wheelchair on plane

Aug 7th, 2005, 07:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 19
wheelchair on plane

Will need occasional use of a wheelchair while abroad and having some difficulty locating one to rent in one of the countries we plan to visit.

How involved is it to bring one from the US? Person can walk, so not an issue on plane.

What kind of shape will be it in when we get it off the plane? Any way to use it to door of plane and then have it checked like a stroller?


Herbch is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,387
One can easily take a wheelchair to the door of plane where attendent will shuffle it to baggage. When you arrive at your destination an attendent will meet you at the door with your chair or provide transportation to baggage claim where you can then pick it up.

I had no problem and wheelchair arrived in perfect condition. I really believe they make a concerted effort for the handicapped.
historytraveler is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,107
Same experience here. The airlines will "gate check" the wheelchair and have it waiting for you when you arrive.

We had no problem with damage but it can happen. Also be sure any detachable parts (like leg rests) are either well-secured or removed and secured in an attached bag.

Depending on your needs, you might look into purchasing a companion chair or a lightweight, folding wheelchair that will be easier to get in and out of taxis, rental cars, etc.
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 514
I heartily second Marilyn's recommendation to be sure that all loose parts are securely fastened. I traveled with my brother a few years ago, and they gate checked his wheelchair, only to lose a removeable arm at CDG in Paris. It really made it difficult for him, as he is paralyzed on the left side and relies on pushing down on the arm on the right side to stand and transfer from chair to car or other seats. Of course, the right arm was the one lost. His chair was also a fairly substantial heavy chair, which made transport more awkward. If we had it to do again, we would buy one of the inexpensive chairs to take with us(or rent one in the US) Otherwise, take a roll of duct tape and be sure to secure all parts that are removeable.
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,107
Just a word of warning: when I tried to rent a lightweight wheelchair locally, I discovered that no one would rent one to me if I was going to take it on a plane. Too much chance of damage to the chair.

A companion chair is meant to be pushed by someone other than the occupant, and does not have the large side wheels. They are smaller, lighter weight, and fold up compactly. You can get a good one for a few hundred dollars, or probably less used. If usage is expected to be occasional, this might be your best choice.
Marilyn is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,087
I don't know where you are based, but when I needed a wheelchair last April so my injured son could still travel with us, I enquired at the local Red Cross. They do rent wheelchairs, but charge insurance if travelling abroad. However the ones they had were all needing a "pusher", but luckily I was able to buy a used self-propelling one quite reasonably - 60 GBP.

My son could use crutches for short distances, so we checked the chair in at the large baggage desk, and were offered an airport chair to get to the gate. At the other end in Venice our wheelchair came through before anything else. Returning, we checked the chair in again, but had to wait quite a while for it to come through, well after everyone else had gone. I think it must have got put to one side and then forgotten, because it turned up shortly after we started to make a big fuss, having just asked nicely before! Also they rarely put wheelchairs on the belt due to the risk of damage, they come through the personnel door at the side.

When we knew we would have to take a wheelchair, I contacted the airline and was given several choices, including actually using our chair to the plane, and being brought the chair as soon as we landed. How do mothers manage with pushchairs, some of which are quite large? It seems they are stowed away shortly before the doors are closed so they are available as soon as the plane has stopped.

Hope you have a good journey and holiday.
julia_t is offline  

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