Posts Tagged ‘multiple sclerosis blogs’
By Gary Johnson
I thought I’d write an article about travelling with an electric scooter. This info is what I wanted to know when I was planning to vacation with a scooter, so it could be helpful to someone else planning a similar trip.
Recently I vacationed in Cuba. I’d vacationed there last year but had taken only a wheelchair. This time, I took my ‘Go-Go Elite Traveller’ scooter. This is now my preferred method of having vacation mobility. I’m a heavy guy. Pushing me around in a wheelchair cannot be easy. Having a scooter gave me independence because I didn’t have to wait on or rely on someone to push me in a wheelchair. Having battery power, I rarely needed assistance; just a small push to help climb one steep bridge on the pathway to the beach.
I travel with my wife and in-laws. They tell friends how great it is to travel with someone who is disabled. The airline check-in counter agents pull you and your group out of line and give you all priority service. If you’ve made them aware of your special handicap and scooter situation at the time of your trip booking, they’ll be waiting and watching for you.
When departing from the Toronto Pearson airport, my scooter received just two tags; one for the battery and one on the base. I’ve been told by MS friends that because the battery is a Gel type, it can safely be left attached to the scooter. But I didn’t argue with airline policy. Since I kept my scooter until airplane boarding, I rode it to go through security. I simply drove through the security metal detector door frame, then got off the scooter and walked back out and through the arch again, using the security person and my cane for balance assistance. My scooter got wanded by the metal checker and the seat pocket was searched. They found my wife’s long lost gloves (but sadly, not our missing 2nd set of van keys). When waved over to pre-board the plane, my wife showed the boarding rep how the scooter broke into four pieces (battery, seat, rear wheels, and base platform), as well as how to set the wheels in Neutral or Locked positions. However, my scooter travelled in just two pieces; the battery was separate but the rest of the scooter remained totally assembled.
Upon arrival at the Cuban airport, I was met on the runway tarmac by a rep with a wheelchair. They breezed our entire group through immigration and helped us retrieve the scooter from the baggage claims area. I then transferred from the wheelchair and scooted to our resort Bus where my wife disassembled the scooter for easy packing and transport. When we reached our resort, she sat me in a lobby chair until she brought me the fully assembled scooter.
Cuba power has no ‘ground’. My scooter battery charger does. I’d bought a 3-prong extension cord and cut-off the ground prong. I also brought along a power conversion adapter with a 2-prong plug-in for using the Cuba electrical outlets. This worked great, and since I rode my scooter a lot every day, I charged the battery each night. My Cuban resort was the ‘NH Krystal’ in Cayo Coco, Cuba…it was TOTALLY accessible with ramps and pathways.
When departing from Cuba, I transferred to a wheelchair at the check-in counter and my scooter went through the baggage check-in, along with our suitcases.
Upon arrival back in Toronto, my scooter was delivered to the ‘oversize baggage’ counter in the suitcase return area. It was very cold from the trip in the plane’s cargo hold at 37 thousand feet and it took me several tries powering it on and off before it was warmed up enough to move. When it finally moved, I scootered to our parked vehicle and we drove home.
The whole scooter travel experience went smoothly and really couldn’t have been easier. I will definitely take my scooter on future trips. If you don’t already do so, I urge you to bring a scooter on your next airplane trip.
Note: Many components on scooters are made through the process of rollforming.