Traveling with a Wheelchair
Airlines are required to allow older adults or people with disabilities to access the same travel opportunities as those without disabilities, unless doing so poses a threat to the safety of other passengers.
This means airlines must have wheelchair-accessible aircraft doors, an aisle seat, as well as a seat with a removable armrest for chairs. Airplanes with less than 30 seats are, in general, the exception for these regulations. However, planes with more than 60 seats are required to have these specifications as well as a wheelchair on board.
What to Search for in a Travel Power Chair
As with any wheelchair, you will want to consider the basics such as the weight of the chair, foldability, sturdiness, and seat size. When it comes to travel and adding in an electric element, there are a few more things to consider.
Voltage and Charging
If you plan to travel overseas, check into purchasing a power converter, and find out how you will be able to frequently charge the battery of your chair. You will need to check the battery type and make sure you have the proper converter for foreign countries.
Type of Travel
Will you be driving your wheelchair for extremely long jaunts on your trip? Or will you be lounging poolside at nearby a hotel? If you know you’ll be traveling long distances, check with airline regulations on the size of battery that can go with you. Looking for a chair that is good for mileage or extra batteries might be needed in that case.
Travelling can be uncomfortable for anyone. Moreover, things like unstable roads or bumps over unexpected cobblestones can become more painful while in a wheelchair that doesn’t have the right accommodations. But with the right chair and a little planning, your comfort doesn’t need to be compromised.
We suggest adding any comforts to your chair that you can, such as an extra cushion for the seat and even for the backrest. Elevating leg rests can also be crucial if you’re planning to be on long flights to help with circulation while in the air.
Tips for Traveling with a Power Chair
Taking trips with an electric wheelchair can add an extra headache if you don’t plan ahead. It only requires a little research and a bit of planning to figure out how to see the world with your power chair. Having a small repair kit (that can pass through security) to fix any potential small damage to your wheelchair is an excellent idea. It’s also smart to have insurance on your chair. Also, call ahead to be sure the airline, train, or cruise ship knows the measurements of your wheelchair and can be prepared if you’ll need additional accommodations.
Selecting Your Travel Power Wheelchair
Your budget will have to be a factor in your decision of a power chair, of course. Electric wheelchairs cost significantly more than manual wheelchairs. However, they can also provide an added level of ease and comfort you won’t always find in a manual model.
If you have the means for it, we love the Whill Model Chi electric wheelchair. However, any of these are outstanding options for older adults who want to get out and see the world.