International travel with a power chair

I’m taking my first solo international travel experience to Pakistan where I’ll be staying a whole month. I’m planning to bring my power wheelchair. I will be checking in one bigger suitcase and i usually bring a backpack for my carry-on–just wondering if the chair will travel good- its a foldable one. I’m hoping to be able to also bring a small bag for the overhead luggage. Will I be allowed to do this? or will it go with my chair?

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I travel with my folding regular wheelchair and have not had a problem. Do make sure you get it tagged like luggage at check in. I wheel to the plane and then they take the chair and load it into the hold. Be patient when you arrive as they have to unpack it and bring it too you.

Does anyone know what the requirements for a power chair are when taking a plane? I just got my first one and am not sure of the rules.

do you think a power chair will be ok or should I bring a regular wheelchair?

Hi Sistersplace, it’s Pinky; of of your Forum Moderator’s. I would LOVE to help make sure everything goes smoothly for you on your first solo international trip with your power chair. You should be fine for the luggage amount you are asking for, but with international flights they can sometimes be a little more strict with luggage totals. I have noticed over the years though, they never count my wheelchair backpack as one of my luggage pieces at security for some odd reason. I think they must allow any wheelchair attachments and that must fall under the acceptable list?

BUT… I want to make sure we set you up for success. If you wouldn’t mind telling me airline your flying on, seat class, and your departing city; I can help find out if the type of plane you are going on can hold a folding wheelchair up in the main cabin closet? As for the power chair situation, a lot of that will have to do with the airline, the amount of stops the plane makes (where the chair has to move as well), and also how the ground services are in Pakistan? I apologize, but that’s one of the airports I have not traveled too and can’t share any personal history.

Plus, I am not sure what the sidewalk situations are like where you are going; so hard to decide what’s best for you personally. Is it possible for you to rent a chair while visiting and just use your manual folding one for the flight? That might be the safest option for making sure you have zero worries about your chair arriving safely,

Just let me know that other information for your flight and I will check on it for you right away; and see if there are some equipment rental companies if you want to go that route too?

Hang it there, we will solve this for you… I promise.
–Pinky

REDD4life- Hey…I just want to check for you if you are asking for domestic or international flying? They both have certain restrictions, but want to make sure i get you the accurate info for your chair. Thank you,
Pinky

Hi Pinky–Thanks for helping me out. I will be leaving Indianapolis Airport on American Airlines to JFK in NYC. Seat class is Economy. My wheelchair is a folding power chair which I know I can use up to the door of the plane. I have been told that if I can remove the joystick easily I should put it in my backpack. I just heard a tip from Cory Lee and that is to bring bubble wrap and duct tape, however i will need to use the chair inbetween flights on stopovers. I would hope that I can check the folded chair in and my small suitcase in the last spaces by the door. I will arrive JFK terminal 8 at 7pm. on AA 4831. At 10:25 pm leave JFK on Etihad Airways 100 and arrive in Abu Dhabi Terminal 1 on Aug. 30th 7:15 pm. Leave Abu Dhabi at UAE terminal 3 and arrive in Lahore Pakistan on Aug 31 terminal M. I will be using TSA Pre-check. When in JFK I noticed that they have an Air Tran to get to terminals, I hope I can ride my chair on there. I dont know what the Lahore Airport is about, and I know alot of streets there are made of cobblestones- so it can be a bumpy ride… My hosts said that dont mind pushing me in a chair. When I checked getting a manual wheelchair there, we were told that most of their chairs are for littler people and they have weight limits. So I was discouraged by that and also I dont want my hosts pushing me every where. Thats why I’m bringing a power chair. So what ever tips you can do to help me navigate those airlines that would be great. I didnt make the airlines aware of the chair so that needs to happen too. Thanks again. Carol

I plan to do a vlog for the adventure as we will be traveling to many different cities in Pakistan and I am looking at it from the perspective of an older female with a disability. I plan to write about it all for other travelers. Pros and cons and take video footage.

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Hi Carol,
Thank you for getting back to me with all those details for the trip so fast. I was able to gather some information this afternoon, but brace yourself; it’s gonna be all over the place. Please don’t let any of it scare you though, this is all just part of the adventure of traveling…I hope…lol.

