Damage wheelchairs and rollators checked at the gate

The last three times I have traveled; my assisted device came back broken or missing parts. Has that happens to any other member and what should I have done regarding reporting to airline?

I’m so sorry that’s happened to you! One thing I do is make sure the airline knows exactly how to handle my wheelchair by attaching a note to it. On Delta they actually have a form you can fill out that they will attach to your chair that details the condition of it before it is loaded and instructions for handling it. If you get it back and something is wrong they have to fix it. You can also have someone take a quick video of your chair before the flight so if anything is wrong afterwards you have proof.

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Absolutely report it to the airline. I had an airline pay for a brand new wheelchair. I disassemble as much of the chair as I can. Armrests, skirts, footrests all go in the overhead storage bin. Talk to the gate to see if the plane will accommodate it in the cabin.

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The last time I traveled by plane, They had a place on one of the planes to put a wheelchair. The staff stored their stuff in it and stored my chair underneath. I was the last one off the plane and nearly missed my connecting flight. Be prepared to make sure they understand the purpose of the container that was the knee wall next to the door. Don’t put up with, it’s full, as an excuse. Have them show you what is inside.

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Damage to wheelchairs and other equipment happens all the time-- and it’s horrible. One major airline damaged my power wheelchair beyond repair, not just once but twice. One of those times it was brought to me at the end of my trip in pieces in a couple of boxes late at night and I was told by airline staff it wasn’t their job to help me get home without a useable wheelchair. In my experience, the biggest airlines are the worst at this, likely because they have more personnel and higher turnover. But, another part of the problem is that only very limited or minimal training is given to airline staff about assisting people with mobility impairments or to baggage handlers about preserving equipment for us mobility-impaired folks who depend on our equipment to function in our lives. On the other hand, Southwest Airlines has fairly extensive training for their personnel about managing mobility-impaired folks and equipment. I’ve had so much damage to my equipment from other airlines that for the past 10+ years I go to great lengths to fly on Southwest if there is ANY possible way to do so. During the time I have used Southwest almost exclusively, I’ve had only minor dings and no major damage to my power wheelchair or other equipment. I’m not trying to promote Southwest, as I know others have had different experiences. But, if you are getting damaged equipment from flying on the same airline, I would encourage you to ask about their training program for handling equipment and encourage those airlines to do better in that area.

(PS I tend to give a lot of detail in posts like this in the hope that some of the worst offenders will have this info passed along to them and do something real to make improvements for us PWDs)

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We traveled once by air and it was so disappointing. We don’t have really an interest traveling overseas, so we drive everywhere in the USA. We have a whole new appreciation of what we can see and our relationship couldn’t be better. A little extra work, but we have everything we need, no damage, plus get the right type of room everywhere we go, such as a roll in shower. We plan to go to Scotland some day, but we’ll gather pertinent information especially from this web site before that endeavor.

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Because of the high damage to mobility equipment, I now use the airport wheelchair service and have a rental ready for me at my hotel. Sometimes you have to do it that way. Your rental may not be exactly as your personal chair, but many times the rental company goes overboard to accommodate you.

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That’s a good piece of advice for those who can use a non-personal chair! Thanks for sharing.

My husband had damage to the wheels of his manual wheelchair on Air Canada. When we were distressed at the gate, an employee encouraged us to file a claim at baggage claim to document the damage. The last thing we wanted was to prolong our inconvenience - we just wanted to start our vacation! - and fortunately the wheelchair was still usable. He ended up emailing the accessibility customer service department and they automatically offered $300 CAD in good faith. After providing pictures of the damage, and a quote for replacement, he was reimbursed for the full amount in just a matter of weeks. It was unfortunate the damage happened in the first place, but the claim process was very efficient, and he felt heard with his concerns. I recommend to promptly take pictures of the damage done, and to file a claim asap with the airline’s accessibility department if they have one.

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