Flying can be a daunting prospect for people with mobility challenges.
You’re in a crowded airport, with long lines and often an overwhelming amount of activity around you.
Maybe you have difficulties standing for long periods of time? Or you need a wheelchair at all times?
And we’re just talking about the airport, what about the actual airplane? Getting into your seat can be challenging, especially if your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair isn’t built specifically for airline travel.
To make things even more complicated, airlines have their own policies for what types of mobility chairs you can and can’t take on board.
However, living with a mobility challenge doesn't mean you have to give up your travel dreams. With a little bit of knowledge, you’ll see that traveling by air is well within your reach… and you can enjoy every moment of your journey!
Did you know that policies for airline approved scooters (AAS) vary by airline? Each airline has its own set of rules and regulations governing the transport of mobility devices.
In an effort to make travel easier for those with mobility challenges, we've compiled a list of the top 8 US airlines and their wheelchair policies.
In this guide, we’re going to look deeper into the exact airline approved scooter and electric wheelchair policies of the top 8 US airlines.
So, before you book your next flight, be sure to check out this important information!
Let’s dig in!
What Most Airline Approved Electric Scooters Policies Have In Common
When it comes to bringing an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter onto an airplane, there are two main concerns with the airlines:
- The size of the chair
- The type of battery being used
The size of the chair matters because they need to store the chair on the airplane. If the chair is heavy and large, it will require more effort to secure in the luggage compartment.
The type of battery is important because mobility chair batteries have on rare occasions caught on fire. While this is extremely rare, naturally, airlines don’t want this happening during their flights. Most of the time, they will ask you to disconnect the battery and store it as carry-on luggage.
Best Mobility Scooter For Air Travel
As a general rule, the more compact the mobility chair, the easier it will be to travel with.
As an example, some folding mobility scooters fit in a storage compartment in the passenger cabin, while larger and heavier, electric wheelchairs would not.
Also, when you can safely remove the battery from the chair, it makes it much easier (and safer) to travel with. In many cases, passengers can store their battery in the overhead storage compartment.
Airlines Are Prohibited From Charging You Extra For Scooters On Planes
Quite simply, The Department of Transportation has banned airlines from charging you extra for stowing your motorized wheelchair, like they might do with your luggage.
Extra Assistance While At The Airport & When Entering & Exiting The Aircraft
Just like with anyone in a manually operated wheelchair, people in motorized wheelchairs and scooters will get special assistance, both during and after their flights.
Top 8 US Airlines & Their Mobility Scooter Policies
#1: Mobility Scooters on American Airlines
American Airlines takes great care of their passengers with mobility challenges. Not only do they offer pre-boarding and deplaning assistance… they will also help you navigate around the airport, ensuring your journey is as comfortable as it gets!
However, when it comes to battery operated mobility devices, you’ll want to contact their Special Assistance department to make sure the battery type is approved for travel and for any other special assistance travel requests.
Reaching out to them well ahead of your flight date is recommended, especially if you are traveling during a busy time period.
Here are some tips from the American Airlines website:
- Be sure your equipment is clearly labeled with your name, address and phone number.
- Write down the make, model, serial number and note any normal wear and tear.
- Write down any safe-handling and disassembly instructions and attach to your device.
- Plan to arrive at your departure gate 1 hour before scheduled departure.
- Check with the gate agent to get a gate delivery tag and attach it to your equipment before boarding.
- When you arrive at your final destination look over your equipment to make sure it’s in good and working condition before leaving the airport.
- Notify the gate agent or baggage service office if you notice any damage.
To send your special assistance request online: Submit a special assistance request
To call them directly: Contact Special Assistance
#2: Mobility Scooters on Delta Air
Delta Air allows its passengers to bring all types of personal wheelchairs, including folding, collapsible, non-folding manual and electric/battery-powered wheelchairs, electric-powered carts and scooters, one additional wheelchair battery, crutches, braces or other prosthetic devices.
Like most airlines, they need advance notice that you will be bringing an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter onto their plane. Letting them know at least 48 hours in advance is preferable, but you cannot go wrong in giving them more time to prepare.
They also ask that you check in at the ticket counter at least one hour ahead of departure if you need to check any battery-powered equipment, giving them enough time to ensure your equipment meets all federal “dangerous goods” handling requirements.
To send your special assistance request online: Submit a special assistance request
To call them directly: 404-209-3434
#3: Mobility Scooters on United Airlines
United Airlines requires you to give them 48 hours advance notice if you’re bringing a powered wheelchair onto their flights. They also require you to check in an hour earlier than your scheduled departure time, so they will have plenty of time to review your chair and confirm everything is approved for flying.
