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Thread: need advice about flying

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Summerhill, Pa

    need advice about flying

    My husband and I would like to attend our sons graduation next May. He lives in Fresno Ca. We would be flying out of Pittsburg Pa.
    Joe is a quad and sits in a permobil chair.
    Has anyone else ever traveled by plane that is a high level quad?
    How did you do it? How did you transfer to a plane seat? I do stand-pivot with Joe and I am concerned if I would be able to do this on a plane. And will he be able to tolerate the long ride? What would they do with his chair?
    Any information would be helpful. Thanks

  2. #2
    There are many older threads on this forum about flying in a chair. I would first suggest doing a search in this forum using the words "flying" or "plane" and see what you find.

    Can you fly into Fresno on a full-sized plane? Be sure you are not booked on anything smaller than 32 seats (ie, commuter jet). These are not at all accessible and the airlines have no obligation to help you on a plane smaller than 20 seats. You need a full sized jet (737 or larger). Don't purchase your ticket until you find this out. You will also want to get the fewest number of connections possible.

    If you cannot get a full sized jet flight into Fresno or Bakersfield, you may need to fly into LA and rent a van to drive up into the Central Valley (about 4 hours to Fresno from LA).

    There is rarely enough room to do a quad pivot transfer in an airplane unless you have bulkhead seats (which they are not required to give you unless you cannot bend your knees). This is difficult even in first class. Be sure you are booked into an aisle with lift-up armrests. The airlines or airport staff will lift him into an aisle chair at the door to the plane. The wheelchairs (take both your power and manual chairs) should be gate checked to your next airport (be sure you get them at any connecting airports). Take the power chair control, backpack, cushion and any other removable parts off as part of your carry-on luggage. The staff will take the aisle chair to the correct row on the plane and then lift him into his aisle seat (don't book a middle or window seat). To avoid having him lifted painfully by his arms (training is poor), I recommend putting a gait belt tightly around his chest and another tightly around both thighs (together). You will need to be in charge of directing the lift using these straps. He should sit on his wheelchair cushion. Also keep an eye on his feet while on the aisle is easy to get them caught or banged. Be sure all safety straps are used. He will be first on, last off, so be sure your connection time is more than one hour to change planes without being too rushed.

    Here are a couple resources:


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