Preparing Your Power Chair for Airline Travel
Power Chair Handling Instructions Tag
This is an example of the sign I make for my clients who are flying with their power chairs. This is tailored to their specific chair and printed on a bright colored sheet of paper. It is placed inside a plastic sleeve and attached to the back of the chair with zip ties. The airline personnel have found this very helpful. We fly at least twice a year with my husband’s power chair and have never had a problem.
This video from Alaska Air shows the process of flying with your power wheelchair.
This is a picture of a standard aisle chair. There are a few variations. You are boarded first. You are wheeled down the jetway. At the end is the aisle chair. They assist you with the transfer from your chair to the aisle chair. You can tell them how you would like to be transferred.Most aisle chairs have two seat belts that cross from each shoulder crossing your chest and buckling at your waist. There is also a seat belt for your knees. You cross your arms over your chest or holding your legs together as shown and you are wheeled to your seat. It is very important to get an aisle seat with an arm the raises.
When you get to your seat you will be assisted with a side transfer into your seat. When you reach your destination you will be the last one off the plane. Everything will now happen in reverse. There are a few airlines that will bring your power chair to the jetway. Most do not. You will get your power chair at baggage claim. One VERY important thing to remember. Make sure and ask an attendant to make sure your power chair has been loaded onto the plane before the plane leaves. ( just in case) If you are planning on using a restroom, make sure they have an aisle chair on board the plane before they leave. They do not assist you and there are no accessible restrooms on domestic flights. (See picture of accessible restroom on the new 777 that American is flying overseas on the photos page.)
For new information on aircraft accessibility improvements check out Travel Pulse.