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Better Together – Disability Parent Q&A
By Jennifer Allen

A woman with a cheerful expression, sporting short curly hair and wearing a black top with a round neckline and a small keyhole detail. She is accessorized with dangle earrings and the background is neutral, providing a professional setting. Her eyes are bright, and she is offering a friendly smile to the viewer.

QUESTION: There is a general concern over the carelessness with which wheelchairs are treated by airlines and others transporting the chairs. How can we protect our wheelchairs and travel by plane?

ANSWER: While there’s no way to guarantee the safe passage of your wheelchair, there are precautions you can take.

First of all, remove anything that you can! This goes beyond accessories and cup holders. Seat cushions, clothing guards – if it can come off, it’s better to take it with you on the plane than to risk something happening to it. 

Second, if you have a power chair, practice taking it apart and putting it together. The airline may or may not ask you to take it apart on your own, but either way they’re not likely to know how to put it back together when you land – that will be up to you. Bring the tools you need, and an extra bag for any chair parts that you want to keep on the plane.

One reader suggested purchasing a back up chair for on-the-go. I was surprised by that seemingly impractical solution, considering what our pediatric manual chair costs, until I did a little research. As it turns out, there is a wide variety of styles of chairs— both manual and push chairs—available for purchase outside of insurance.
With just the serial number from your current chair, SpinKids can get you a custom chair that’s just the right size. Chairs start in the low hundreds.

 IN THE NEXT ISSUE: What do you do about all of the equipment needed?
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