To start, I checked your first flight to JFK and your flying on a E75-Embraer 175; which is a smaller regional jet, so they do have a that little closet right when you first walk in (before the first class cabin). I am not sure how small your chair folds up to; but if you think it might fit in that closet, it’s worth a try? Just want to warn you though on those regional jets, its sometime at the discrestion of the flight crew if they have room in those closets; it’s only the larger two-row planes that seem to keep that requirement of at least space for one foldable wheelchair (they aren’t exactly clear if they mean manual or power chair). I’ve seen some amazing mobility scooters on Amazon that close up to the size of a carry on suitcase with the use of a remote control. Not sure if this is type you use or not; or how it would handle the roads in Pakistan? (Only really solves the airport issue).
Atto Scooter
EV Rider

I do appreciate Cory Lee’s advice and I do my own version with using padded bags for my wheels and removing any part I can from my manual chair; then wrap the brakes with bubble wrap and tape and bungee to keep shut. There is a major issue which you already discovered that the rest of us struggle right with you on… What do you do at the airport stops between? Your not gonna keep wrapping and unwrapping; that’s insanity you don’t need during an already stressful trip.

You can request the chair brought back to you at each stop (especially since changing airlines); just remember you will need to check-in with the next gate agent to get your chair re-tagged for the next portion of the flight and they will make up a new storage tag to the next airport. Just be careful not to forget to do again for last flight when you land in Abu Dhabi and are too tired to know what day it is.

It is very important to double check each of the airlines rules on batteries as well for your chair. They usually require you to remove them and carry in your carry on bag, but some also have restrictions as to what type of batteries are ok. Here are the two airlines pages to read up at:
American
Etihad *ALERT- Have you read over the requirements for medical clearance on Etihad’s airlines? This is a new one to me; I’m not used to seeing on US airlines.
Please get those special services forms filled out ASAP. They usually get those processed 2 weeks before international flights to be able to reach out to the flyers needing the special services. Make sure to tell them you want an on-flight chair on the plane for getting to the bathroom. If you don’t tell them, they will forget; and that’s way too long to go without.

The second part of you flight on Etihad, is on a BIG Airbus A350-1000; with lots of closets and storage on board. So crossing my fingers they can fit the scooter on the plane for you on that one. The other option besides bubble wrap, a thick moving blanket and some bungee cords that you carry in a tote bag. That’s basically what we do with my frame. But this is up to you and what you feel safe with. Do have to warn you, your back on a regional jet (Airbus A320-100; which is 2-class smaller international jet) for the last part of the trip and can’t tell how they will handle storage on-board. You may want to call Etihad and speak to them about the rules of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (This is all I found).

This should be enough to get you planning better, but please get those Special Services forms filled out ASAP. I don’t want you to have any issues on your trip.
Sorry if this didn’t answer everything, but hopefully point you to the right places?
Please let me know if there is something I missed or you need more help and I will try and look up as soon as I can for you.

Have a FABULOUS trip,
Pinky :fairy:

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I am checking out for an international flight. It isn’t planned yet. I heard only certain kinds of batteries are allowed.

We take a regular chair for US flights and rent a scooter when we get there for use here.

I take an extra overhead bag to put the detachable wheel chair footrests, it is never counted as luggage.

Yeah AA & AAA are allowed on the plane, The rest have to be taken out of whatever they are in.

oooh I printed out the medical form but not sure I actually need it. Maybe because of the wheel chair but they are mostly concerned with people who have to have oxygen or are a danger to others. But now wondering if i need to get a transit visa for being in their airport in Abu Dhabi?

((((( Didn’t want you to think I had abandoned you… Just waiting to hear back from the consulate about the visa. Guessing I didn’t catch anyone before it was already Saturday there; but that means we should hear back by our Sunday…I think. But will get right back to you when I hear from them.)))

Talk to you very soon,
Pinky

Hi Carol,
Thank you for your patience on this one. Well I have some good news (as long as you are a U.S. passport holder?). It looks like your fine while in the Airport in Abu Dhabi. Just like several other countries, they have waived Visa requirements for people from certain countries while passing through the airport; en route to a final destination. Now if you are a citizens of one of the countries not listed on this webpage, you will need to apply for the Visa for the visit; but otherwise your all set.
Have you been able to reach the anyone at Etihad about if there are any rules for your scooter on the regional carrier plane they use between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan? I’m curious myself, but have not found anything on their website about it.
Apologies again for the delay on the Visa info. I hope you have a FABULOUS trip and you come back to tell us all about it?

Many Safe Returns,
Pinky :fairy: