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Old Mar 20, 08, 1:10 pm   #1
 
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Mobility scooter on the plane?

Well, I've looked and looked and just can't figure out where to post this question. I hope someone here can set me straight.

DH uses a mobility scooter. In June we are flying to Denver to begin a 3-week "old west" driveabout. In December we are flying to Los Angeles to cruise the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale for Xmas.

I've been in touch with Scootaround, from whom I cannnot get a satisfactory answer regarding renting a scooter for the cruise, though the driveabout is no problem (if we want to pay the price!).

I've heard that some airlines will fly his scooter for free. Is this true? If so, does anyone know what the conditions are and which airlines do this?

I really appreciate any advice.......

Spike
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Old Mar 20, 08, 1:56 pm   #2
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bertnspike, welcome to FlyerTalk. Let me move this to our forum, on Disability Travel as perhaps the best place for answers. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Mar 20, 08, 4:40 pm   #3
 
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I think you will find this link useful:

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publi...s/horizons.htm
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Old Mar 20, 08, 6:34 pm   #4
 
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http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publi...s/horizons.htm

That's a great link. Thank you.

Thanks for putting this in the right place.

Now I have another question.

It seems that most airlines have to take his mobility scooter (which breaks down into 3 pieces), so that's okay. BUT...... can he ride it right up to the plane or will he have to check it?

Spike
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Old Mar 21, 08, 5:53 pm   #5
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He will be able to gate check it (ride it right up to the plane). Make sure all pieces are labeled with your name and contact information, and that anything that should not be taken apart is labeled accordingly.

Gate checked mobility devices should be returned to the passenger planeside at your destination.

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Old Mar 21, 08, 6:19 pm   #6
 
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I would say that a mobility scooter counts as a wheelchair - and fly for free... What does Katja say?
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Old Mar 21, 08, 6:35 pm   #7
 
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Thank you for the link and for the relocation of this thread.

It appears to me that most airlines have to take his scooter, which is terrific news.

Now I wonder if he can ride it to the gate or if he'll have to check it. Anyone know?

Spike
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Old Mar 21, 08, 8:15 pm   #8
 
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Until someone better informed can answer...

I'm a manual chair user, so my 2 cents worth are from hanging around the gate watching.

At least in the USA, you can expect to "gate check" the power scooter. They'll ask if you need an "aisle chair" to get to your seat. If able, walking with a folding cane or some such is much easier than being strapped into a special, narrow wheelchair. Think about the toilet on the plane, as well.

Expect questions about "wet or dry" batteries. Most are dry these days, but make sure. They may need to be disconnected - make sure you know how to do that. Is there a clutch to let it freewheel as they roll it around the ramp and such. Designed to take apart? That may mean loose pieces to worry about.

Above all, arrive early. Connections? You have options of checking the scooter all the way through and relying on airport chairs at the transfer sttaion or getting the scooter back. In either case - don't ticket tight connections. You may be first on, but that usually means last off.
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Old Mar 22, 08, 8:30 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertnspike View Post
Thank you for the link and for the relocation of this thread.

It appears to me that most airlines have to take his scooter, which is terrific news.

Now I wonder if he can ride it to the gate or if he'll have to check it. Anyone know?

Spike
Katja anmswered that already. The answer is yes, he can take it to the gate and check it there.
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Old Mar 22, 08, 10:26 am   #10
 
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Gee, you guys are great. Thank you so very much. Scootaround won't be getting much more of my business. What a relief. Now I don't mind that his main use for the scooter at home is getting to the mailbox! It's nice to know that this expensive toy won't just sit in the garage while we travel.

Spike
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Old Mar 22, 08, 11:13 am   #11
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Some additional information from Accessible Journeys (a travel agency):

Quote:
Scooters:
Scooter travelers who "gate check" their scooter should assume that some member of the airline staff will be appointed to drive your scooter into the belly of the plane. To protect your scooter, other passengers and other airline staff we recommend the following steps. Before handing your scooter over to the airline staff, place a piece of removable tape on top of the throttle control and secure the throttle control in the slowest position. This tape should read "Do Not Remove." Make sure your key, or power pin, is well secured to the scooter. Use a strong, durable cord to attach your key or control pin. Do not use a rubber band or an elastic strap to secure your key to the scooter. To secure your key or power pin to your scooter, we suggest using a 12 or 14 inch "60 or 80 pound steel leader" obtained from a fishing supply store. And last, remove any removable baskets and portable seat cushions and carry these into the plane....these do not travel well when attached to your scooter and are likely to be lost.
From: http://www.disabilitytravel.com/acce...ravel-tips.htm
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Old Mar 27, 08, 9:48 am   #12
 
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My wife uses a Drive med 3 wheel one (Racy looking red beauty ;P) and Northwest has been wonderfull about it. A couple things you may want to consider tho... many of the regional jeta have smallish corgo holds. What I do is to double check our flights and try to get booked on the larger planes (better chance for upgrades anyway). We have had some issues with gate checking through DTW, as they always seem to want to bring the scooter up to the gate for the connection instead of our request to check through to destination. I suppose if we had needed the scooter in DTW and they had assumed we didn't I would be more upset, so they seem to err on the safe side.

