A mobility scooter is designed to help make everyday activities such as grocery shopping and moving from one room to another less stressful. It can help you reclaim independence and improve your quality of life. Whether you enjoy exploring your neighborhood or going on long rides, you will find a mobility scooter that fits your needs.
If you have never used a mobility aid before and want to try a mobility scooter before buying one, rent a device from a mobility store near you. Once you understand how mobility scooters work and what features to look for when buying one, evaluate your options.
Many people who use mobility scooters want to take their mobility aids with them when traveling by air, but drop the idea at the last minute as they may not be sure what the law says about traveling with a mobility scooter. Read on to learn about how to prepare your mobility scooter for a flight so that you can travel with ease.
Get Your Facts Straight
Many mobility scooter owners believe that the law does not allow them to travel with their devices because they are equipped with lithium batteries that (in rare cases) may leak acid. This is not true. All mobility scooters use either SLA sealed lead acid batteries or non-spillable lithium-ion batteries and are perfectly safe for taking onboard.
Non-spillable batteries do not contain water. They have glass mats that hold the lead in its place. The technology allows gases to disperse evenly throughout the container.
Mobility scooters and power wheelchairs are classified as medical equipment by the FDA, which means you can fly with a mobility scooter as long as its batteries comply with FAA guidelines. Lithium ion (rechargeable) batteries are limited to a rating of 100-watt hours (Wh) per battery. These limits allow for nearly all types of lithium batteries used by the average person in their electronic devices.
With airline approval, passengers may also carry up to two spare larger lithium-ion batteries (101-160 Wh)
The batteries of a mobility scooter should be stored in a sealed container and should not be connected to it during the flight.
Preparing to Fly With a Mobility Scooter
All airlines are not the same. A low-cost airline may not provide the services you need. Research the best-rated airline. If a friend or family member with a mobility impairment has recently used an airline to transport their mobility aid, ask them about their experience and if they’d use the provider in the future. Do not be afraid to speak with airlines to learn if they have special policies in place to help people travel with mobility aids.
Before Your Trip
Plan in advance. Let your airlines know that you will be traveling with a mobility scooter at least 48 hours before your flight.
Many airlines transport medical devices free of charge. You do not have to pay additional baggage fees when traveling with a mobility scooter or any other medical device. However, different airlines have different policies.
If you do not know your airline’s policies relating to mobility scooter transportation, call their office in advance and get your questions answered.
Share product information such as your scooter’s make and model type, battery type, and battery size with the customer service team. Ask the customer service agent if you need to fill out any forms before arriving at the airport.
If you need assistance at the gate or have any other requests, let your provider know in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements.
On the Day of the Journey
Before you leave for the airport:
- Make sure your mobility scooter is fully charged
- Keep a spare key with you
- Remember to pack your battery charger and a plug adapter
Board Your Mobility Scooter
Arrive at least three hours before the scheduled departure. Once you arrive at the airport, check-in your device or follow the airlines instructions for using it to get to the gate and board the plane. Many airlines will store your mobility scooter with the baby strollers and take them from you at the gate.
In rare cases, a mobility scooter may get damaged during transport or a worker may accidentally damage your mobility scooter while loading or unloading it.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Take pictures of your mobility scooter before handing it over to a worker and immediately at the time the device is handed over to you. Report any damages immediately. You will need before and after pictures of your scooter when making a claim.
An airline worker will take your mobility scooter to the airplane. You will pass through security, customs, or any other checkpoints in a wheelchair.
During the check-in process, a customer service clerk will briefly explain how the airline will handle your mobility scooter. You will be among the first people to be boarded on the plane because of your mobility impairment.
Domestic Flights vs. International Flights
Legal rules regarding transportation of mobility aids can differ from country to country. Are you traveling abroad? Speak to your airline’s customer service team if you need to follow any special procedures when traveling back to the U.S.
Mobility Masters is a leading retailer of mobility aids in all shapes and sizes for all types of needs. Mobility scooters, wheelchairs, lift chairs, vehicle lifts, you name it, and we’ve got it. Our mobility aids undergo rigorous quality tests to ensure that we only carry the highest quality products. To place your order, call (800) 936-7006.