7 Tips for Traveling With Mobility Devices : Almost 50 million people in the United States suffer from a disability. Take that number and add it to the fact that 2.7 million people get on airplanes every day and it’s clear that plenty of citizens with mobility issues travel with walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, and everything in-between.
If you’re not accustomed to traveling with mobility devices, the prospect of boarding taxis, Ubers and airplanes can be frightening. Rest assured though that your rights are protected and with a little bit of planning, you should have no trouble getting to where you need to go.
To help streamline your travel experience, our team has compiled seven essential tips that we think will benefit you massively during your future excursions.
Order an Uber Access Car
Taxis are becoming obsolete due to the hassle involved with hailing them and the prices that they charge. Today’s travelers are hailing Ubers and other “rideshare cars” from their phones instead.
If you’re planning on ordering a rideshare car to get to the airport, see if your area offers “Uber Access”.
Uber Access is a vehicle class that costs the same as Uber’s “UberX” option but is designed to help people with mobility issues. When you order an Uber Access, cars that pick you up will have enough trunk space to accommodate standard-sized wheelchairs and walkers. Drivers will also be patient/helpful as you board their vehicles.
If you have a larger mobility device like a scooter, you should plan on ordering a truck/SUV rideshare car and text your driver prior to pickup to see if they have space to accommodate your device.
Know Your Power Chair’s Power Source
For people that rely on power chairs or scooters, one of the most common questions that you’ll get asked at the airport is what kind of battery your device uses. This question is meant to ensure that your chair is stored in a way that reduces the odds of a battery explosion.
Batteries that leverage Lithium-Ion technology will need to comply with certain FAA regulations that may be concerning if you’re not prepared. Feel free to call your airline ahead of time so they can brief you on what to expect.
Don’t Worry About Security
One of the most hectic aspects of air travel is security checkpoints. Between having to load bags into trays, removing shoes and doing a number of other mandated things, users of mobility devices may be concerned that they won’t be able to keep pace.
Fortunately, airlines have special protocols in place for people traveling with a walker, wheelchairs and other assistive tools. In almost all cases, you will be privately ushered through a security checkpoint that allows you to get screened at a slower pace and will not require you to part with your mobility device.
Call for Assistance If Needed
Navigating large airports when traveling alone presents a barrier to mobility-challenged individuals. If you don’t think that you’ll be able to get around on your own, call your airline ahead of time so they can arrange for assistance.
With advance notice, airlines can provide an attendant that will usher you from the entrance of the airport all the way to your gate. In some cases, a personal companion (child, partner, friend) that is not traveling with you can be issued a “companion pass” that enables them to stay with and assist you until you board your flight.
Always Keep Airline Officials in the Loop
You might think that being visibly reliant on mobility devices would be enough for an airline attendant to make accommodations for you when boarding and de-boarding your plane. In many cases though, unless you talk to an attendant at your gate, your needs may be overlooked which will leave you scrambling to get assistance when it comes time to board.
To avoid any controversy, be sure to talk to your gate attendant the moment that you arrive at your gate and let them know the degree of assistance that you will need. As inconvenient as it is, your assumption should always be that unless you speak up, you won’t get any help.
See If Your Companion Can Get a Discounted Rate
Many airlines work with medical offices to provide discounted companion fares to people traveling with a mobility challenged person. If you think traveling with a companion might ease the burden of the trip that you’re making, inquire about these discounted rates to see if you can entice a friend or family member to assist you during your flight.
A quick call to your airline can quickly bring you up to speed on what’s offered and how much rates are discounted.
Inquire About International Standards
Disability laws vary from country to country. Never assume that because you’re used to a standard of accommodation in America that you’ll enjoy the same standard in a foreign location.
Ask your airline what you should expect as far as assistance is concerned when departing from an international location. You’ll also want to call your destination’s hotel to ensure that they can accommodate your mobility issues and arrange for any specialized transportation to and from your international airport.
With Planning, Traveling With Mobility Devices Is a Breeze
Don’t let your reliance on mobility devices stop you from getting to the places that you’re meant to go. Do a little bit of homework, be sure to keep everybody in the loop and be confident when traveling with your assistive tools!
Health is our team’s passion. Do you share that passion? Do you want to read more about how to optimize your life in spite of any physical or mental challenges that you manage?
If you do, read more of the content in our digital publication!
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