If you are passionate about traveling and seeing the world but have trouble walking or standing for a long period of time, an airline approved mobility scooter is a great solution for you. These types of scooters are important for a person who cannot go about their daily lives without having them in their possession. So to take it with them on a trip is important to maintain that quality life they are used to. These units have a range of advantageous qualities and can be easily folded and packed to take on a long or short trip. The question is, which mobility scooters are the best to take on an airplane?
Before we get into that, there are a few things you should know. Many people think there are many different battery types that you cannot travel on an airplane. The truth is, the only thing that matters is that your battery is non-spillable. That and certain types of lithium batteries as well. As a matter of fact, just about all mobility scooters come with non-spillable batteries. This type of battery does not contain water like an automotive battery.
You would be surprised, but it actually does not matter how big the mobility scooter is, although many are just too big to bring on the airline. With this type of battery, it allows gasses to disperse evenly throughout the battery container, making it safer. Lithium batteries are the only type of battery that cause the biggest issue.
According to the FAA any lithium battery for mobility purposes larger than 300 amps is not in compliance. We do not carry a mobility device that contains 300 amp hours between two batteries. Usually, the most you will ever see is maybe 200 Amp Hour at most. If your mobility scooter contains lithium ion batteries, you may want to consider buying a set of lead acid batteries that are non-spillable as a backup to be safe.
There are a wide variety of options available on the market, and it can get overwhelming to try and choose the one that meets your needs the best. For this reason, we have created this guide for buying the best mobility scooter which is airline approved and will perfectly satisfy your requirements.
So, below you will find some tips and advice on choosing the most appropriate model and what to look for and review before you buy a mobility scooter.
What to Pay Attention to When Buying a Mobility Scooter?
When shopping for a mobility scooter, there are a few vital things to look for and to take into account. Size, weight, safety features, comfort, controls, construction, and last, but not least, batteries. Under the conditions of traveling with a mobility scooter by airplane, batteries are one of the first things to take into consideration.
A mobility scooter usually consists of a metal platform with wheels, drive unit, and batteries. The controls and hand rests are situated at the front and, of course, a seat on the back. The primary materials used for a platform or a drive unit are typically steel, aluminum or fiberglass. Some models also come with a cover over the head and control panel. In terms of construction, three vital factors should be considered: size, turning radius and ground clearance. All these factors impact the maneuverability on the unit.
Safety and Comfort
The dimensions of the base unit are also important and should be taken into consideration to ensure that the scooter meets your needs. Your feet should be positioned comfortably and the controls should be easy to reach and use. It’s an essential factor for you if you are very tall or short. Majority of models come with adjustable seats and armrests, and some also have additional footrests for riders with longer legs or leg braces. Another safety feature you should consider is an anti-tip mechanism which helps preserve the stability of the wheels and the scooter going up inclines or taking sharp turns.
Front Wheel vs Rear Wheel Drive Models
Front wheel drive models are usually smaller and more maneuverable, but they are easy to transport. These types of scooters are recommended for indoor use. They are not as powerful as rear wheel models and go best on a smooth floor or flat pavement. Rear wheel drive models, on the other hand, are bigger and have a more powerful motor and a longer range. They can easily cope with the curbs and uneven pavements and fit the best for outdoor use. Although, due to the capacity, they are bigger, less maneuverable and harder to transport.
Front and rear wheel drive models have different braking systems. Rear wheel models generally have an electronic braking system which activates when pressure from controls is released. It means that whenever a unit isn’t moving forward or backward, the brakes are always active. Front wheel drive models don’t normally come with an electronic brake system but have a manual parking brake.
The majority of mobility scooters usually use either one or two batteries thus supplying 12 or 24 volts of an electric power system. Typically, front wheel drive is 12 volts while the rear wheel drive is 24. The scooter batteries can’t be substituted with auto batteries as their job is to provide a sustainable power, not just a starting burst.
The average lifespan of a battery is between twelve and eighteen months, and they can be charged and discharged on a regular basis. Batteries are usually the one thing that can be restricted by the airlines when you are traveling with a mobility scooter. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the model with a battery that is approved by FAA and any other international airline guidelines, depending on your preferred destination.
Remember that the rules for transporting batteries, or the devices that use the batteries, can differ from one airline to another that’s why we always recommend to reach out to your airline prior to bringing you unit with you to the airport.
Which Mobility Scooters Are Allowed on Board of a Plane?
Since the vast majority of devices started using lithium-ion batteries, the airlines and airplanes rules and regulations were forced to change and became more severe. There have been occasions when lithium or lithium-ion batteries were overheating and catching on fire, so the FAA and Airlines set particular restrictions.
However, any device that serves as a medical or mobility aid and are necessary for a passenger to have with them are allowed on board of an aircraft. The battery would have to be unattached from the unit and checked by the airline staff to ensure it’s allowed on board. Batteries are not allowed in check-in luggage, but there’s no problem for you to transport it in your carry-on bag. Also, the batteries should be properly packed.