United accepts all types of wheelchairs and scooters, including folding, collapsible, non-folding, manual or powered.
While they are not allowed to charge extra for your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter, excess, oversized and/or overweight baggage charges may apply for checking additional wheelchair(s) that are used for recreational purposes.
To call them directly: 1-800-228-2744 within the United States or Canada
#4: Mobility Scooters on Southwest Airlines
Each Southwest airplane has a specially designed wheelchair storage compartment for in-cabin stowage of at least one standard-size, adult, collapsible wheelchair.
However, it’s important to understand that this compartment is available on a first-come, first-served basis. If this compartment is occupied or the wheelchair can't fit, it will be stowed safely in the luggage hold of the plane.
Likewise, if you want to bring an extra battery with you onto the airplane, you must check your spare battery as checked baggage.
To send your special assistance request online: Submit a special assistance request
To call them directly: 1-800-435-9792
#5: Mobility Scooters on Alaska Airlines
Like most airlines, Alaska Airlines requests that you let them know ahead of time about your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter. If you haven’t booked your flight yet, then while booking online, you can request extra wheelchair assistance. Or, you can simply give them a call and their dedicated accessible services will help you out.
When flying with Alaska Airlines, you can also take advantage of their unique self-service wheelchair program. Basically, your own companion (traveling or not) can borrow a wheelchair to assist you from the ticket counter to your boarding gate, rather than utilize an airport wheelchair escort.
Please note, this service is only available at the following airports:
- Albuquerque (ABQ)
- Anchorage (ANC)
- Boston (BOS)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
- Kahului/Maui (OGG)
- Kona (KOA)
- Lihue (LIH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Orlando (MCO)
- San Jose, CA (SJC)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Washington – Dulles (IAD)
To call them directly: 1-800-503-0101
#6: Mobility Scooters on JetBlue Airways
With JetBlue Airways, they certainly go above and beyond with their mobility and wheelchair assistance services.
At the ticket counter, they provide assistance from the curb to the aircraft. They will also help you with your connecting flight, baggage claim and curbside pickup.
Like the other big airlines, they require you to let them know 48 hours in advance if you need wheelchair assistance. With most airplanes having a single storage locker in the passenger cabin… it’s usually a first come, first serve situation with electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters. For any additional mobility chairs, they will need to be stored in the luggage hold.
When booking your flight, you can speed up the process by selecting the “wheelchair service request” or “special service request” option before purchasing your tickets.
To call them directly: By phone (free) 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583)
#7: Mobility Scooters on Spirit Airlines
When possible, Spirit Airlines will load and stow your mobility chair in an upright position. Of course, this all depends on the size of your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter.
If you’re traveling with a battery-powered wheelchair or other mobility aid, then plan to arrive at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time to help ensure proper handling is accomplished… especially if you’re traveling during a busy time period or holiday.
Spirit Airlines also requests that you fill out their Mobility Aid Information form to provide airport representatives with assembly/disassembly instructions, and any other helpful information about your device and its battery. You’ll find a link on their information page below.
For more ways to contact their special assistance customer service department: Click here
To call them directly: 855-728-3555
#8: Mobility Scooters on Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines accepts all wheelchairs and mobility devices as checked baggage in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. These items are not counted as part of a passenger's baggage allowance and baggage charges do not apply.
They have also designated priority space in the passenger cabin of all Airbus aircrafts for stowage of one wheelchair or mobility device, but like all of the other airlines… this spot is delegated on a first come, first serve basis.
Furthermore, federal regulations require batteries to be disconnected from their device unless your chair has an effective design to prevent unintentional activation.
To request special assistance online: Click here
To call them directly: 801-401-9004
Want An Airline Approved Electric Wheelchair Or Mobility Scooter? Here’s Our Top 7 Mobility Scooters Already Pre-Approved By The Major Airlines
EV Rider Transport AF+ Deluxe Folding Electric Scooter
A mobility scooter can be a great asset for those who have trouble getting around.
However, mobility scooters can be difficult to transport from one location to another. They are often too heavy to lift into a vehicle, and many models cannot be disassembled for easy storage.
The EV Rider Transport AF+ is the perfect solution for people who want the mobility of a scooter without the hassle of transportation.
