Can I Take My Mobility Scooter with Me in a Plane?
Are you about to travel by air and you are asking yourself; Can I take my Mobility scooter with me in a plane?if yes, you are not alone. Thousands of people have asked this question before.
I am no mobility technician neither do I have experience with the regulations governing transportation of mobility scooters but I did some research and the information I am about to present to you were extracted from a piece written by a mobility technician in mobility scooters direct plus other extra great information I found on my own.
Essential Read: Portable scooters for the disabled
Traveling by plane doesn’t mean you have to forgo your freedom and independence on the other side. Mobility scooters are great companion for people that have struggles walking around, they help take you further distances than you’d be able to do so otherwise.
Many people are not exactly sure the process they should follow on how to travel with a mobility scooter. People are even afraid to ask because of the batteries that power mobility scooters.
The answer your question about taking an electric scooter on a plane, I have done some research on what you need to do and the I have also found out the rules and regulations from the airlines, to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and even TSA (Transportation Security Administration).
In the mists of all the controversies you see on the internet about traveling with a mobility scooter,it is important know the truth,which I will talk about below.
Knowing the Facts is Crucial
Many people will tell you it is not possible to travel with your mobility scooter in a plane because of its batteries. The fact is, you can take your mobility scooter with you in a plane.
There are two types of batteries that are used in battery operated scooters. We have the lead acid and lithium batteries and these batteries are non-spillage. In fact, all powered scooters and wheelchairs are using these type of batteries.
Non-spillage batteries are the kind of batteries that do not contain water like the an automotive or marine batteries.Irrespective of how big the electric scooter is, these the technology used to make them makes it less hazardous to travel with in a plane.
When it comes to taking a scooter on an airplane that is powered by a lithium battery care must be taken.
Lithium batteries for mobility scooters must not exceed 300 amp hours between all batteries in the device. Most mobility devices have two or 24 volts.
Some have three or 36 volts and even four at 48 volts. Lithium batteries must be in their own protective cases, with the battery pack or wire harness disconnected from the mobility device. Figure 2 demonstrates a lithium battery pack being removed from a travel mobility scooter.
According to the Americans and Disabilities Act, all public places must be in accordance with the ADA.What this means is that all place places including the transportation service sector must be able to a accommodate a disabled person of any kind.
Did you also know a mobility scooter and power wheelchair are both classified as medical equipment by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)?
What all these implies is that you can travel with any kind of mobility scooter provided batteries in the mobility device are compliant.
The FAA has regulations on specific types of batteries that are allowed on an airbus within the United States. If the batteries are lead acid and non-spillage all battery sizes are allowed to be stowed on the aircraft. Lithium batteries are the biggest issue.
As per the FAA any lithium battery for mobility purposes larger than 300 amps is not in compliance. There aren’t many known mobility devices that contains 300 amp hours between two batteries.
Typically the most you will ever see is 200aH at most. If your mobility scooter or power wheelchair contains lithium ion batteries, you may want to consider buying a set of non-spillage lead acid batteries as a backup just in case.
How to Travel with a Mobility Scooter on an Airplane: The Processes Involve
As per the per the FAA and ADA, you do not have to pay any additional baggage fees to transport your medical devices.
So the processes involve in taking a scooter on an airplane. It is a simple.In fact it free. It is unfortunate that most people don’t know this.There is no extra charge levied against you.
- Plan Ahead
While you plan to book your reservation, it is important to notify the airplane customer service that you have mobility scooter that you will be traveling with.
If the airline tells you otherwise throw out the word acronym ADA and see how quickly you will be transferred to a supervisor.Now, you must have all necessary information ready.Information that they may ask you are about are the battery type, the battery size and the make of the mobility scooter.All of these information is available in the manual.
Policies and procedures are different from airline to airline and they must be complied with. For instance American Airlines requires a doctor’s note indicating that your mobility device meets medical necessities for your condition. They also require that proper documentation be filled out prior to checking in your mobility scooter or power wheelchair.
- Boarding your Mobility Scooter
When you get to the check in point in the airport, follow all the check instructions provided by the customer service to accommodate your needs. After that your mobility device will be taken by the airline staff and put in the plane.
All mobility devices usual go through the standard check points and you will also be taken into the plane first because of your disability.
Once you have arrived at your destination, you will be transported back to the baggage claim area where your mobility scooter or power wheelchair will be brought to you personally. Airline employees are familiar with mobility scooters and power wheelchair so you will be in good hands.
- Take pictures of your device in the airport before taking possession of it
This might be useful just in case there are damage claims that need to be made. If you notice any damage to your device before u claimed possession of it take it immediately to the airline customer service.Without any pictures it is hard to claim a damage claim on the device.
Although the airlines usual take responsibility of your possessions but sometimes accidents happen.
The Key Points to Note
- Free to transport per ADA and Federal Laws
- Notify the airline about your mobility scooter or power wheelchair
- Get a doctors note and fill out the necessary airline paperwork
- Take pictures of your mobility device at the airport
- Retrieve your mobility scooter or power chair at baggage claim
Drawing my Conclusions on your question
Whether you are traveling locally or internationally, it is important to know that the laws vary from state to state and country to country.
Plan ahead and find an airline that will allow you to take your mobility scooter with you and make your journey a pleasant one.
Hope you were able to find answers to your question “Can I Take My Mobility Scooter with Me in a Plane?”.
Leave your thoughts below in the comments box.
Below is a list of links that will help you to notify important safety administrations when traveling by airplane.
An article about traveling with mobility devices
FAA – Lithium Battery Regulations
Here you will find FAA compliance laws regarding lithium batteries for mobility devices
FAA – Non-Spillable or Dry Cell Battery Regulations
Here you will find FAA compliance laws for mobility devices with non-spillable or dry cell batteries.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Here you will find all ADA requirements and laws enacted by the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice – Civil Rights Cases Involving Transportation
Here you will find previous and current cases regarding civil rights violations in transportation.
United States Department of Transportation – ADA Regulations
Here you will find resourceful links on Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
Image credit: Courtesy of Nitinut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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