It can be stressful to travel in a wheelchair, especially by air. Getting to your flight in time, maneuvering yourself through the crowded airport, and hauling all your luggage is difficult for anyone. And it is particularly challenging when you have to keep up with an essential piece of medical equipment. But, like anything in life, planning can help you avoid potential problems. Experts from our wheelchair transportation service in Plant City, FL, offer the following tips for traveling in a wheelchair on an airplane:
Every traveler is encouraged to get to the airport two hours before their domestic flight and 3 hours before their international flight. But you should get there even sooner if you are traveling in a wheelchair. Also, be aware that metal chairs take more time to get through security checks, and if you have bags with medications or medical supplies to check, that may add even more time to the process.
Take your cushion off your wheelchair seat before storing it for your flight. Then, you can sit on it during the ride to help you with comfort and positioning, something particularly essential for people prone to pressure ulcers. It will also eliminate the risk of it getting damaged or lost in the plane’s cargo area.
Ask airline employees for a gate check label for your chair and confirm that the tag information matches the info for your destination. It would not be good for you and your chair to end up on different sides of the globe.
Though it is unlikely that your chair will become separated or lost from its tags, it is always best to have a backup plan in place. First, find a secure area on your chair where the label will not end up torn off. Then add a piece of tape, sticker, or another tag with your phone number and name on it. Tags can be removed easily, so it may be helpful to right your destination too.
If your wheelchair has side guards, you should take them off and keep them with you during your flight. It is easy for side guards to get damaged or lost in the plane’s cargo area. This is also essential for any other chair parts that may get detached or caught on things during storage.
Before you travel, let your local provider know you are leaving. They will likely have the name and number of someone who can assist you if your chair gets broken or lost along the way.
Many airlines offer this option to people who need extra time to locate their seats and settle. It never hurts anything to ask if this option is available for you. You will be pleased with not feeling rushed, and attendants will feel better about having extra time to get your wheelchair situated in the cargo area.
These are a handful of tips for traveling with a wheelchair by plane. Contact us today about our wheelchair transportation service in Plant City, FL. We are here to help you get everywhere you need to go!