Flying with an ECV

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by lorijohnhill, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. lorijohnhill

    lorijohnhill DIS Veteran

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    I will be flying from CA to PA in March/April. I use a Pride Maxima ECV and have been unable to find any info online about flying with it. I tried calling the airline (Southwest) to inquire about scooter weight limits, but the rep I spoke with couldn’t find any info either. She said to just show up and it would be fine. I am really nervous about doing this.

    Have any of you flown with this heavy of an ECV? Any experiences you can share?
     
  2. SteveMouse

    SteveMouse DIS Veteran

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    Regardless of any weight (and your scooter weighs less than many wheelchairs) , it will need to meet SW’s requirements regarding batteries, and you may want to arrive at the airport with some extra time.
     
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  4. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    (overall) Weight of the assembled scooter is far less a concern these days than the type, and capacity of the battery.

    Be prepared to tell your airline the Amp Hours and/or voltage, and chemistry of your battery(s); each airline may differ in their policies, so never assume, always reach out to their Disability Services or Special Services (name may vary) office at least two weeks prior to the flight.

    If you intend to gate check your device, be sure to let the airline know, and arrive to your gate early so that the agents working the flight can prepare to move your device down to the tarmac, and ultimately into the hold under the plane. If you intend to take your device apart, be sure to get a gate check tag and ticket for each part of your device.
     
  5. lorijohnhill

    lorijohnhill DIS Veteran

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    They have a form I need to fill out, mainly about the battery type, if I remember correctly.

    How to they get it down to the tarmac? I can’t see them sending a 300 pound scooter down the little shoot like they do strollers. Maybe they do, it just seems tricky to me. Is it better to leave a larger scooter off at the ticket counter with the checked luggage and have wheelchair assistance to the gate?

    I guess I am most worried about getting to the airport and being told I can’t take it. Then what?

    Can you tell I have a bit (lot) of anxiety? Lol
     
  6. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    Maybe, get a supervisor at Southwest and they may have better info.
     
  7. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    I haven't, but I have been on Southwest a lot and talked to people traveling with ECVs. They just gate check it, after they check in with the agent at the gate to get a tag. Everyone I've talked with remarks about how easy it makes their trip.
     
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  8. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    It's ok; It's perfectly understandable to be anxious when you're talking about the device that replaces your legs.

    At most airports there will be a service elevator available to the ground crews, they will push your ECV to the elevator, take it down to tarmac level, and then load it into the hold. Depending on the airport, they may ask you if it is possible to take your scooter apart into multiple pieces. At that point, they will have the option to simply carry the pieces out the jetway door and down the stairs to be loaded. This is why it's important to know if you are going to gate check the scooter as a whole unit, or as its constituent pieces; You want to get a gate check tag and ticket for each part that goes down to be loaded. In the event that your scooter needs to be disassembled, make sure you know how to – And can – reassemble it yourself.

    Do you know the actual weight of your unit assembled? Unless it happens to be something insane like 1000 pounds, and you can't disassemble it, I wouldn't worry. People fly all the time with heavy duty electric wheelchairs - they're quite substantial in weight - and have no problems gate checking them.

    Call your airline and talk to them; I'm sure you will feel much better after the conversation!
     
  9. lorijohnhill

    lorijohnhill DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I appreciate the reassurance.
     
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  10. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    Here's a thread that I posted about my first time flying with my ECV. Like you I was nervous that I would do something wrong.

    https://www.disboards.com/threads/my-first-trip-with-my-ecv-on-a-plane.3646065/

    My trip was a non-stop flight from New Orleans to San Francisco on United. As you know all airports are just a little different in exactly how they are set up. But the basic procedures are the same. I had to navigate getting to the rental car facility (offsite) that all rental car companies have to use at SFO.

    Some people had told me to remove all things that could be removed like the basket. I asked if they wanted me to take off the basket and was told it was up to me. I left it on. No problem.

    The only thing that I would double check is that the size of your ECV meets ADA standards. Not the weight - but the dimensions.
     
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