You will need to protect any exposed terminals from a short circuit by covering it with tape, as an example. However, you should also keep in mind that some airports may have additional restrictions and regulations, so it’s recommended to consult with your airline to confirm the type of battery that you can travel with, which type is allowed at a particular airport and letting them know which type of battery you have and taking any other necessary actions to take your device on board.
Top Five Best Airline Approved Mobility Scooters
In this part of this buying guide, we have picked five of what we feel are the best mobility scooters that you can take on an airplane to make your search easier and give you a better understanding of the features and benefits of every model.
This is an extremely portable and easy to operate model with a glossy protective exterior. The scooter can be folded and unfolded in only 15 seconds controlled by a wireless key fob. For extra comfort, this scooter comes with an automatic folding seat and adjustable armrests that have additional padding.
Besides easily folding, this scooter has a lightweight, yet strong frame which can hold up to 300 lbs. The Zoome Auto-Flex also has a long battery range that can last up to 13 miles. For additional safety, the scooter comes with anti-tip wheels and front and rear reflectors to ensure a smooth and safe ride.
This is a lightweight fold-away mobility scooter providing a high level of comfort and easy portability. The scooter is airline approved and has comfort and safety features. With a top speed of 12 mph the EWheels EW-07 also gives you an impressive 15 mile battery range on a single charge.
It comes with front and rear brakes for safe and smooth travel in wet weather. A stylish aluminum frame can hold the weight up to 325 lbs, and a large padded seat provides a high level of comfort. This model is a great value for money and is made by one of the up and coming manufacturer's in the industry, EWheels.
This model is lightweight, folds up nicely, and is easily transportable so it can fit in your automobile trunk and comes with a hard shell carry case. The scooter is equipped with an ion-lithium battery and at the speed of 4 mph provides a driving range over 11 miles.
The Merits S542 Yoga has a strong aluminum frame with a weight capacity up to 250 lbs and adjustable steering tiller. The spring suspension system of the twin-front-wheels provides excellent stability on the sharp turns. This unit is lightweight and perfect for the traveler at heart.
This lightweight 3-wheel scooter is easy to transport and weighs only 34 lbs, due to the combination of carbon fiber and airplane-grade aluminum that it’s made from. The Atom Trike Scooter can go up to 7.7 mph and provides a battery range of 18-20 miles. Besides, recharging the battery takes only 4 hours, so you can use it all day long.
This scooter is highly maneuverable and can operate on many types of rough surfaces. The model can hold up to 300 lbs and has a low gravity center which makes it very stable and suitable for the majority of riders. Consider getting this model, because it does sell out fast. This unit is one of the lightest mobility scooters on the market today.
This is an airline-approved scooter that is easy to fold and operate. Folding it up is a snap, using a remote control with a single button push. The model is perfect for traveling on a plain surface such as a cruise ship floor or a train. It is a light unit with only 44 lbs of weight and 8.7 Ah lithium battery.
The scooter comes with an adjustable tiller and a dual hand throttle control and provides easy maneuverability. It’s compact and easily portable - it can easily fit in your car trunk. The scooter is one of the more popular units made by EV Rider. They generally sell out of these very fast, so act now if you are interested.
One of the newer models from the EWheels product line is the REMO. This is another automatic folding mobility scooter is receiving a lot of attention in the mobility industry. It comes with a remote fob that you can use to fold and unfold the unit with just the push of a button. It also offers a 13 mile battery range and a top speed of 5 mph, making it one of the faster folding units on the market today.
With its 300 lbs weight capacity and weighing just 59 lbs once the battery is removed, this is an ideal travel companion for someone who is always on the go. The REMO is an affordable unit that is easy to transport.
Perhaps one of the lightest mobility scooters on the market is the HandyScoot. The total weight of the unit is 42 lbs, however, once the seat is removed (9 lbs) and the battery is removed (4 lbs), the heaviest piece weighs just 29 lbs making it simple to transport. Despite its lightweight, don't be fooled by this 3 wheel unit. It is capable of handling up to 350 lbs of weight, offers a 15 mile battery range, and can reach speeds of up to 9 mph.
HandyScoot is a newer brand in the mobility scooter market, but is quickly becoming a favorite. This mobility aid ships directly from their headquarters in Santa Fe, NM and generally ships out within 24 hours.
Still unsure what type of folding mobility scooter you want? We have other resources that should be able to help you out. Check out our Top Folding Mobility Scooters For 2019 for our top picks.
We also have a special offer that you can benefit from by taking 5% off your order. Simply use code AIRLINE5 at checkout to receive the discount. The offer expires tonight so don't waste too much time! See product page for details, call us at (800) 682-9444 or email us at email@example.com.