Friday, May 22, 2009

A New and Easier Way of Airline Travel



A New and Easier Way of Airline Travel
By Hardy Huber, TravelScoot inventor

My experience has been, when the entire scooter is stored inside the bag, the airport baggage handler treats it like just another bag and often does not handle it with the proper care. This occasionally leads to damage on scooter and/or bag. Also, airport personnel don’t always realize that they are dealing with a mobility device inside the bag; once in a while they ignore the gate check tag and forward the bag containing the scooter to baggage claim.

Below I describe a way to transport the TravelScoot that allows airport personnel to clearly see that it is a mobility aid. Furthermore, this method practically forces them to use both hands when carrying the TravelScoot (up and down the gangway steps, for example), resulting in more careful handling. I have traveled this way already several times, and not once was my TravelScoot damaged.

Also, when traveling, I no longer fold the TravelScoot, and I leave its carrying bag at home.

Before you start your trip, be organized. Your carry-on luggage shall fit underneath your seat across the trailing arms. Like your carry-on luggage, your check-in luggage should have rollers. You can also take a spare battery.

In order to reduce the number of items you have to deal with while roaming at the airports, best is to pack the back rest and its elbow frame as well as the optional folding basket in your carry-on or checked luggage, and drive the TravelScoot without the back rest. This also makes getting on and off easier when carry-on luggage is placed on the frame (see picture above). The rider can swing his or her leg over the seat from the rear, much like on a man’s bicycle.

At the airport, when you set up your TravelScoot, stack the second battery on top of the main battery. If you are traveling alone, tow your check-in suitcase with your left hand and drive to the check-in counter. Drive slowly because you can apply only one brake.

At the check-in, remain seated so that an employee will understand that you have walking problems. It will happen either at the check-in or more likely at the gate counter, that you will receive the “Gate delivery” tags for the scooter. Ask for a second tag for the heavier batteries.

At the security checkpoint, you can usually bypass the waiting crowd, ask for assistance. They ask you whether or not you can stand up. You could remain seated but be aware that you may be subjected to a body search. To avoid this embarrassing procedure, better stand up and walk the few yards through the x-ray frame. They will perform a security check on your scooter. After you are cleared you can proceed to the gate. Park in the vicinity of the counter. Disabled persons with their equipment are asked to board before the rest of the passengers.

At the door of aircraft you are boarding slide the two handles with the controls out of the T-handle, slide the padded sleeve *1 over it, and lower the steering column almost all the way. Remove the batteries and store them the padded battery bag *2. Remove the batteries and store them the padded battery bag. If you travel with the light batteries, temporarily remove the seat, slide the battery bag's handles over the seat support and replace the seat on the seat support. Now it's a fairly compact item and easy for the airline personnel to handle. If you travel with one or two heavy batteries, the bag must remain separately because of the weight; it shall not be attached to the scooter. Keep in mind that the airline handler (sometimes female) must carry everything up and down the narrow stairs outside the gangway. Ask the gate desk attendant for two gate check tags.

After arrival stay seated until most of the passengers are gone because usually it takes a while until gate checked items are delivered.

Have an enjoyable trip!

15 comments:

  1. how does the bag that came with the scooter that fit over the folded down handles differ from the item that is placed over them in the pictures above?

    and is there something about the bag pictures that holds the batteries, such as padding, or velcro to hold them down?

    I like the idea of storing things this way, as I've been pondering how I will do this when I travel in July (6 flights in less than a month: to and from Australia, 2 within Australia, and to and from D.C.). I do think that having bags with the TravelScoot logo make them look more official, but I have tons of totes that I could use...


    I am also going to post this question here and let's see what happens:

    electricity. what kind of special equipment do I need when I go to Australia? in the past, I had a plug that allowed me to plug a power strip (like one uses for computer equipment) into the wall. Then I could to plug everything else I have into the strip (cell phone, Cpap, etc.) Can I use the same configuration for recharging the TravelScoot battery??

