If you use an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter, you needn’t give up on your annual family holiday. Most airlines allow electric wheelchairs on board and can organise assistance for you around the airport and on the flight if necessary. Some safety regulations are in place, particularly with the battery – but so long as you check with the operator before you book – you should have no problem.
First of all it’s important to mention that you are disabled and intend to take your scooter with you when booking – most airlines tend to have a limit on the amount of diasabled passengers on each flight (due to staff numbers), as well as having different regulations on the actual scooter. Most have a limit of 60kg, so it’s wise to make sure your scooter is under this, but to be sure check when booking.
Most airlines only allow dry or gel batteries, due to safety regulations. To be on the safe side, take thi into consideration before you travel to avoid unnecessary hold ups at the airport. It’s also a good idea to take your wheelchair’s manual as evidence and to show how to properly disassemble and assemble your chair should the need arise.
Most airlines do not charge for transporting your wheelchair or count it towards your luggage allowance – this includes the major operators such as Virgin and British Airways – so you needn’t worry about this. They do however have separate policies, so check with whoever you’re flying with – all the information you should need is listed on their websites. Here’s a simplified version of each airline’s policy:
Virgin operate a Special Assistance team who will guide you through all of the necessary steps. If you’re travelling with a wheelchair, you must contact them more than 48-hours before your flight on 0844 412 4455. Before flying, you’ll need to fill out a copy of their electric wheelchair form for each leg of the flight which you’ll need with you when you check in.
Should you need it, the Special Assistance team will also organise transport around the airport either on your own wheelchair or one of the airports. You can find out all you need to know right here.
Again, BA asks you to get in contact prior to flying to notify their team. They will ask you questions about your battery and organise either use of your wheelchair up to the gate or use of an airport one. They will also allow you to board first, if you’d like. All the information on their policy can be found here.
Flybe, EasyJet and Ryanair
These airlines all ask for notice at least 48 hours before booking by calling their special assistance teams. They’ll ask you about dimensions and ask for confirmation that it contains a dry or gel batteries and they’ll also ask whether you need any other assistance before, during or after your flight. For Ryanair’s policy click here, for Easyjet click here, and for Flybe click here.