traveling dampen your spirit. With just a few precautions taken, traveling in a wheelchair can be predictable and smooth.