Monday, November 9, 2009

Nancy's American Airlines Adventure

From Nancy:

I recently flew American Airlines to and back from Oklahoma City using my travelscoot junior with the regular size 23 gram LiO, lithium ion battery. In all cases I gate checked the scooter and rolled to the airplane door. On flyout I used Hardy's method with the battery and the back up battery in a separate insulated grocery bag. It worked, but took time for take down.

In Dallas, I had to change planes and to do so I had to take a monorail. Did alright on the train, but a little hard to hold on to something and keep the brakes on. Anyhow, I ran into to the same scooter handling that that you did in Dallas. I did take a spill since I was going too fast and there was a 90 degree turn in the jet way. However, two attendends (one of which may have been "Scoot") picked me up and I continued on. I really do need to learn to slow down. At the door, the lady wanted me to leave the scooter functional and then drive it away. I was not entirely comfortable with that. When I arrived at Oklahoma City, the scooter and battery bag were waiting for me out side the airplane door. It looked like the battery, had been left on the scooter and just some paper stickers put over the red connectors. However, everything worked well and I had a wonderful visit in Oklahoma.

On flyback, I did not have to change planes and gate checked the scooter the entire way even though we did have a short stopover in Dallas. I had UPS shipped the spare battery, which I did not need, back with my luggage. I did have the charger with me, but did not need to use it. I was pleasantly surprised when the airplane steward in Oklahoma City suggested I bring the battery on the plane with me which I did. It was enclosed in original styrofoam packaging and in the insulated grocery bag and fit easily in the luggage area on the plane. Really, one of the three air travel regulations on batteries also suggested this.

I had all three (albeit inconsistent) air travel battery regulations printed out and with me but I did not have to use them. After removing the battery, I just put bubble wrap and the original handlebar bag over the right handle and battery indicator and snugged it up. I watch the cargo chief unload my travelscoot when I got to my destination since I have to wait until everyone else gets off. He just rolled it on the tar mat to the steps up to the jet way and easily carried it up to the door of the jetway with one hand. He did carry it by the tiller above the clamp, so it would have been possible for the handle to come off, but I had it clamped tight, and it did not. Don't think it would have had any damage had it come apart. Anyhow, I had quite an audience as I replaced the battery outside of the plane door including the flight captain. I told him that the inventor was a small plane pilot and that the small lightweight battery was something new that would power the electric cars of the future. I did have a little too much help and the connector was put together too tight, but otherwise, they were all quite surprised as I easily went up the little ramp in the jet way and on my way. I'll have to admit the flight back was the best airline trip yet with the travel scoot.

Fly out again this Sunday to Key West. I do plan to look for that neoprene wine cooler which will be smaller than the insulated grocery bag and easier to slip into my carry on backpack (except in Dallas). Now if somebody can invent a wheelchair version of the travel scoot (strong, lightweight aluminum, lithium ion battery,and all parts visible, repairable, upgradable and replacable) the entire world of assistive mobility technology will be changed forever more.


  1. The industry standard for battery connectors is the Anderson pole power connector. I replaced the problamatic battery connector on my Travelscoot. They never jam are are a lot easier to use. I wll share more when I return from my cruise.

  2. Great. I'll be interested in how you did that. I drew a line with a magic marker on my connector so that good intentioned folks would not connect it all the way in.