When making airline reservations
Consult your doctor
Your need for immunisations
To ensure that you have all the prescriptions you will need for
the duration of your trip (and some spare for emergencies)
All the medical equipment you might need, and any spare parts
you might need in an emergency.
Recommendations for any non-prescription medications you might
need such as pain killers, sun lotion, laxatives, spare glasses
How to get medical assistance when you are away. Contact
addresses for nearby hospitals etc., emergency telephone numbers
and quality of health care in the country you are visiting.
Consult your travel agent about:
What special assistance you can expect from the hotel, tour
group, transportation company etc. you intend to use while you
What sort of accommodations will be needed throughout your trip,
be it, car rental or organizing seating on planes, coaches,
Whether any special dietary needs will be sufficiently met at
hotels/restaurants at your chosen destination.
Whether the hotel you intend to stay at has toilets suited to
If you are renting a car, we strongly recommend that you call
ahead and check that a hands control car will be available if
you need that. If you are hiring a car and someone else is
driving ensure you can transport your chair too
Try and make sure you reserve the type of car you need as soon
as you know your date of arrival to prevent disappointment..
As a general rule, try and book as much as possible before you
leave, so that you can make sure that they accommodate your
various needs, or so that they can make the relevant
preparations to accommodate your requirements.
In short, advanced preparation can save you a lot of time and
effort in the long run. It is far easier to deal with any
problems from home, than in a foreign country where you may have
to deal with language barriers.
Flying with a Wheelchair:
Wheelchair users should make sure that their chair is in full
working order and have a maintenance check in advance of the
trip. Likewise, ensure that you have basic tools and parts for
the assembly and repair of your wheelchair, in the event that
something goes wrong. If you use a powered wheelchair in
addition to taking the charger with you check that it will work
in he country you are taking it to. A typical British 240v
battery charger will not work on 110v mains as in the USA.
Your charger may be dual voltage and able to switch to 110v if
not you will need a step up transformer to convert 110v into
240v so you can charge your chair while away. It works the
same way for visitors from 110v countries to those with 240v
mains, except you'll need a step down transformer.
Do not assume that you will readily be able to access wheelchair
parts in other countries to fit your own type of chair either,
better to take a spare and not need it, than need it and not
1. Make your reservation as far in advance as possible.
2. Tell the reservations person that you will be travelling with
a wheelchair or scooter.
3. Inform them if you need assistance in boarding (an aisle
chair to get to your seat, see picture below)
4. If it is a long flight and you are able to use a standard
plane toilet but are unable to walk to the toilet ask that
they make an aisle chair available to you during the flight.
Some airplanes have a privacy curtain that includes the aisle
that would allow a companion to assist you. But keep in mind
that airplane toilets are very small. It is well worth
considering catheterisation and/or conveen drainage into a leg
bag for these longer journeys
5. On newer and refurbished wide body jets (the ones with two
aisles) there is one accessible toilet. It is large enough to
fit the aisle chair inside so making it possible to transfer to
the toilet. These planes generally carry an aisle chair, but it
is a good idea to confirm that one will be on board.
6. Always confirm that they have a record of your requests 48
hours prior to departure.
7. Some of the newer planes have lift up arms on some of the
aisles. You can request to be seated there if they are
available. It makes transferring easier. Some passengers prefer
to request bulkhead seats that have more legroom, but the air
rests on these seats do not lift up.
NOTE: An aisle chair is a narrow straight back chair with wheels
underneath. It is designed to fit down the aisle of an airplane
and is used to assist passengers that cannot walk. These
chairs are very narrow as can be seen in the picture. It
may take several people to help you transfer to the chair
When you get to the airport:
1. Arrive early
2. Always check your chair or scooter at the boarding gate and
request it be brought back to you at the gate when you arrive.
Usually the arrival is where there is biggest chance of things
going wrong. Often the ground crew insist on taking heavy
wheelchairs to baggage reclaim which will mean you need to get
to baggage reclaim by other means. It is at this time YOU
MUST insist your chair is brought to the plane doors for you if
you are at all unsure about using an ill fitting airport chair.
3. It is suggested that you use gel or foam filled batteries in
your scooter or power chair. They are also known as dry cells.
In our experience airlines will refuse or are extremely
reluctant to take acid filled batteries nowadays.
4. If you use a fold up manual wheelchair you can request that
it be stowed in the on board coat closet. (NOTE: There is only
room for one wheelchair and the service is available on a first
come first served basis, so you should arrive early to make your
request. Plus not all planes have a coat closet).
5. Make sure your name and address is on your equipment and that
it has a gate delivery tag if it is being stowed below.
6. If you have to change planes request that your own equipment
be returned for the layover. This not only assures your
independence while in the terminal, it reduces the risk of it
getting lost or damaged. Since wheelchair users are last off the
plane make sure you allow enough time to make your connection.
At least an hour and at big airports at least an hour and a
7. DAMAGE CONTROL - Remove seat cushions and any other parts
that could easily become separated from the chair. Take these
items into the cabin with you. Attach instructions on scooters
or power chairs detailing how and where to disconnect the
batteries, also instructions for any other disassembly or prep
that might be necessary for transport. If you have a large power
chair, be aware that on some planes the cargo opening is only 26" high. Therefore some
disassembly may be required. You can ask what type of equipment
will be used when you make your reservations. Having
instructions on your equipment are very important because even
if you are available to give the employees instructions, the
crew at the other end didn't see how it came apart.
8. If you need assistance transferring to the plane seat, take
responsibility for yourself and tell the staff how to help you
or pick you up, etc. Yes, they should be trained, but you are
always safer not assuming anything.
9. Before landing remind the flight attendant that you will need
your equipment brought to the gate so they can radio ahead to
make the arrangements. This can help speed things up.
10. If you have any problems or damage ask to speak to the
"Complaint Resolution Officer" (CRO). Each air carrier is
required to have a CRO available by phone or in person at all
times. This person is specially trained in dealing with problems
that travelers with disabilities may encounter.
11. If you are travelling with a scooter or power chair make sure
you arrange for transportation that will be able to accommodate
your equipment upon arrival.
If you only need a scooter or wheelchair for distance you may
prefer to rent one at your destination for a day or the entire
trip. Also many theme parks and other attractions that require a
lot of walking have scooters or wheelchairs available for rent
Booking a Hotel Room
Villas and Apartments