This mobility scooter folds up easily, so it can be stored in the trunk of a car or in a closet. It is also airline approved, so you can take it with you on a plane or cruise ship.
Whether you're looking for an easy way to get around town or want a mobility scooter that can go with you on your travels, the EV Rider Power Chairs are the perfect choice.
EV Rider Transport AF 4W Folding Mobility Scooter
With the new EV Rider Transport AF 4W scooter, you'll have mobility and style all in one!
This sleek new scooter offers increased stability with a 4-wheel design, as well as a tight turning radius and powerful LED headlights. You can choose from a variety of colors to match your personality.
Plus, the automatic folding feature makes it easy to take with you on the go.
Whether you're running errands or cruising around town, the EV Rider Transport AF 4W scooter is perfect for getting around in style!
V8 iLiving Foldable Electric Mobility Scooter
The iLiving USA V8 mobility scooter is one of the lightest folding mobility scooters on the market, and it's simple to operate and transport.
This 3-wheel unit is perfect for people who want to stay active and mobile. It's also a great choice for those who need a mobility chair that's easy to fold and store.
The V8 has a top speed of 8 miles per hour and a range of up to 12 miles, so you can go anywhere you need to go.
It also features a comfortable seat, LED headlights, and rearview mirrors.
Order your iLiving power scooter today and start enjoying the freedom of mobility!
SmartScoot Portable Travel 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter
If you're looking for a mobility solution that is both lightweight and easy to transport, then the SmartScoot portable travel 3-wheel scooter is the perfect choice for you.
This unique scooter folds down to a compact size, making it perfect for taking on the go.
Whether you're headed to the store or going on vacation, the SmartScoot mobility scooter is the perfect way to get around.
With a long-lasting battery and a sturdy design, this scooter can handle anything you throw at it. Plus, it has a large weight capacity.
So why wait? Get the mobility solution that is perfect for you with the SmartScoot today!
FreeRider USA Luggie Classic 4 Wheel Foldable Travel Scooter
If you're looking for an affordable mobility solution, the Freerider Luggie Classic Folding Travel Scooter is a great option. It's compact and easy to fold, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
And with 25 years of experience, Freerider is a company you can trust. Their mobility chairs are reliable and offer a smooth ride, so you can feel confident that you're getting a great product.
So, if you're in the market for an affordable mobility solution, the Freerider Luggie Classic is worth considering.
Drive Medical ZooMe Auto-Flex Folding Travel Scooter
The ZooMe Auto-Flex folding travel scooter has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is great for bigger people who have trouble walking or need assistance getting around.
The long battery range means you can ride this scooter for hours without having to worry about recharging, and the smooth ride is perfect for anyone who wants a comfortable way to get around.
Whether you're looking for a mobility chair to take on vacation or just want an easy way to get around your neighborhood, a Drive Medical mobility scooter is a great option.
Enhance Mobility Solax Transformer 4-Wheel Scooter
Are you looking for a mobility scooter that's easy to fold and pack away? Then you need the Enhance Mobility Solax Transformer 4-Wheel scooter.
With just the push of a button, this foldable mobility scooter will fold into a compact shape that's easy to lift into the trunk of a vehicle.
This top-selling Enhance Mobility Scooter is perfect for those who are always on the go. It's also lightweight, making it easy to transport from one location to another.
Whether you're traveling by car, train, or plane, the Solax Transformer is the perfect mobility solution for you.
Traveling with an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of knowledge and by following the guidelines set forth by your airline, you can enjoy every moment of your journey.
The good news is there are many options available which are pre-approved by the major airlines. Not only are these chairs safe for travel, but you won’t have to worry about any delays or issues with storing your mobility chair on the plane.
We even have a product page specifically for best folding travel scooters here.
So, what are you waiting for? Get packing!
The world is waiting to be explored. Just don’t forget to bring your airline approved scooter or electric wheelchair with you – we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing.
If you have any questions about the best mobility device for your trip, feel free to give us a call.
We would love to help make your travel dreams a reality.
Not Sure Which Electric Wheelchair Or Mobility Scooter Is Right For You? We’re Here To Help!
We have a team of mobility experts on staff, who will listen to your needs and wants… and provide you with a number of options that fit within your budget.
Also, don’t forget that most electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters on Electric Wheelchairs U.S.A.’s online store qualify for mobility chair financing. You can easily see if you pre-qualify through our partnership with Klarna.
To talk to our friendly team of experts, simply call: 800-682-9444
You can also read our Top 11 Folding Mobility Scooters For 2023 article here.