Thursday, June 24, 2010
Singapore 2010 or Don't Get a Blue Sticker from the airlines
Moral of this story: If you remember anything from this post, remember that the lithium ion battery is NOT a wet cell battery. If an airline attempts to tag yours as a wet cell battery, they are making an error. For Hardy Huber's instructions on flying with a TravelScoot, read http://mytravelscoot.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-and-easier-way-of-airline-travel.html. Now let's read what Dean has to report from his whirlwind, worldwide adventures...
Everytime I fly I learn something. What I learned on this trip is to read what the airlines put on your scooter; I didn't think to do it.
Leaving Phoenix US Airways was friendly and allowed me to ride the TravelScoot right up to the door. They commented how nice and light it was and the baggage handler just picked it up and carried it down the steps. When we arrived in Los Angeles it came right back up quickly with the strollers (some of which weigh more than the TravelScoot with battery). I 'scooted' over from Terminal 1 to the Thomas Bradley International and found ANA Airlines. Immediately I could sense there was trouble. The young check-in person asked for the supervisor. The supervisor came out and looked at the battery. I told her it was a lithium battery and non-spillable and offered to give her a copy of the info on the battery but she went back to the backroom. About 10 minutes she came out and said that Tokyo and Singapore had told them I couldn't ride the scooter in their facilities and I would have to check it gate door side here in Los Angeles and pick it back up in Singapore. I hadn't bothered to read the blue sticker that said in bright letters WET CELL; the kiss of death on airlines. When I went to check-in at ANA's gate there was a whole crew waiting for me and they announced that they had upgraded me to Business class so they made me feel good but then it started. They came with a large plastic bag and asked if I wanted them to take care of my battery. I showed them that I would just take it out and put it in the TravelScoot bag.
They then wrapped my TravelScoot battery bag and taped it shut and then wrapped the TravelScoot in a protective bag. Three large baggage handlers came and when they picked up the TravelScoot laughed when they realized that it only weighed 35 pounds. The gate boss told me that whoever invented this machine should do well because everyone would love it and the work of the machine appeared excellent.
I went onto the plane and was treated well. I sat next to a 22 year old female corpsman in the Navy who was stationed in Japan and she told me interesting stories about the young people in our military these days and also showed me her tattos; it is a new era. I have to admit I hate having to ride in wheelchairs and in Tokyo it was as usual: small cramped wheelchair with a 110 pound woman trying to push me a mile to the gate but I went along. When I got to Singapore, a wheelchair appeared and they took me to baggage and there was my TravelScoot on a cart all wrapped up. I told them I would put it back together but they said No, we have been instructed to take this outside the baggage area to give to you so they pushed me out in a wheelchair and then I assembled the TravelScoot and pulling my bag went to the closeby hotel in the Terminal and went to bed. Today at dinner I looked at the sticker and realized they had put the kiss of death on me by declaring it a wetcell.
I am going to write TravelScoot and suggest they have a sticker made up in Chinese/Japanese/French/Russian that says Dry Cell, non-spillable that we could attach to our batteries.
Still I am enjoying being able to run around to restaurants, etc. easily on the TravelScoot and the lithium battery is showing great capacity. I haven't run it down yet despite going long distances.
Today I'll be riding the trains a bit so it should be fun.
TravelScooting in Singapore