Can you take a Electric Wheelchair on a plane?

Navigating the Skies with Your Electric Wheelchair: A Comprehensive Guide for Air Travel

Electric wheelchairs have revolutionized mobility for individuals worldwide, providing independence and freedom of movement. However, when embarking on air travel, concerns often arise regarding the transportation of these essential devices. Fear not, as this comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of taking your electric wheelchair on a plane, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

Understanding Airline Regulations:

Before embarking on your air travel adventure, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the regulations set forth by the airline you've chosen. Each airline may have slightly different policies regarding electric wheelchairs, so it's essential to check their specific guidelines well in advance of your flight.

General Guidelines for Electric Wheelchairs on Flights:

Despite minor variations between airlines, some general guidelines typically apply:

  1. Pre-notification: 

    Inform the airline about your electric wheelchair at least 48 hours before your flight. This allows them to make necessary arrangements and ensure a seamless travel experience.

  2. Classification:

    Electric wheelchairs are generally classified as either assistive devices or mobility aids. Assistive devices typically accompany passengers in the cabin, while mobility aids are usually stowed in the cargo hold.

  3. Size and Weight Restrictions: 

    Airlines may impose size and weight restrictions for electric wheelchairs. Check the airline's specific guidelines to ensure your device complies.

  4. Battery Regulations:

    Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in electric wheelchairs, have specific regulations for air transport. Consult the airline's battery policies to ensure compliance.

  5. Documentation:

    Carry necessary documentation, such as a manufacturer's certificate or prescription letter, to verify the medical necessity of your electric wheelchair.

Preparing Your Electric Wheelchair for Air Travel:

To ensure a smooth check-in and boarding process, follow these preparation tips:

  1. Charge the Battery: 

    Fully charge your electric wheelchair's battery before the flight to minimize inconvenience during travel.

  2. Disconnect the Battery:

    If possible, disconnect the battery from the wheelchair to comply with airline regulations regarding lithium-ion batteries.

  3. Protect the Wheelchair:

    Use a protective cover or bag to safeguard your electric wheelchair from damage during transportation.

  4. Label the Wheelchair:

    Clearly label your electric wheelchair with your name, contact information, and a description of the device to prevent misidentification.

  5. Remove Loose Items:

    Take off any detachable accessories, such as cushions or footrests, to facilitate handling and storage.

Checking In and Boarding with Your Electric Wheelchair:

  1. Arrive Early:

    Allow ample time for check-in and security procedures to accommodate the special needs associated with your electric wheelchair.

  2. Inform the Check-in Agent:

    Notify the check-in agent about your electric wheelchair and provide any necessary documentation.

  3. Assistance Services:

    Request assistance from airline personnel if required for check-in, boarding, or deplaning.

  4. Boarding Priority:

    In most cases, you'll be granted priority boarding to ensure a smooth transition onto the aircraft.

  5. Stowing the Wheelchair:

    If your electric wheelchair is classified as a mobility aid, it will be carefully stowed in the cargo hold.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Journey:

  1. Choose Direct Flights:

    Opt for direct flights whenever possible to minimize transfers and reduce the risk of handling issues.

  2. Protect Your Rights:

    Be familiar with your rights as a passenger with a disability under air travel regulations.

  3. Seek Assistance:

    Don't hesitate to ask for help from airline staff or ground personnel if you encounter any challenges.

  4. Document Concerns:

    If you experience any issues or damages during your travel, document them promptly to facilitate resolution.


Navigating air travel with your electric wheelchair can be a seamless and rewarding experience when you're well-prepared and informed. By understanding airline regulations, properly preparing your device, and seeking assistance when needed, you can ensure a safe, comfortable, and hassle-free journey. Remember, your electric wheelchair is an extension of your independence, and airlines have a responsibility to accommodate your needs effectively. So, pack your bags, charge your wheelchair, and embark on your next adventure with confidence, knowing that you and your essential mobility aid are well-equipped to conquer the skies.