We have had some check in agents 'scold' us if the ticket record doesn't show that she is traveling with the scooter, so if you book online, I would suggest calling after your reservation is booked just to let them know you have the scooter.

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Old May 23, 08, 6:54 pm   #13
 
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I have a question regarding the storage of my scooter. I have never taken it when I travel by plane, but it would be very nice to have it at my destination. I have always thought that it would exceed the weight limit for checked baggage and also consume my two checked piece of luggage.

Earlier this week I saw a woman on my flight ride her scooter right to the door of the plane. It was then placed below and re-assembled for her when she got off of the plane.

So I have two questions: (1) If I check my scooter as "checked luggage" and use the airport wheelchair service for my travels will the airline charge me for the weight and the excess number of "checked" luggage?

(2) Could I really ride my scooter directly to the plane and be assured that there will be someone with the knowledge to take my scooter apart and stow it safely and re-assemble it successfully. Will this count as part of my "checked luggage" maximums even when checked planeside?

I would prefer to supervise the dis-assembly of my scooter at the point where I check the rest of my "checked" luggage and reclaim my scooter at the luggage carousel. Does this seem like a practical method?
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Old May 23, 08, 8:56 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfran View Post
I have a question regarding the storage of my scooter. I have never taken it when I travel by plane, but it would be very nice to have it at my destination. I have always thought that it would exceed the weight limit for checked baggage and also consume my two checked piece of luggage.
The Airlines (at least NWA and Midwest) will not count the scooter as baggage. My wife's travels with us almost everywhere we go with no problems. We do try to choose larger airplanes so they do not 'need' to disassemble the scooter, but that is personal preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfran View Post
So I have two questions: (1) If I check my scooter as "checked luggage" and use the airport wheelchair service for my travels will the airline charge me for the weight and the excess number of "checked" luggage?
We have done it both ways.. as gate checked with her riding it all the way through security and to the gate, and dropped off at the ticket counter (where they did bring me into the back room to show them how to disassemble it). No extra charge for the scooter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfran View Post
(2) Could I really ride my scooter directly to the plane and be assured that there will be someone with the knowledge to take my scooter apart and stow it safely and re-assemble it successfully. Will this count as part of my "checked luggage" maximums even when checked planeside?
Yes you can really drive right up to the departing gate... we even received ours outside planeside when we landed on the tarmac in San Jose, instead of at a 'real' gate. Gate checked would be better to supervise, or at least inform the staff of the disassembly instructions, as you at least have the gate attendant there to discuss your concerns with. We are working on a laminated instruction sheet that we will have attached to the scooter for our next trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfran View Post
I would prefer to supervise the dis-assembly of my scooter at the point where I check the rest of my "checked" luggage and reclaim my scooter at the luggage carousel. Does this seem like a practical method?
The biggest problem with receiving your scooter at the luggage carousel is that many baggage handlers do not know how to 'treat' a scooter. MCO even tried to send ours through on the belt instead of through oversize luggage. We 'usually check it at our departing gate and ask that it NOT be brought up for a connection airport, (unless it is a long layover), and be checked through to the destination planeside gate. Detroit however almost always brings it up anyway.

Depending on your own personal comfort level... it can sometimes be a godsend to have our vehicle at a large airport. (it can also help speed you through security and customs, as unless they are very busy, we are usually pulled into a shorter line)

Ours has gone with us throughout the US, and to London and Paris. We have a trip to Beijing coming up in October, but will probably not take it there, as the area we will be staying in is probably not very accessible. IT's also easier to convince a taxi driver to take the scooter when you speak the native language... (ours fits in most station wagon type taxis)

Hope this information helps, but feel free to ask if you have more questions.
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Old May 24, 08, 8:48 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWNewman View Post
The Airlines (at least NWA and Midwest) will not count the scooter as baggage.
None of them will count it as baggage because the law says they can't.
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