Air Travel and Power Chairs

From a member of our community:
I am a double-amputee, and I can’t switch out of my power wheelchair. Can I travel on an airplane without giving up my power chair?

yes, but they will put you in a aisle chair to get to your seat. I suggest first class as there is more room. Your chair will travel with the cargo, you can hope they treat it gently, but not so much my experience. Travel with some tools and extra bolts and nuts to replace those that are lost in cargo.

I think Miriam’s statement was misunderstood. I took it as you need to be in your power chair while in flight? I have never been approached with that question. We had staff to accompany our individuals when we flew so we were able to secure them in a airplane seat and attach their harness/seatbelts and feeding tubes with them in the seat and their mobility chair wc was taken to cargo. We never had an issue with any of them being damaged in any way. I could call your respective airline of choice and specifically ask them can they remove a seat and secure an electric wc in its place with tie downs. They would be happy to let you know.

Most airlines will switch you to a special seat to get you onto the plane ant then put the power chair in with the luggage …it will be waiting for you when you get off the plane. Call the airlines to see what measurments they need — most require a picture of the chair.

Currently you will not be able to travel in your own chair on board the aircraft although wòrk is being undertaken in the UK and US to hopefully achieve this in the future. You should be able to travel to the aircraft door in your own chair where you will be responsible for disabling the power and putting the chair in freewheel mode if you cannot do this your travel companion should do this or you can give clear instructions to the airport staff although this can be a high risk if they do not understand. A helpful piece of advice is to is to make up a pictorial laminated sheet showing how to disconnect power putting into freewheel and the down points. At the aircraft door it is advisable to remove all loose parts ie footplate armrest and if possible controller and place in a bag to take on board as hand luggage with you. You should always sit on your cushion in the aircraft to avoid risk of a pressure sore.
You will be lifted on to a transfer chair to get you to your seat if the airport has an eagle hoist this might also be used the reverse should happen at your destination

I personally have never seen a plane that could be boarded in a power chair. They always use a super skinny chair to transport a person through those narrow aisles.

Me too
Aisle chair
Watch out 4 smaller planes