Accessible Travel Tips for Traveling with a Power Operated Vehicle / Mobility Scooter
The following tips will help ensure a safe and enjoyable traveling experience.
Using a qualified accessible travel agent can be most helpful in planning a trip where the unknown could become a major barrier to enjoying a vacation. Accessible travel author Candy Harrington offers these tips to help find the right travel agent for you.
- Ask a friend who has recently used an accessible travel agent.
- Confirm that the person is an accessibility travel expert.
- Does the agent travel personally?
Lodging is another important part of accessible travel. Use these tips to secure an accessible sleeping space for your get-away.
- Use a hotel name you’ve had success with in the past.
- Read up on hotel access laws to know about design standards for different establishments (ada.gov).
- If using an online resource to a book a hotel room, call to confirm accessible offerings before booking, even if the site offers information about the room. Inquire about doorway widths, furniture height and restroom accommodations. Request to see photos of the rooms.
- Call to confirm your accessible room reservation before arrival.
Many people choose to travel by car, bus or train as the least expensive options. Destinations for a quick getaway, extended weekend or mini vacation are reached relatively quickly, leaving enough time to relax and have fun.
Use these tips to make your travels as hassle-free as possible.
- Car. Use a portable mobility scooter, such as the TravelMate™, for quick and easy rest-stop breaks. Pack meals and snacks to reduce the number of necessary stops.
- Bus. Contact the carrier as far in advance as possible to make arrangements. Many offer assistance with boarding, luggage and retrieving mobility scooters.
- Train. Choose the carrier that best meets your needs and requirements. For overnight routes, request a private bedroom and confirm that your care has wide enough doorways and that switches are low enough on the wall for you to reach.
Flying the blue skies will get you to your destination the quickest. Airline and airport personnel are fully equipped and trained to assist you as needed.
- It is helpful to have information on your Amigo handy before and during your flight. Click here to download a recommended questionnaire to fill out information about your Amigo and share it with your airline. Also keep a copy with you at all times in case questions arise. This form is helpful, but is always wise to contact your airline in advance to see if they have specific recommendations or requirements.
- Review the airlines Contract of Carriage before booking your flight. Read the disability section carefully which informs of the airlines obligation to you upon purchasing a ticket.
- Visit seatguru.com for plane seat maps. Use this website to determine the best seat to reserve before booking your flight.
- Try to get direct flights. If a transfer is necessary, it is easier for the airlines if you use their wheelchair and have your Amigo sent direct. Be sure to have your Amigo checked as “plane side” luggage so it will be delivered to you upon your arrival.
- Inform the airline that you will need special assistance. When making reservations, make sure the service personnel know exactly what kind of assistance you will need. The more they know, the more they will be able to help you.
- Airport accessibility. Call the airport ahead of time to determine which services are available to you.
- Boarding. You may want to request a bulkhead seat, which allows more legroom. For easier transfers, request a seat with folding arms or removable armrests.
- Special handling tags. If you travel frequently, it may be helpful to have a special handling tag that states special handling (of your Amigo) is required.
- Click here to download a pre-designed handling tag that you can print and attach to your Amigo.
Navigating Airport Security
Security screening is required for all airline passengers. It is recommended to arrive an extra hour early for check-in inspections. Your Amigo will be inspected first – a mirror is often used to inspect underneath the platform – followed by a series of questions regarding any recent maintenance (within the past 48 hours) of your Amigo. A TSA representative will then use a hand-wand and perform a security pat down. Upon passing the security screenings, drive through the metal detectors on your Amigo and you’re on your way! If you are uncomfortable with these public screenings, request a private screening area.
Transportation of Batteries
Non-spillable, sealed batteries are approved for commercial airline travel by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Amigo batteries are sealed lead acid or lithium-ion that are safe for airline travel. Acid batteries are not allowed on airplanes.
If you are using lithium-ion batteries, you are probably wondering if they are safe to use when traveling by air – the answer is yes! Many laptops also use lithium-ion batteries, and though batteries rated over 300 watt-hours are not allowed, your Amigo batteries are approved at 250 watt-hours.
According to the FAA, Amigo battery-powered mobility aids must be ‘checked’ luggage and are not allowed as ‘carry on’ luggage. It is strongly recommended when booking flights that you notify the airline that you will be checking your Amigo with batteries. This way the airline crew can better prepare for loading, stowing and securing your Amigo.
Having gained worldwide popularity, cruises are relaxing with non-stop activities and culinary delights to indulge in. Cruise ships function as floating hotels with nearly everything included in the price. All the work is done for you, which allows you to fully relax and enjoy yourself.
Special cruises are available for those with serious media conditions and who use assistance animals – complete with a vet on board. Many cruise lines now offer accessibility information right on their websites. Before reserving space on a cruise ship, contact the cruise line with any additional questions you may have.
Keep these questions in mind to help determine the best cruise line for you.
- Are cabins fully mobility scooter accessible?
- Do cabins have low or no sills?
- Are all public restrooms handicap accessible?
- Will my mobility scooter fit on the ship’s elevators?
- Will my mobility scooter fit through doorways on the ship?
- Are ramps available on the decks?
- May I travel alone?
Have additional questions about traveling with your Amigo? Contact us at 1-989-777-0910.