You probably have been flying your whole life, but now that you own (or are considering buying) an electric wheelchair, you may be thinking to yourself, "Can I take my electric wheelchair on an airplane?" Or maybe you're asking, "How exactly do I do that?"
Well we're here to answer all of your questions! The process to take an electric wheelchair or an electric scooter onto an airplane isn't too difficult if you follow these steps.
First and foremost, you should check with your airline to understand their specific policies. The steps below are general guidance, but the airline's policies will always supersede what we have listed below.
The process to bring your electric wheelchair onboard a flight starts when you make your booking reservation. We've highlighted the steps below using a sample reservation with American Airlines.
If you are booking your reservation by phone, tell the customer service representative that you are going to be bringing an electric wheelchair or scooter onto the flight, and the representative should walk you through all of the necessary questions and steps.
If you are booking your reservation online, then there are a few things that you need to do. First, when filling out your passenger details, you should click "Add special assistance".
Then, on the next pop-up, you should click "Mobility".
That will provide some drop down items. And from there, you will select "I'm bringing a personal wheelchair / mobility device."
Then, additional options will appear. For our Elite Electric Wheelchair, you will select "Lithium batter wheelchair / scooter".
Finally, you will click save, and you should see the electric wheelchair added to your reservation.
The final steps are at the airport. When you arrive at your gate, tell the gate agent that you have a electric wheelchair or scooter on your reservation and be prepared to show a copy of your boarding pass with the mobility device indicated on there.
Before boarding the plane, you will need to disconnect the battery and carry the battery by hand onto the plane. It is also advisable to disconnect and carry the joystick controls onto the plane as well to avoid damage.
Depending on the airline, they may allow you to ride your electric wheelchair down the jet bridge and leave your electric wheelchair (folded!) next to the plane door to be "gate checked". Or, the airline may ask you to step off your electric wheelchair at the gate and take an airport-provided manual wheelchair down the jet bridge. In either case, you should carry the disconnect battery by hand (and the joystick controls if that is your preference) onto the plane, and the wheelchair should be taken by the airline staff to be gate checked.
To avoid any uncertainty or problems when boarding, you should contact the airline in advance to confirm their policies and procedures.