Traveling by Air Tips
Traveling With Your Wheelchair or Scooter
If you travel by wheelchair or travel by scooter, make sure your wheelchair or scooter is in good working order before you leave home. If your chair has not been serviced recently, send it to a repair shop for a general check over. This extra effort can save the heartache of suffering a breakdown overseas; save the time wasted trying to locate a repair shop and save the time wasted waiting for the repair.
For domestic travel, place your name and address on your wheelchair and on all removable parts before leaving home. A return address, sticky mailing label covered by a piece of clear tape works well for this task. However for international travel during times of heightened security, consider using a label that displays only your name
If your wheelchair is equipped with pneumatic tires, bring along a small repair kit containing the items necessary to change a flat. Bicycle repair shops have all types of nifty, compact, repair kits you can bring along. Access in Europe and other parts of the globe is not only different than access in your home town - it's also farther away from your local resources. For this reason, make sure your equipment is in top working order before leaving home.
Cruise Travel: Tender vs. Docking
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To "see" tender photographs click HERE
To "tender" is to disembark the ship by a small boat that is used to ferry passengers to shore from a ship at anchor. During a tender operation the ship is not at a pier and can be as far as 1/2 mile from shore. Disembarking by tender is handled differently by every cruise line but most provide plenty of hearty physical assistance to carry your wheelchair onto the tender. Passenger disembarkation by tender is always under the final control of the ship Captain. Weather, sea and tidal conditions, or mechanical failure can prohibit some or all of the passengers from disembarking the ship by tender.
Disembarking at a pier can involve three forms of assistance. If you are mobile, you can walk down the gangway with assistance. If you are a mandatory wheelchair traveler, the crew can gently carry you down the gangway in your wheelchair (if you don't mind), or the crew will use what we call "the creepy crawler" to mechanically take you and your wheelchair down the gangway. The "creepy crawler" mounts under your wheelchair and actually "walks" your wheelchair down the stairs of the gangway while you remain seated in your wheelchair. Some folks like the "creepy crawler" while others like the personal attention of being carried down the gangway by hearty men.
If you bring a scooter or an electric wheelchair on your cruise, you can not expect the crew to carry you off the ship while you are seated in your electric wheelchair or scooter. There's too much weight, too much bulk and the center of gravity is too high to attempt a seated transfer. To safely disembark in an electric wheelchair or scooter at a pier, or by tender, you should transfer into a manual wheelchair and be portered down the gangway separate from your scooter or electric wheelchair. At the bottom of the gangway the crew will reunite you with your chariot...and off you go.Travel By Airplane
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