If I'm traveling by plane, what should I do before I check my wheelchair?

When checking-in your wheelchair before boarding a plane, you can at least remove your cushion and sit on it during the flight. If you have an air cushion, keep checking it during the flight because the cabin pressure can cause it to over-inflate! For chairs with power rims, remove the power rims and battery and bring those on board with you. Make certain that they tag your wheelchair and give you the receipt in case anything is lost. You can also write your name and address somewhere on the frame of your wheelchair or use a return address label with tape on it, in case the tag gets ripped or lost.

Before your power chair leaves your sight and is taken away, double and triple check that your chair has a correct destination tag on it and a gate check tag; this means that they will bring your chair back up to the entrance of the plane when you've landed, so you don't have to pick it up at baggage claim.

Also, make sure you've removed items from your chair you wouldn't want to have lost or damaged - your backpack, your seat cushion, and anything else. You may want to remove the little rubber knob that easily comes off of the chair's joystick, as they aren't cheap to replace if they fall off. Just remember: the crew treats your chair like a piece of luggage... not always as gingerly as you would like!

Take your battery charger on the plane with you and stow it under your seat or in overhead. Just in case luggage should be lost, you do not want to get stuck for a few days without your charger. Most new chargers are fairly light and small - not like the old ones that weighed as much as you!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.