Airline Travel with a Walker need your help

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#1
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi, I was hoping someone would be able to help me with this. When I travel I use a wheelchair. I have a lot of trouble walking long distances. I have flown many times with my wheelchair, no problems there we know what to do. My problem is this!!!!! This trip I now have to travel with a walker instead of a cane. I am not sure how I should do this. Will the airline let me bring the walker on the plane? Will security let me bring it through with me? Should I some how put the walker in my luggage? I'm not sure I can even do that. I don't think it's going to fit. Should I some how check the walker with our luggage? Will they let me do that? Will they charge me for it? Please help I don't know what I should do.

Thank you,
Rhonda
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#2
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by windham depot
Hi, I was hoping someone would be able to help me with this. When I travel I use a wheelchair. I have a lot of trouble walking long distances. I have flown many times with my wheelchair, no problems there we know what to do. My problem is this!!!!! This trip I now have to travel with a walker instead of a cane. I am not sure how I should do this. Will the airline let me bring the walker on the plane? Will security let me bring it through with me? Should I some how put the walker in my luggage? I'm not sure I can even do that. I don't think it's going to fit. Should I some how check the walker with our luggage? Will they let me do that? Will they charge me for it? Please help I don't know what I should do.

Thank you,
Rhonda
First, RELAX! Your walker is part of "you". Use it! Yes, the walker will go on the plane with you (presumably it folds?) They'll stow it in the closet.

You DON"T need to put it in your luggage. If you don't need it (but then, why do you have it?) you can check it as luggage, but I'd worry that it would get damaged. I would simply use it.

No, they won't charge you for it.

Here is what you should do: Show up at the airport, using the walker. Ask for wheelchair assistance through security and to my gate. They'll put you in the chair, and carry your walker alongside you (or if you're traveling with a companion, he can carry the walker). When you get to security, they'll put your walker through the security screening with your shoes and carry-on. Then you'll proceed to the gate. You get to your gate, and ask for early seating. Once you're seated, they'll fold up your walker, stow it somewhere in the passenger section of the plane, and have it ready for you when you get off. This is not a big deal, and actually a bit easier than traveling with a manual chair or scooter.

Have a great trip!
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#3
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Uppitycats, Thank you so very much for you response. Not having to fly with my walkert before I was not sure how security or the airline would handle it. If you have disabilities you know that you never go any where without thinking things through a head of time. I feel like I'm always planning a head. You have eased my mind a lot!!!!!!!! We've been traveling with a wheelchair for a very long time but, I use to use a cane which is easy to travel with and now I need the walker. Thank you so much or answering.

Rhonda
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#4
Hickory, NC USA
3,285 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Rhonda, do you have a standard walker or a rollator? I have both and find the rolling one much easier to travel with. The standard walker is larger than the aisle in the plane and if you don't want to walk sideways to your seat is a problem. All planes do not have a closet so the walker may be put in the plane bottom and if it is you just have to wait for it to come up to the door of the plane. Also use of the closet is on a first come first serve basis so if someone else using a wheelchair or walker checks in before you then your walker will go in the hold rather than the closet. I hope this helps. I now travel with a scooter and a rollator. Sometimes I check the scooter and take an airport wheelchair to the gate and then use the walker for boarding. Other times I have checked the walker and ridden the scooter to the gate.
#5
Ottawa, Illinois
3,905 Posts
Joined May 2009
You can also request a wheel chair to pick you up when your plane lands.
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#6
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by katisdale
Rhonda, do you have a standard walker or a rollator? I have both and find the rolling one much easier to travel with. The standard walker is larger than the aisle in the plane and if you don't want to walk sideways to your seat is a problem. All planes do not have a closet so the walker may be put in the plane bottom and if it is you just have to wait for it to come up to the door of the plane. Also use of the closet is on a first come first serve basis so if someone else using a wheelchair or walker checks in before you then your walker will go in the hold rather than the closet. I hope this helps. I now travel with a scooter and a rollator. Sometimes I check the scooter and take an airport wheelchair to the gate and then use the walker for boarding. Other times I have checked the walker and ridden the scooter to the gate.

Thank you Katisdale, I appreciate your help. I have a standard walker not a rollator. I am usually one of the first people on the plane so, maybe I'll get lucky.

Rhonda
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#7
Auckland NZ
1,498 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by uppitycats
First, RELAX! Your walker is part of "you". Use it! Yes, the walker will go on the plane with you (presumably it folds?) They'll stow it in the closet.

You DON"T need to put it in your luggage. If you don't need it (but then, why do you have it?) you can check it as luggage, but I'd worry that it would get damaged. I would simply use it.

No, they won't charge you for it.

Here is what you should do: Show up at the airport, using the walker. Ask for wheelchair assistance through security and to my gate. They'll put you in the chair, and carry your walker alongside you (or if you're traveling with a companion, he can carry the walker). When you get to security, they'll put your walker through the security screening with your shoes and carry-on. Then you'll proceed to the gate. You get to your gate, and ask for early seating. Once you're seated, they'll fold up your walker, stow it somewhere in the passenger section of the plane, and have it ready for you when you get off. This is not a big deal, and actually a bit easier than traveling with a manual chair or scooter.

Have a great trip!
Thanks uppitycat - had exactly the same issue. But I was going to put my walker in as luggage, as we always have enough to worry about just using an airport wheelchair! I know there is always the risk of the walker being damaged but I think it may be less hassle.

