At Your Destination
You will likely be the last person off of the airplane. The procedure to get you back to your wheelchair is the same as boarding the airplane but in reverse. Remember that it can sometimes take a substantial amount of time for your wheelchair to come out of the hold of the airplane and to be delivered to the airplane door.
Remember the two items below when you get your chair back:
- When you arrive at your final destination, look over your equipment to make sure it’s in good and working condition before leaving the airport.
- Notify the gate agent or baggage service office if you notice any damage.
If you notice any damage, take pictures to document what happened. Corey Lee recommends that “If this happens to you, it is tremendously important to file a complaint with the airline before you exit the airport. File a damage report or complaint with the airline as soon as you get off the plane. If you do this, they are required to fix your chair, but once you exit the airport, they are no longer liable. In addition to filing a report with the specific airline, you should also file a complaint with the Department of Transportation by filling out this form online.”
Wheelchairtravel.org explains the airlines are “expected to accommodate you with a loaner chair for as long as the repairs take. Repairs can often take weeks and replacement wheelchairs are delivered in weeks to months, which can be a significant hardship for many.”
The bad news is that a loaner chair may or may not fit you very well. It is best to know the durable medical equipment providers at your destination and it is a good idea to take a manual wheelchair as a backup. The manual chair is much less likely to be damaged than a power chair.
Thank you to the author of this webpage, Jacob Gapko. Jacob is 45 years old with Duchenne. He uses a power wheelchair and non-invasive ventilation 24/7. He has a BS, an MLIS, and is a specialist. Jacob has an incredible passion for helping our DMD community. He can be reached at Jacob.Gapko@FamilyFriendsAndDuchenne.org