Travel Wheelchairs - a must have if you can!

Hi there! Emily here from accessibleGO. I wanted to share something that I have found so so helpful over the past few years. For some background, I am an ambulatory wheelchair user, where I can walk on my knees to get around, due to my knees being permanently bent, and I use a wheelchair in public/long distances. I’ve had custom power and manual wheelchairs my entire life.

Right before COVID hit, I was gearing up for more independent travel and needed a wheelchair to fit that need. I found that there are many standard wheelchairs that are now made that are meant for travel and to be FAA compliant (pre-approved for planes). The one I have weighs 50lbs, folds up to be the size of a suitcase, and has removable batteries. The price of these range from $1500 - $3500, and likely would not be covered by insurance - I didn’t even try for mine.

This has revolutionized my ability to travel. Since it is a secondary chair for me, I’m not afraid to get it a little beat up, LOL. In my 2.5 years of owning it, I’ve taken it on countless flights, thrown in many many Ubers, and been all over the country with it.

It allows me to Uber, and to Uber alone too. I usually just ask the Uber driver to lift it in for me, and they usually have no problem doing so. If they are having trouble, we find a friendly nearby stranger to help us out.

Battery lasts me well over a day’s usage. On a normal week, I charge it about once a week. It doesn’t fit me quite right as it’s a standard chair, but I don’t mind. My friends know how to operate it easily as well.

If you can afford it and are looking for a travel chair, something that can get a little more beat up and can easily go on planes, I 1000% recommend. Also, this isn’t paid or sponsored or anything, just my personal experience. :star_struck:

Link to the one I have, but you can find a ton of options if you search for “FAA Approved Wheelchairs”

All the best!!

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I have one of those. Mine is hot pink. I am also an ambulatory user. I have a progressive disease that affected my legs first. I can use a cane to walk around the house and am able to have someone load my wheelchair and I can walk from the rear to the front of the vehicle if I can hold onto something or someone. But I can’t do distances.

I love the wheelchair. It is not custom or ergonomic at all. But it is amazing for travel. When I first got it, I had far better balance and could actually lift it myself.

I am a big girl and fit in in fine. No extra room, but not squished and still plenty of power. And like was said it really holds a great charge.

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My husband who is an amputee uses this chair for travel and it has been absolutely great. He did have to check the nuts and bolts to make sure they were tight after a day of running over rough European cobblestones, but it was absolutely perfect for traveling and the battery is long lasting

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I use a similar chair, but haven’t tried taking it while traveling by air. Do all airlines require the chair to go in the cargo bin? I worry it will get damaged and I won’t have a chair when I get to my destination. I love my chair. I try to remember to charge the batteries on a regular basis, but it doesn’t lose power quickly, so I forget. It’s never failed me. Oh, it’s so fast, too! This is mine…

Hi @ldburleson ! Typically airlines require the chair to be gate checked and go underneath the plane. Sometimes there is a closet onboard on larger aircrafts that you can ask or the chair to be placed in if its large enough.

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Thank you for your reply. :grinning:

Mine should have a mileage plus number. I have flown with it so many times. I get to the door of the airplane. Fold it, take the controller. Gate check it. And it is waiting at every layover and final destination. Including overseas.

I have checked it once. It might get a few minor scrapes. Can’t tell since I use it so much it is already scraped up a little. But never damaged. I have only had to track it down once. They “lost” it in the Orlando airport. How do you lose a hot pink wheelchair? Took about an hour and it was “found”. Lazy bad handlers didn’t want to deal with it and shoved it aside. Airlines paid for that dearly, free ticket.

Any wheelchair gate checked or fully checked is always a worry. But it is worth traveling with.

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