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Thread: Should I take my chair to NYC?

  1. #1

    Should I take my chair to NYC?

    So here is my dilemma... I can walk for very short distances but most often use my chair is there is any standing, walking or even sitting in restaurants on hard chairs. I 'can' do these things but they are terribly painful if I don't use my chair.

    I also have a Service Dog that I use for non-mobility issues.

    So if I travel from CA to NYC my Service Dog will for sure be coming with me.

    But should I bring my chair or will it be too difficult to bring both?

    I just can't figure out every little detail of getting around with a wheelchair since I have never traveled with one before.

    I worry about the airport, airplane, taxis, access in NYC and so on...

    Should I be worried?
    Oli

  2. #2
    No, I wouldn't worry. I was just in NYC over the Thxgiving holiday, no issues getting around. You're biggest unknown is weather, not accessibility.

    I've traveled over 300,000 miles since my accident 11yrs ago. My best advice is to Plan, plan and plan as many potential scenarios / challenges you can. Everything from parking to diet, luggage to supplies you can never have too much detail, or communicate your needs enough (gate / flight attendant, taxi driver, etc.) especially on those first few trips.

    It gets easier with time (I can pack for a week in 1/2 hr) and practice. You'll figure it out step by step. Have a good trip.

    Onward & Upward,

    Chris

  3. #3
    Don't separate yourself from the chair as baggage when boarding. You, the SD and chair travel as a team, get your chair tagged at the gate so it'll be easier.
    Plan, plan, plan.
    Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

    I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.

  4. #4
    I am so clueless being a new chair user what to even plan for in advance.

    I think I understand that I should use the chair right up until I get on the plane? Is that right? So it is taken right at the plane and is safer?

    I am so sorry I am so clueless. Is there a good website where I can learn about what to expect as far is taxis and trains and planes and so on...?

    Oli

  5. #5
    Ride your chair to the gate. Ask for a "gate check" tag when you check in for your flight. They will take you down to the plane in your chair. Then you can walk or get an isle chair to get you to your seat.
    The process will be reversed on exit of the plane.
    There is a separate line for security for disabled. Look for it or ask.
    Wear shoes that you can take off easy.
    Read the TSA stuff on what you can and can't take on the plane.
    Let the airline know ahead of time that you have a service dog and bring documentation to prove it.
    Carry meds with you on the plane and sit on your cushion for comfort.
    Same when you go in restaurant, shows, take your cushion and let them know about your dog, if you need the comfort.
    Walking a dog in NYC is a chore. They have laws about not picking up after them.
    You're going to need warm clothes and a couple pair of gloves for the weather in NY. You might also think about a towel in a plastic bag to wipe down your chair wheels and the dogs paws.

  6. #6
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    I've been so worried about traveling with a chair that I haven't done any in the 16 years I've used one. I am building my confidence though and I am planning to get an Icon manual chair that when broken down can be as small as 16"x16", I'm told. Even if it doesn't get that small, it should be small enough to take with me anywhere I go. The wheels will be a bigger problem than the frame.

    My biggest concerns have been being physically exhausted from getting through the airport and on and off the plane, having my chair lost, losing my meds while traveling.

    At some point I will just take the chance and hopefully, like most things, it will be a lot easier than I expect. Good luck Oli and my advice is if you even think you need the chair, bring it. Needing it and not having it could be pretty bad.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Chappell View Post
    . . . I was just in NYC over the Thxgiving holiday, no issues getting around. . .
    And you didn't call?!?

  8. #8
    I am also worried about handing off my chair to have them put it wherever they put it on the plane. I am terrified of it getting damaged.

    I could never replace the chair if it is lost or damaged as I had to pay for it out of pocket.

    I am also worried about how it works with taxis. Would I have to take the chair apart and put it in the trunk each time? (it's a ridged chair)

    Oli

  9. #9
    Deep breaths.

    People fly with wheelchairs (especially manual wheelchairs) every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oli View Post
    I am also worried about handing off my chair to have them put it wherever they put it on the plane. I am terrified of it getting damaged.

    I could never replace the chair if it is lost or damaged as I had to pay for it out of pocket.
    Could happen. If it does, the airline will be required to replace or repair it. The normal liability limits for carry on and checked luggage do not apply. While it is being replaced or repaired you are, of course, up the creek. The airline is required to supply a temporary wheelchair, but it will be a piece of shit depot chair.

    You can limit the possibility of loss or damage by:

    * removing everything removable. On my chair, that's the cushion and the underseat bag. On some chairs, that's armrests, leg thingies, I don't know what all. You do this at the door of the plane, just before you hand your chair to the baggage handler.
    * have a good solid (metal) tag with your name, address and phone number on it.
    * double check the gate check tag you will be given. It should have your name, your flight number, and your destination on it.

    You should also read the Air Carrier Access Act, understand what a CRO is, and how and when to contact one should something happen to your chair. I've had my chair damaged (not irreparably, and not so that I couldn't use it immediately) twice by an airline, out of, I don't know, hundreds of flights.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oli View Post
    I am also worried about how it works with taxis. Would I have to take the chair apart and put it in the trunk each time? (it's a ridged chair)
    Taxis in NYC is a whole 'nother ball game. Assuming you can get one, and it's a regular sedan, yes, you or someone will probably have to pull the wheels off. The taxi driver should put the wheels and rigid frame in the trunk, or you can put them in the back seat next to you assuming luggage and dog are not taking up all the space. There are wheelchair-accessible taxis (ie, vehicles that you can get into in your chair, without taking it apart), but only a couple hundred for the whole city, so getting one of those is probably not very realistic.

    ETA: Search here at CareCure for many, many threads about flying with a rigid manual chair. Also come over to the Disability Travel forum at FlyerTalk (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/disability-travel-224/) and do the same.

  10. #10
    LOL @ Stephen..didn't have ur number otherwise we could've hooked up for a beer..

    Oli - there's probably been 20-30 threads over the years highlighting the details of all kinds of travel. Try the search bar above, type in accessible travel and/or different combinations and you should get a ton of info probably answering a majority of your questions.

    Like with many topics discussed here at CC over the last 10-11yrs there is a lot to dive into and read, read, read.. Don't worry too much, the airlines, transport companies & hotels have, for the most part, pretty good experience and familiarity. The key, I find, to a successful and enjoyable trip is communication, detail, fore-thought and as small a suitcase as possible..

    Keep asking questions. The more specific the better. Good luck.


    Onward & Upward,

    Chris

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