Anyone who has flown with a wheelchair knows that it requires advance planning to make the process easier. The good news, there have been improvements in the travel space in recent years.
Last year in the U.S., there were 743 complaints to the Department of Transportation related to disabilities. The total number of complaints? About 15,000. Now, when you consider that wheelchair users represent just a fraction of air travelers, that number—while statistically low— could still be better. Airlines often deal with limited staff, which can mean long wait times getting off the plane or through the airport. So alert the airline at least 48 hours in advance that you’ll need assistance.
Most airlines can store at least one collapsible wheelchair on board, but on a first-come, first-serve basis. Otherwise, you’ll have to gate check.
One new product out there is Morph Wheels, which makes foldable wheels. That’s right, I mean the actual wheels fold so small they can fit in the overhead bin.
No matter what type of chair you have, remove all detachable parts before your wheelchair is stored, and label everything with your name and address and destination airport.
For more information, wheelchair travel tips visit the accessible travel archives.
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