Flying with an Electric Wheelchair

Are electric wheelchairs allowed on planes? In a word: Yes! However, there are stipulations.

Power wheelchairs are not allowed in the passenger cabin of an airplane. Simply put, they are usually too heavy and wide to use in the cabin among the tight aisles. When you are at the gate at the airport, you will be provided with an aisle manual chair to transfer into. The aisle chair will be your means of mobility onto the plane from the gate, to your seat, and for use on the plane such as using the restroom.

Your electric wheelchair will be taken and stowed in the cargo compartment of the plane. The U.S. Department of Transportation prohibits airlines from charging you an extra fee to stow your motorized wheelchair as they often do for checked luggage. It can be helpful to the airline if you provide a copy of the power chair’s owner’s manual in case they need to disassemble it. This helps ensure proper care of your motorized wheelchair and can help speed up the loading and unloading process. If you own a Quantum® Power Chair, you can find a digital copy of the owner’s manual by clicking here.

Passengers who have disabilities can board the airplane before all other passengers, even those who have purchased priority boarding. An airline employee is required to assist you if requested. This is usually the case as most people who use power wheelchairs cannot push themselves in a manual wheelchair.

Once the plane has landed and is at the gate, you and anyone else with a disability will be allowed to disembark before other passengers. Your power wheelchair will be returned to you as closely to the plane’s door as possible, whether it be at the jet bridge or at the gate. It should be fully assembled and in the same condition as it was when you checked it before the flight.

It can be intimidating to fly with an electric wheelchair if you have never done it before, but people do it every single day. Don’t hold yourself back from enjoying a vacation or visiting loved ones.