Your mobility scooter is a lifesaving device as it enables you to move around from place to place. When you have to fly to another destination, your mobility scooter can go with. All you need is to plan ahead of time. Consider the following 10 handy tips when flying with a mobility scooter.
Tip #1: Book Your Mobility Scooter Early
All airlines are not equipped to allow the transportation of your mobility scooter on their carriers without prior notification. Therefore, it is wise to plan in advance. Make sure to book your flight by using the customer service line. In this way you can clearly notify them that you are planning on bringing a mobility scooter on board.
They might ask for additional information such as the weight, make and battery type of your scooter, in order for them to safely store it for the duration of the flight.
Tip #2: Acquaint Yourself with Airline Rules
Visit the Airline’s website and acquaint yourself with their rules. There you will find information on what is required to take a wheelchair or mobility scooter on board an aircraft. Some aircraft have a form you must fill in and take with you. Prior to filling in you have to know a few of your mobility device’s specifications. Things like the weight of the device, the measurements, the type of battery etc. When filling make sure to read carefully so as not to check on boxes that have the word wheelchair, otherwise you might end up with the wrong mobility unit upon getting off the plane.
Tip #3: Check Your Batteries
If your mobility scooter contains a lithium and dry cell or non-spill battery, there is really no problem as those can remain within the scooter when flying. However, the spill type of battery, also called a wet cell battery must be checked. Make sure you know which type of battery you have in your mobility scooter ahead of time.
Airlines may affix a little sticker to the battery when you check in. You want to make sure that your battery is fully charged before you go on the trip and that you have packed your battery charger for emergency charging.
Tip #4: Take a Photo of Your Scooter
Take a photo of your scooter right before you book it in as proof of its general condition. This will also act as proof should there be any dents and scratches after you pick it up at your destination. Since the photos are time and date stamped, they can serve as evidence in case you need to make a claim against the airline.
Tip #5: Get TSA Pre-Check
If you do not have TSA Pre-Check, now is a good time to get it. Having it will save you tons of time and problems at the airport. TSA Pre-Check’s 5-year membership plan costs $85 and will help you move through security much quicker, without the hassles of removing belts, shoes, liquids, or light jackets. All you have to do is apply online and go through a 10-minute interview, after which you will get a KTN, which stands for Known Traveler Number. This number gets on your boarding pass and ticket.
Should you be flying internationally, it is better to get Global Entry. It costs $100 for a 5-year membership and includes TSA Pre-Check, as well as expedited access when returning to the US.
Tip #6: Remember the Keys
Keep your scooter key with you so that it does not get lost or your mobility scooter does not get turned on by accident while in flight. Make sure to show the attendant how to turn on the neutral switch, in order to be able to move the scooter manually.
Tip #7: Come Insured
Any damage to your mobility scooter might not get fully covered, therefore insurance is important. It is common sense that should your mobility scooter become damaged while en route, you would need to be compensated. However, it might be that the compensation you get might not be a like-for-like compensation. It could either cover for a wheelchair that is not to your liking or be limited to a fixed maximum amount. Therefore, additional insurance might be needed.
Tip #8: Check for Baggage Allowance
Find out ahead of time if the mobility scooter will count towards free baggage allowance. If it does you will have to make sure that the weight of the unit and your luggage complies with requirements. Some airlines provide separate allowance for the mobility scooter, counting it as odd sized baggage and thus placed separately from the other luggage.
Tip #9: Things Are Different Abroad
While the standards in the US and across the EU might be fairly normal, it might be a completely different ball game outside these areas. Therefore, it is important that you thoroughly plan the whole journey, including things such as the availability of taxis to carry your mobility scooter.
Tip #10: Your Destination Might Not Be Scooter Friendly
Depending on where in the world you are about to go, it could be that a mobility scooter is an everyday common sight or a completely new thing to behold. The streets might have potholes, there might be tons of stairs, and traffic laws might be very different than what you’re used to. Thus, make sure that your mobility scooter is in an area where it can be secured safely.
Flying to another destination as a mobility scooter user can be a hassle, or a blessing. Depending on how well prepared you’re tackling the journey. These 10 tips will remain tips if you do not act upon them prior to travelling.
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Visit our blog to read informative articles on mobility scooter maintenance at Top 5 Mobility Scooter Issues And How To Fix Them and what to look for when shopping for an electric wheelchair at The Anatomy of A Great Electric Wheelchair.
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