Once left my cushion on the transit chair - that caused a fuss! Long story but I did get it back, despite not having my name on it! It is now named!
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#8
midwest
770 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
I travelled with my mother when she used a walker and the walker went with her into the plane....the steward/stewardess with take good care of you and your walker.
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#9
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Thank you all so much for your help. I felt a little weird about asking all of you for advice about this but, I wanted to know what to expect. I am so glad I asked because you all made me feel so much better about traveling with my walker. Thank you agan.

Rhonda
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#11
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Bobed1927
If you're walking to the gate with your rollater what do you do with your carry-on bags?
Either have a travelling companion carry them, or use a backpack. Or some rollators have baskets, some have straps that you can use to tie them on. But given how long the passages are in an airport, why walk when you can get a ride, either by requesting a wheelchair, or in some airports, taking advantage of the carts they use to transport folks?
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#12
Garnett, KS
2,960 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
When my mom still used a walker they always said there wasnt room for it in the closet. They always made us gate check it. Not to worry, either way they will take care of it for you.
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#13
Albuquerque, New Mexico
12,609 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Bobed1927
If you're walking to the gate with your rollater what do you do with your carry-on bags?

As soon as I get out of the car, I unfold my rollator and ask for a sky cap with a wheel chair for assistance to the gate.

A sky cap comes with a wheel chair and I then check my luggage and my rollator at check in. I make sure that the check in personnel tape the legs together so that the legs do not open on their own and get damaged in the process, they also usually place it in a clear plastic bag.

The sky cap then wheels me, with my carry on(s) and Portable Oxygen through TSA and right up to the Boarding Gate, where they park me and get my Pre Boarding Pass for me. I then tip them anywhere from $3.00 - $10.00 USD depending on how many bags and carry on bags I had/have.

The Gate Person wheels me in the wheel chair to the plane where I use the seats to keep my balance and get to my seat.

Same thing in reverse when off loading from the plane, except I have the sky cap take me to outside terminal nearest the luggage carousel where our luggage will be. Hubby then brings his carry on bags to me and he then goes back in and gets my walker and our luggage. I then sit with the luggage while he either gets our rental car or our hotel transfer arranged.

Joanie
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#14
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by IRL_Joanie

As soon as I get out of the car, I unfold my rollator and ask for a sky cap with a wheel chair for assistance to the gate.

A sky cap comes with a wheel chair and I then check my luggage and my rollator at check in. I make sure that the check in personnel tape the legs together so that the legs do not open on their own and get damaged in the process, they also usually place it in a clear plastic bag.

The sky cap then wheels me, with my carry on(s) and Portable Oxygen through TSA and right up to the Boarding Gate, where they park me and get my Pre Boarding Pass for me. I then tip them anywhere from $3.00 - $10.00 USD depending on how many bags and carry on bags I had/have.

The Gate Person wheels me in the wheel chair to the plane where I use the seats to keep my balance and get to my seat.

Same thing in reverse when off loading from the plane, except I have the sky cap take me to outside terminal nearest the luggage carousel where our luggage will be. Hubby then brings his carry on bags to me and he then goes back in and gets my walker and our luggage. I then sit with the luggage while he either gets our rental car or our hotel transfer arranged.

Joanie

Thank you Joanie, I appreciate your help.

Rhonda
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</center>Navigator of the Seas 2014
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#15
Moon Township, Pa
23,136 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Rhonda, you need to find what kind of plane you're flying on. That makes a huge difference. Now, so many airlines are using those terrible (for disabled persons) CRJ's and ERJ's, which are those small regional jets. A walker won't fit in the overhead (the biggest thing those things fit are small backpacks) and there are no closets on those planes. So if you're flying one of those, they will have to gate tag it and they will put it in the luggage hold. I hope you're in a bigger plane. Lately, I've been stuck flying the regional jets, and for someone with walking problems, those small planes are a nightmare. VERY little legroom, and you can't walk down the aisles with a walker---the aisle is way too narrow.
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Darcie
#16
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I live in central Wisconsin and have to fly a regional jet to a larger airport, and yes, they will stow your walker (or wheelchair or whatever) in the hold, as it won't fit on board.

Also if you need to do this -- fly from a small airport to a larger one -- and use a wheelchair like me, make sure that you will be able to even get on the smaller plane! For a long time there were no jetways at my small airport, and no way for me to even be pushed on board! I had to drive 5 hours one way or 3 hours another to get to a larger airport before I could even get on a plane to get to a port!
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#17
New Hampshire
2,441 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by uppitycats
I live in central Wisconsin and have to fly a regional jet to a larger airport, and yes, they will stow your walker (or wheelchair or whatever) in the hold, as it won't fit on board.

Also if you need to do this -- fly from a small airport to a larger one -- and use a wheelchair like me, make sure that you will be able to even get on the smaller plane! For a long time there were no jetways at my small airport, and no way for me to even be pushed on board! I had to drive 5 hours one way or 3 hours another to get to a larger airport before I could even get on a plane to get to a port!

We fly out of Logan in Boston so I don't think that will be a problem but, thanks for that advice.

Rhonda
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</center>Navigator of the Seas 2014
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#18
Moon Township, Pa
23,136 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Even large airports are served by those small regional jets, so you need to make sure what you're flying on.
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Darcie
#19
Corpus Christi, TX
1,529 Posts
Joined May 2008
Just to put in my two cents, every time you fly it is likely to be a new adventure. I have gone from wheelchair to walker to rollator on the past several cruises and flights and each one is different, depending not only on which airport but which personnel are on duty.
Overseas flights often have closets but fill them on a first come, first serve basis so it is good to call the airline's special services number in advance. There are still some major airports in Europe which use stairs, meaning you will be lifted in and out through the galley, in an enclosed cherry picker sort of device. I got to experience this in Frankfurt last month and it was very interesting.
Good luck and enjoy,
GC