Sunday, September 6, 2009

iBOT air travel tips

Have you taken your iBOT on an airplane? And if so, how did it go?

A few months after I got my iBOT I went to Disneyland with my daughter, mother, and sister. I wanted to take my iBOT but I was worried about two things.

1. The airlines are notorious for messing up power chairs. I've never traveled with a power chair, but I've read numerous stories about the damage done to other people's chairs. I don't doubt the stories one bit. I know that when I travel with my manual, it often comes back to me not quite the same as it was before I surrendered it to the baggage handlers.

2. Transportation from airport to hotel. The iBOT does not fit in the trunk of taxi cabs.

I debated for a long time about taking my iBOT or my manual. I ended up taking my manual. If I were to do it again, I'd take my iBOT.


I make almost all of my purchases on one credit card. Over the years I've accumalated enough points for 2 free airline tickets to Europe. I'm thinking about taking my daughter to Barcelona during 2010 spring break. I admit that I'm concerned about the airlines breaking the bot, but traveling with the bot is one of the reasons I bought it in the first place.

If and when my daughter and I go to Europe, I'm taking the iBOT.

Honestly, if I didn't have the iBOT, I doubt I would even plan a trip to Europe.

I've been to Europe in a manual chair, but that was when I was in my early 20s and there was always young strong men to help me with any obstacle I might come across. Now that I'm middle aged, the young 'uns ain't so eager to help. At 20 years old, I would be offered help before I knew I needed it. At 39, I often have to ask for it, and the older I get, the less comfortable I am doing that.

If and when we go, I'll also take my manual in case something did happen to the iBOT. Getting to Barcelona with a broken wheelchair and no back-up wouldn't be much fun.

Copied from Independence Technologies here are some air travel tips:

We are providing you with some air travel tips that can help make your exploration to new locations smoother. Preparation is the key to success, so please review the following tips to guide you in your travel.

Notify airlines that you’ll be taking your iBOT® Mobility System and discuss loading/placement on the plane. If asked about the iBOT® Mobility System’s folded dimensions, please provide the following:
Length: 32 - 36 in. (without legrest)
Width: 25 - 29 in (dependent on armrest position)
Height: 44 in (Non-fold flat seat) 29 in (Fold-flat seat)
Approx. Weight: 289 lbs unoccupied
Recommend removing all removable components to prevent damage i.e. leg rests, cushion (if removable), User Control Panel, and place in a separate bag. (Note: Make sure when you are re-attaching the UCP Cable with the UCP, you line up the keyed features between the UCP Cable and the UCP. Once in position rotate the collar a quarter turn to lock the UCP Cable in place.)
It is recommended that you protect any of the plastic components to prevent damage:
UCP Cable- Wrap the connector with bubble wrap and tuck it into the swingarm to protect it.
Back Shroud containing the reflectors and Assist Button-Wrap some foam padding around it to protect from unwanted damage.
Instruct the airline carrier on how to release and engage the brake lever and move the product. Point out the tie-down points for attachment inside the plane. Remember to bring your travel placard along and tape it to the product in order to educate your arrival airport attendants!
If the airlines recommend battery removal, point out the batteries are bolted onto the device, they are NiCad batteries (not lead acid, they are "dry cell"), and they are not operable unless powered ON, which is prevented by removing the UCP.
Depending on your travel location and the terrains you may encounter, it is recommended that you take a few spare tubes and tires. It is better to be prepared.
*One of our world traveler owners reported using an oversized raincoat to wrap around the iBOT® Mobility System to help protect the seat upholstery when in the cargo area of the plane.