Can You Take a Wheelchair on a Plane?
TLDR: People with disabilities are allowed to fly on airplanes, and airlines are required to do so free of charge. Before booking your flight, contact the airport or airlines to speak with someone who can give you the details of their specific accessibility policy. Also, remember to have the model and make of your wheelchair available so they can provide you with supporting details to board the plane.
Airlines do their best to accommodate the needs of all their passengers; however, with so many people on one flight at a time, having various medical, mental, and other conditions can pose a challenge to even the largest companies in the industry. One of those challenges specifically is when it comes to wheelchair accessibility on readily available commercial flights.
Using a wheelchair in your daily life
If you’re someone who uses a wheelchair as an integral part of your daily routine and is interested in flying, the good news is that most airlines allow you to bring your wheelchair onboard. However, before you take your wheelchair on a plane, you need to speak with the specific airline’s support team you’ve booked a ticket with to get the details about their wheelchair policy.
There are also some other important variables that you need to consider prior to bringing your wheelchair aborad your flight. Below, we’re going to give you all of the critical information you need to know about flying with a wheelchair to explore the world freely.
How to fly with a wheelchair on an airplane
Before you actually board your plane, you need to contact the airline and ask to verify your reservation in addition to inquiring about any special accessibility options that are available to you as a flyer. Frequently, airlines give you the ability to check-in to you flight eight via online, by way of an app, or in person.
Most airlines won’t allow you to bring your own wheelchair on board; however, you can leave it at the check-in, and the airport staff will provide you with one that is suitable for flight. Airlines also recommend that wheelchair flyers arrive at least 1-2 hours before their scheduled flight to ensure they can clear security, make their way to their boarding spot, and check-in their wheelchair and other equipment.
Here are a few helpful tips that you can use to ensure that your next flight with your wheelchair goes as smooth as possible:
- Consider how you will transition into your seat, you can either use a transfer board or transfer straps
- Book a seat in the aisle closest to the front of the plane
- Please take a picture of your wheelchair before boarding the flight so that you have proof of its condition in the event that you have to file a damage claim
- Try to book direct flights as soon as possible to reduce exiting and boarding the plane multiple times
- Power wheelchair users need to have the model, type, and make of their chair available when speaking to the airlines
Wheelchair passengers are still required to wait with the other passengers once the plane lands until you will be allowed to exit. As you can see, flying on an airplane with a wheelchair isn’t a complicated process. As long as you follow all of the required steps during the booking, onboarding, and landing phase, you will be able to fly hassle-free.
Things to Remember
It would help if you still remembered contacting the airport you’re going to be departing from and arriving at to check and confirm their disability accessibility policies. Most airports and airlines clearly state their disability policies on their websites, making it easy for you to get the information you need without calling.
Another essential thing to remember is that if you have the option of choosing between connecting flight or a direct one, always choose the direct flight to cut down on the hassle.
Below is a list of some common questions we get about wheelchairs and how to deal with them on planes.
Do you have to pay to take a wheelchair on the plane?
No, airlines are required to accept wheelchairs on their flights for free. If your wheelchair is not compatible with the particular plane you’re getting on; the airline will likely give you a wheelchair for free to use.
Can I check-in wheelchair on an airplane?
Yes, you can check your wheelchair in as check-in baggage with most airlines. Depending on where you check it in at, it will be returned to a specific area when you get off the plane. If you turn your wheelchair in at the baggage claim, they will return it to the oversize baggage claim area. When you check the wheelchair in at the boarding gate, it will be returned to the jetway portal when the plane lands.
How do I fly with disability?
You can fly with a wheelchair with a disability in several ways; you can either bring your own wheelchair but need to bring spare parts along with you to avoid any issues.
Use all of the information and tips we’ve included in this write-up to enjoy flying with your wheelchair conveniently. If you still have any questions, don’t forget to contact the airport and airlines you’ll be using to get the information you need.
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