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Thread: Power chairs and airplane cabin check

  1. #1

    Power chairs and airplane cabin check

    Can power chairs be checked into the cabin of planes, on board, as with some manual chairs?

    I've never had my manual kept on board, but tagged and stored (wherever they store them). My power chair is about as compact as some manuals, so if I can keep it in board, it would be preferred rather than having staff attempt to fuss with it, especially since taking battery charger and it being too heavy to take as carry on seperately.

    I'm more concerned about a power chair and others' handling it than a manual chair.

    Any feedback is appreciated. THANKS!
    Last edited by chick; 11-01-2005 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #2
    The Air Carrier Access Act dictates:

    Wheelchairs (including collapsible battery-powered wheelchairs) and other assistive devices have priority for in-cabin storage space (including in closets) over other passengers’ items brought on board at the same airport, if the passenger with a disability chooses to preboard.
    If your power wheelchair truly is compact, there may be room available in the cabin closet. Also, medical aids and devices have priority over other carry-ons and do not count towards your carry-on limit.
    C5 injury with partial C6 function on left.

  3. #3
    If you want that closet space, be prepared to fight for it. The air host/esses like to put their luggage there.

  4. #4

    Wink

    Bethany,

    You are soooo right. However, with a little tact, a smile and a copy of the ADA act in my handbag (just in case), I've been able to get my guy's w/chair in that closet. Some flight attendants are quite accommodating. Others just hate giving up their space where they hide their carry ons to the paying customers...imagine that with the financial shape of most airlines. Anyway, we only ran into one flight attendant who was determined that we weren't going to use her closet. After mentioning to her that she surely hadn't heard about the ADA, she begrudgingly changed her mind. 3 hours into the flight she began smiling at us and by the end of the flight, we were buddies. This was with a manual chair. We haven't flown with his power chair but would like to do so.

  5. #5
    The catch is, there is only room for 1 wc in the closet or other space (that is all the ACAA mandates). If there is more than one person on board with a wc, then you pretty much have to fight for the space.

    OK, you pretty much have to fight for the space any time, but more so when there is more than one wc.

    I say "other space", because several airlines fly aircraft that do not have enough room in the closet (or do not have a closet) so they will (theoretically) block a row of seats for wc-storage. That's what is says on paper, but I've not seen any of them do it.

    Oh yes and in order to get the "priority stowage of wc in the cabin" you must pre-board the aircraft and (if you have a power wc) check in one hour prior to the flight.

    In reality, the feedback I get from readers is that they get to stow their power wcs on-board maybe about 40% of the time (slightly lower than for manual wcs). It really depends on the crew, and if the flight is running on time or not.

    Good luck,

    Candy

    Candy Harrington
    Editor, Emerging Horizons
    http://www.EmergingHorizons.com
    The only accessible travel magazine
    Read my blog at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com
    Candy Harrington
    Editor, Emerging Horizons
    The Only Accessible Travel Magazine
    www.EmergingHorizons.com
    Read my blog - www.BarrierFreeTravels.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clipper's Avatar
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    I've traveled on most aircraft types and U.S. airlines and never - not once - has my rigid manual chair been able to fit in the onboard closet, no matter what I remove. Most of the time, the depth of the closet is the issue. I'd imagine the same would be true for a power chair.

    You have a Quickie P-222, right? I do too. I doubt your chair would fit onboard, unfortunately. Airlines will not block a row of seats to stow a wheelchair. Even if they had the space to do so, there's no way to properly secure the chair and the airline would be in violation of FAA regs.

  7. #7
    Hi Chick,,,,

    I can tell you about my experiece of 4 x's flying in the last 3 yrs. My first time I only had a manual chair and it was stowed underneath. On my next 3 flights I took my powerchair[was in it], and took my manual too. Both were stowed underneath.

    I was definitely on edge about trusting my power chair into the hands/mercy of others-----But did so. Right before I was transfered onto the isle chair, ''with a 'smile' yet assertive and a serious concern''; I expressed the essentialness/vitalness to the flight attendent my concern.

    Also, while sitting/strapped on isle chair I asked a/the receptive attendent ''who'' would be taking my chair down. [Usually the baggage handler] arrives while you're transfering. I then politely yet assertively with a ''Smile'' ask him to, ''please Sir/Big guy, please take care of the chair,,,Thank you very much.''

    Smiles, Please, Thank you,,,, I believe are Huge tools.

    If you want, contact me, I'll explain more clear/detailed.

    Hope it helps,,,,,,, Freej

  8. #8

    Thanks everyone!

    Thanks for the feedback

    Lewis, Candra, or anyone...
    Do you have a copy or link to where that guideline is?

    Freej, yes... smile, ALWAYS (btw, email comin.. sorry!!)

    Clipper, yep, I have a Q-p222. It is fairly compact but probably too long in depth for closet. I understand that collapsible power chairs might be fit into closet but mine is rigid.

    My main concern is in staff not being able to manipulate the power chair and do something funky to it, especially since the 'engage/disengage' lever on bottom sides can be confusing for most and difficult to set/position. The lever can get sticky.

    Also, is I assume it is best to take battery charger on board as carry-on 'medical device'?

    In my manual, I usually roll into cabin and they lift me to seat. Is this what they do with someone in power chair also, given room to navigate?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Clipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chick
    Do you have a copy or link to where that guideline is?
    Air Carrier Access Act: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/382SHORT.htm

    My main concern is in staff not being able to manipulate the power chair and do something funky to it, especially since the 'engage/disengage' lever on bottom sides can be confusing for most and difficult to set/position. The lever can get sticky.
    Tape directions all over your chair, with arrows pointing to things like the release levers. Also, direct airline personnel not to attempt to carry your chair down the jetway stairs.

    Also, is I assume it is best to take battery charger on board as carry-on 'medical device'?
    Absolutely.

    In my manual, I usually roll into cabin and they lift me to seat. Is this what they do with someone in power chair also, given room to navigate?
    You'll likely have to get into an aisle chair first. It's a narrow chair with straps that cross over your shoulders like an X. That'll get you to your seat. If your chair can fit, then no aisle chair will be needed.

  10. #10
    Candy Harrington
    Editor, Emerging Horizons
    The Only Accessible Travel Magazine
    www.EmergingHorizons.com
    Read my blog - www.BarrierFreeTravels.com

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