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Travelling with a wheelchair by air

Discussion in 'Home adaptations, mobility and personal care' started by Binkie4, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I posted in the last thread @Mattie travelling by car. Now I need to ask about air travel and carrying wheelchairs.

    About 4 weeks ago, I did the 7 hour car journey I mentioned and it did not go well. We decided to stop halfway and booked a decent hotel. I also decided to stay in bed at home until the last minute before departure so that I was upright for as little as possible. We also decided to leave early in the afternoon so had no activity when at my weakest in the morning.
    All went well that day and I was lying on my my hotel bed about 3 1/2 hours later, ordered in a meal and had an early night. Felt ok but after 9 hours upright on the second day I was terribly ill. Housebound if not bedbound for 12 days. Dizzy and lightheaded.
    The family gathered, not all with us, and my son who flew down, immediately bought me an air ticket to return from Newquay. That eased my mind and I was able to mix a bit for the last week of our holiday but not travel anywhere by car.

    We were about 50 mins drive from Newquay - that and the flight with Flybe went ok until we arrived at Gatwick by which time Flybe had first lost my wheelchair, secondly ripped off an armrest when it appeared, and in the meantime instructed me to walk!! And no, he wasn't Jesus. Goodness knows how many EU regulations he broke. Then I was told not to leave Gatwick until this was sorted, etc, etc. I was so ill by then, we were off.

    My question is how do I ensure that this won't happen again when flying. I was too ill to book my own ticket but my son is an assertive type and says he covered all needs when booking the ticket. What are others' experiences?
    I have flown many times to NYC with several airlines (but always accompanied) because my son lives there and the wheelchair arrangements have always worked to perfection. Wheeled up to the step of the plane and after the flight, met by my wheelchair with a pusher, never any damage.

    Anyone else a flyer with a wheelchair? Does it generally work ok?

    Actually I did a flight in June, 8 hours, and was well so it can't be being upright that affects a car journey.
    I feel really foggy so please excuse muddled writing.

    Any advice about flying with a wheelchair welcome. Also any advice on types of wheelchair or maybe scooter that can go as cabin baggage.
  2. AndyPandy

    AndyPandy Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    There is a FB site called havewheelchairwilltravel. It is Australian based but covers international travel as well.

    Lots of good tips including travelling with a wheelchair. The person who runs the site is very helpful and open to private messages and questions.

    I keep the distances in the car short. Started out at about an hour and a half then overnight stay. Now can do 2 and a half to three hours with a rest break in the middle before overnighting. I take a fold up lounge and a rug and lie down in the break. Works well for me.

    I travel pretty well in a plane. It takes less out of me. My theory is that car travel requires me to use muscles and energy to stabilise myself against motion more than plane travel does.

    I’m planning some extended travel soon which will involve plane travel. I’ve done shorter plane trips with the wheelchair without any problems. My biggest concern is damage to my wheelchair and how I can manage that situation away from home. I’ll be researching that soon.
  3. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)


    Thanks for the detail in your reply. Will locate the site tomorrow.

    I have concluded after the last few weeks' experience that plane travel is now easier for me too. I have been diagnosed for 10 years, but only had problems in the car for 1-2 years. I think it is stimulation all round, adrenaline from unexpected happenings rather than being upright.

    Now it's damage to the wheelchair after the Flybe experience that concerns me. What happened? Have still not regained energy so haven't yet contacted Flybe or left the house.

    Good luck with your research.
    PS I like the idea of your lounger midway.

    ED: punctuation
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  4. Milo

    Milo Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Hello @Binkie4

    It would be important to contact the company as soon as possible an dlet them know that your wheel chair has been dammaged. If the dammage is visible, take a picture. See what they say. I would hope they would cover the cost of repairs. You could also review the terms of travel (ie fine prints). Be prepared to share your flight details, and as many details as possible about the state of your wheelchair when you got it back. If you travelled with someone you then have a witness.

    As for road travel, I would suggest planning as much as possible and eliminating as many stimulus as possible before and during travel as feasible. For instance, pre-emptive rest. Preparing your suitcase well ahead of time, not over-exerting before departure. During the trip, avoiding long conversations of it makes you worse. Wearing compression stocking. Remaining hydrated. Avoiding rush hour. If possible, raise your legs and recline. Etc.

    Best wishes.
  5. MEMarge

    MEMarge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Sorry you had so much hassle with flying @Binkie4
    Trish, Indigophoton and Binkie4 like this.
  6. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Trish, Milo and MEMarge like this.

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