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!