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  2. I haven't gotten mine yet but it looks like the pink bag is made out of thicker material and is more protective than the black bag that shipped with the TravelScoot.

    I don't know the answers to your other questions, at least not yet. :-)

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  3. OK, should one decide to purchase a Travelscoot; how does one get it through the insurance companies? Is Mr. Hardy an "authorized medical dealer"? Is the internet site one? What is the most weight (person; not baggage) that this unit has carried? If the foot pegs are too close together can an adaption be made? I'd love to hear...thanks. DiZimmer@Comcast.net

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  4. Hardy's advice here is great, however, I have modified it slightly. I have two of the smaller (hi tech) batteries on my scooter and when I travel I use a strip of duct tape around each end to secure them to the frame. At the gate I just disconnect the power lead and prep the handles and it's good to go. The attendants are thrilled when I explain how light it is for them to carry! It leaves the batteries open to view so they're not questioning a closed bag. Never had a problem doing it this way.

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  5. Anyone got a measurement on the blackbag that fits under the seat?

    My take is that this scooter is not for amateurs..ha ha...if you have used a Celebrity X or other full size ones it takes a bit of time to get used to the smaller size of this but it is will work.

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  6. I normally stay in Crowne Plaza or Intercontinental hotels worldwide and all have suitable places to plug in chargers at the desks in the rooms.

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  7. Sheri - Los AngelesJune 26, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    Just a couple of notes to airports. If you are able to walk from the gate counter down the gangway to the airplane fold up your scooter and place in the bag to carry-on. I never check my travel scoot. I ride it to the gate then once I check in at the gate counter to make sure I am to pre-board I fold it up and place in the bag and carry on. I have a luggage trolly with wheels, this works great! place the bag up-right on the trolly and it rolls down the airplane aisles with ease. My travel scoot has been on several airlines all over the world and not one has denied me in carrying it on. They are all amazed on how small and light it is

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  8. Does anyone know how I can contact the TravelScoot inventor? Having one has changed my life!

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  9. Go to the TravelScoot.com website and click on the CONTACT US link. That will go to him.

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  10. Does anyone know if I can hire a Travelscoot in Melbourne Australia, with the possible option to buy?

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  11. hi i wanna rent 1 in Sydney Australi to try and maybe buy.
    gillianpelham@aol.com

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  12. Hello, I wanted to share somethings we learned while recently traveling on the airlines with the Travelscoot. On our very first flight, which was only 35 minutes long, the Travelscoot, which we had gate checked and covered with the travel bag sold on the website, arrived with the on/off control box broken off and completely gone. Fortunately the circuitboard and the on/off switch remained, dangling by a wire. We were able to jury-rig it back together for the remaining 27 days of our trip overseas. For the rest of the flights, we continued to gate check it, but we folded the handlebars down and wrapped them with two towels secured by a bungee cord and duct tape. This made a thick padding to protect the controls. We didn't have any further trouble. We are working with Travelscoot and the airlines now to make permanent repairs. Hopefully this will be of help to others planning to fly with the Travelscoot. My husband has MS and the scoot made a world of difference for him. He was able to go on all our excursions and enjoy the sights. We wished it had reverse, but understand how this would add additional weight. Backing out of the elevators on the cruise ship was a pain. We also had to lift the scoot in and out of our cabin door as the door was only 22" wide. If you have an accessbile cabin that would not be an issue. But overall a great machine that has made a difference in our lives! Thanks!

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  13. Does anybody know if my travelscoot can be put on Air New Zealand flight without folding it down?

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  14. It depends on the airport. We asked at perth Internatinal Airport and were told that it wasnt Air New Zealands decision. We couldnt ride it to the gate, it had to be checked in with the luggage. The airport didn't have the facility to take the scoot from the gate to the hold. We checked it in with luggage but put fragile stickers on it so it went with the oversized fragile luggage, but still came out on the bag carousel at NZ, undamaged.

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  15. Thanks for the tips about padding the controls. Great idea.

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