Airlines have strict rules that need to be followed for carrying particularly-shaped items, as seen in our recent post. If we’re talking about mobility scooters, then the airline needs to be notified well in advance. You shouldn’t have any problems, but remember that each flight has its own regulations and that you should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before departure.
One of the first things you should know is that airlines are required to check-in for free any vehicle that assists a person in terms of mobility, such as a wheelchair or a dedicated scooter. However, this is not always the case when it comes to devices used for recreational purposes.
Depending on the airline and on your destination as well, you should always check before getting to the airport what the policy is regarding scooters and their transportation. In case you do need to transport one for limited mobility, then contacting the airline’s representatives at least 48 hours before the flight is a good idea, to make sure that all the details are covered.
Moreover, in these cases, the passenger also benefits from assistance provided at the airport starting at the check-in point. For bookings made through a travel agent, you might want to make sure they have communicated all the details directly to the airline.
In the airport
As you leave for the airport, try to get there at least 2 hours before flight departure, since this should give you enough time in case there are any extra waiting periods. For those with reduced mobility, the airport is in charge of providing the necessary assistance in order for the passenger to get to and on the plane.
Scooters that are going to be taken on an airplane need to be prepared beforehand. You may want to check all the requirements beforehand, but you should know that individual parts, such as the batteries will need to be removed. Also, the way the device is going to be loaded depends on its size as well.
There may be some constraints when it comes to this aspect as well, so check a few days before the flight to see if the scooter is suitable to be taken on an airplane or if it’s too large. Of course, this doesn’t apply in the case of foldable scooters that are used for recreational purposes, but in their case as well you need to see if they follow the sizing guidelines.
You can safely leave devices such as a wheelchair at the check-in desk, and these will be taken in the cargo hold. Moreover, for devices assisting those with reduced mobility, airlines usually take models with both wet and dry batteries, but you might need to give all of these details to the airline operators that are assisting you through the airport.
In rare cases, wet batteries might not be accepted, so if you have any concerns regarding this matter, you should contact the customer representatives beforehand, to make sure that you don’t have any surprises once you get to the airport.
If you know that an electric scooter for disabled people will be necessary, then try to communicate this as soon as you make the reservation. Depending on the airline, there might be a limited number of electric scooters that can be taken on board per flight.
For those who are simply thinking about taking a scooter for recreational purposes, you should know that the check-in process can become a bit of a hassle, so if you think that you could rent one once you get to your destination, then this might be an easier solution.
Checking in a mobility scooter
Passengers who check in mobility scooters can safely assume that any staff member can be appointed to handle the device and take it to the aircraft hold. Therefore, a good piece of advice would be to put some tape on top of the throttle in order to keep it in the lowest position.
This can protect the scooter as it’s being handled. If the unit includes a key, then you may want to use a small cable to securely attach it to the device. An elastic strap or rubber band can get lost easily, so they are not the most suitable solution to get this done.
When it comes to the battery, you want to make sure that it’s disconnected, and you can do this by placing small pieces of tape on the two ends of the connector. The same goes for both wheelchairs and electric scooters used for reduced mobility. The transmission should also be shifted to neutral so that the unit can be easily pushed through the airport.
Moreover, if there is a joystick feature that can be removed, you may want to do this as well, to keep it safe during transportation. You can take it with you on the flight if you want to avoid losing it around the airport. If it stays in place, chances are that it might get damaged in the aircraft hold.
Whenever it is possible, make sure that you communicate all the details to the airline and that you receive the necessary information to make your journey as pleasant and easy as possible.
This way, you can rest assured that the needed assistance will be available and that you have a seat on the plane, given that aviation regulations impose limits on the number of disabled individuals who can travel on a single flight.
This is done because of security reasons but, nevertheless, it can definitely affect your traveling experience, if you don’t take the necessary precautions beforehand.
Most of the airports have clear meeting points both inside and outside every terminal building that can be used by people with disabilities to easily announce the arrival at the airport, as well as request assistance. From the pick-up point, all the way to the airplane, the staff will help passengers navigate the airport and with anything else that might be required.
However, keep in mind that airport staff needs to make sure that all the passengers get to the boarding gate on time, so things such as shopping or stopping for long breaks might not be possible.
Depending on how much time is available until the next flight, even using the restroom might come with some constraints, as the staff is required to make such stops only if the time allows it and if the amenities are on the way to the boarding gate.
Airport staff assistance
You should also be aware that any assistance is provided by the airport staff from the meeting point of departure to the seat on board the plane, and then from there to the meeting point at the arrival airport.
This means that getting into a certain mode of transportation, whether by bus, taxi, or private car, is outside the scope of the provided assistance, so you need to find other solutions, if necessary. With all of this being said, the most important aspect of ensuring a pleasant trip is communicating all the details well in advance.
Plus, you should do this by email, so that when you get to the airport, you can have all the necessary indications received from the airline ready to use. If you think it’s the case, you should print them out, so that you know what to do and where to go in order to get assistance.
As for other types of scooters, such as kick or electric ones used for recreational purposes, the same idea applies, meaning that you should check with the airline beforehand to make sure that such a unit can be taken on board as a checked-in or hand baggage.
If everything is ok and you decide to take it with you, then you should wrap it in a thin plastic sheet for all-around protection from scratches or rough handling. Once you reach your destination, carefully unpack it to make sure that nothing has happened in the meantime.