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Thread: Should I have done anything else? (1st time flyer, broken chair)

  1. #1

    Should I have done anything else? (1st time flyer, broken chair)

    I flew for the first time w/my chair (previously crutched) this week. First way was great, arrived home to a broken cross frame. I filed a report, Ti-lite charged my card for my new chair 2days previously (fates REALLY telling me I need my Ti-lite)!
    I'm nervous to fly when my Tilite arrives, and have another trip planned in May. Rigid means I have to gate check it right? It's one thing for this to happen to my beater Invacare, my Tilites a Porsche in comparison, any tricks to keep it that way?
    Thank you for your expertise!!!
    -IG

  2. #2
    Almost Every time I flew a plane my chair got -ucked up. It's been like 10 times. 6 times with a rigid manual and 4 times with power.

    People don't give a crap that you use it every day and can't live without it.
    C5/C6 Complete since 08/22/09

  3. #3
    I'm not sure what kind of chairs are getting broken, but I've probably gone on 12-15 flights since my injury and my chair has never been damaged. I've pretty much only flown with a TiLite ZRA which I ride up to the plane and I don't do anything special to try and protect it (just tighten down the side guards because they've fallen off before and try to remember to take my cushion with me.

    I feel like it would take an extraordinary amount of abuse to damage a rigid manual chair, I guess it might get scraped up if tossed from the plane onto the tarmac, but otherwise I can't possibly imagine a heavy enough load piled on top of my chair or violent enough turbulence that would cause people's suitcases to damage my chair. Maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Domosoyo's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about that. Sometimes no matter what you do, some stooge is going to make a mistake. We haven't flown with the manual yet but when flying with the powerchair we check the aircraft flown for the route we are considering. Too short of a cargo door and the powerchair will be loaded on its side. Not good. Most of MD's are bad news for powerchairs MD90, MD80 for example. We also attach a laminated instruction sheet....IKEA style with pictures and no words. You can even download the sheet at some airline sites.

    We found this site that has a lot of great info including how to make that paper trail for a damaged chair:
    https://wheelchairtravel.org/air-travel/

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ImpossibleGirl View Post
    I flew for the first time w/my chair (previously crutched) this week. First way was great, arrived home to a broken cross frame. I filed a report, Ti-lite charged my card for my new chair 2days previously (fates REALLY telling me I need my Ti-lite)!
    I'm nervous to fly when my Tilite arrives, and have another trip planned in May. Rigid means I have to gate check it right? It's one thing for this to happen to my beater Invacare, my Tilites a Porsche in comparison, any tricks to keep it that way?
    Thank you for your expertise!!!
    -IG
    I fly monthly and I to never have issues and I fly with a power chair and during the summer sometimes fly with two...a power chair daily and a sand beach x5.

    Its very important that you check in with the ground crew before you fly and let them know how to load and break down your chair.

    Have the ramp supervisor meet you at the jet way and he can take the chair once you transfer.

    Have them come back up and notifies you once its loaded also.

    When you land double and triple check to make sure its OK. If its broken go to the baggage claim customer service for the airline your flying at the airport and put in a claim.

    The airlines by law have to repair it and if its broken to the point of not using while your out of town will get you a replacement at no charge.

    I would still call the airline or go back to the airport and talk to them.

  6. #6
    Sorry, just saw these replies. I'm glad to know it's a fluke, way to get my fluke out of the way with an old chair then? I've since read your flying posts RollPositive, thank you.I will make sure I hand off only to ramp supervisor, thank you, I try not to make a fuss, constantly apologizing for taking time, I've yet to "own" my space/time in my chair. Southwest is attempting to fix my chair, and gave me a loaner, they're making this right. I'm just glad this happened when I got home, not there. My daughters are Cheerleaders and we travel as a team around the country. To split us up so I can get to a DME at destination would be super hectic, however I'll try to pad enough time in our schedule to allow for it in the future if needed. I've traveled with forarm crutches 10+ years, there's comfort in knowing your gear is right above you, lol. I'll definitely print out IKEA directions too. Didn't think one could screw up a folder, but, Murphy's Law is the only one I follow!
    -IG

  7. #7
    I fly a lot and in the last 6 years flying w/ a chair I have only had one major issue where delta managed to break the Carbon Fiber camber tube of my Zra in half.
    They offered a replacement chair (declined I had one at home), 300 dollar travel voucher (accepted) and took my chair to get it repaired. All in all Delta handled it as best as I would expect from a big ass company.

    I have never contacted a ramp supervisor but nothing in my chair needs to get broken down (if I had a power chair like RP I would be much more proactive). Even though for a lot of people (especially the first couple of times you fly with a wheelchair) its a big event, airlines deal with it a lot, so in my opinion a lot of people over stress about it.

    When I travel I don't do anything special other than remove my cushion and take it on the plane while boarding. Gate check, leave the wheels and since I know I have taken over 100 flights since my accident, less than a 1% chance of your chair getting so damaged you can't use it. on Last flight I took they put a serious scratch in the back of my ADI CF backrest but I didn't notice it till a couple days later so have done nothing.


    I do suspect that at some point the airlines managed to bend the spokes on my Round Betty Dino wheels, so my only travel concession is I fly with Spinergy LX wheels (under the maybe mistaken belief that the Spinergy spokes are more tolerant of getting shit piled on the spokes)

  8. #8
    I've only had a chair damaged when I put my racer in a crate. Since then I just had them the chairs, but I take pictures of the chair from different angles in case it comes back damaged.

  9. #9
    When you take your car to the garage for even just an oil change, the service writer walks around the car and notes any dings or scratches, scraps and dents on a generic drawing of a car, then has you sign in recognition that these blemishes exist on your vehicle. I wonder if the airlines have ever thought to do something like that to protect their liability.

  10. #10
    On my last leg (ironically) the counter did this, walked around my 16+ beater, not sure what she wrote down, and I commented, "It's so dinged up I wouldn't notice the damage". When it arrived and wouldn't unfold because under frame was broken I hit myself for tempting fate! When I went into the baggage office I told them what was (obviously) broken and that I came w/the paint chips etc.
    Ikes, my new baby will have Round Betty's, spares are Shadows...not exactly Spinergy...

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