August 3, 2011

Mobility Scooter Travel Tips - Part 3 - Air Travel

Today's post is the third in a five-part series on traveling with a mobility scooter. Click here for the first post on using an accessible travel agent and finding accessible lodging and click here for the second post on ground transportation travel tips.

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Air
Flying the blue skies will get you to your destination the quickest. Airline and airport personnel are fully equipped and trained to assist you as needed.
  • Review the airlines Contract of Carriage before booking your flight. Read the disability section carefully which informs of the airlines obligation to you upon purchasing a ticket.
  • Visit seatguru.com for plane seat maps. Use this website to determine the best seat to reserve before booking your flight.
  • Always try to get direct flights. If a transfer is necessary, it is easier for the airlines if you use their wheelchair and have your Amigo sent direct. Be sure to have your Amigo checked as "plane side" luggage so it will be delivered to you upon your arrival.
  • Inform the airline that you will need special assistance. When making reservations, make sure the service personnel know exactly what kind of assistance you will need. The more they know, the more they will be able to help you.
  • Airport accessibility. Call the airport ahead of time to determine which services are available to you.
  • Boarding. You may want to request a bulkhead seat, which allows more legroom, and may allow you to drive your Amigo directly to your seat. For easier transferring, request a seat with folding arms or removable armrests.
  • Transportation of batteries. Non-spillable, sealed batteries are approved for commercial airline travel by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). It is required that you take lithium batteries/battery-pack onboard as carry-on luggage. Amigo batteries are sealed lead acid or lithium-ion that are safe for airline travel. Acid batteries are not allowed on airplanes.
  • Special handling tags. If you travel frequently, it would be helpful to have a special handling tag that states special handling is required. Visit the support section of myamigo.com for a pre-designed tag. (Click here for a direct link.)

Navigating Airport Security
Security screening is required for all airline passengers. Your Amigo will be inspected first -- a mirror is often used to inspect underneath the platform -- followed by a series of questions regarding any recent maintenance (within the past 48 hours) of your Amigo. A TSA representative will then use a hand-wand and perform a security pat down. Upon passing the security screenings, drive through the metal detectors on your Amigo and you're on your way! If you are uncomfortable with these public screenings, feel free to request a private screening area.

We've discovered that everyone has a different experience when traveling by air these days! Do you have any helpful tips for airline travel? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post about cruising!



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