Within the last eight years, studies have found that the use of canes and other mobility devices has grown by almost 50%. Despite this increase in the need for mobility-oriented assistance, everyone still deserves the joys and adventures that come with air travel. Fortunately, the short answer to whether you can bring a rollator on a plane is yes. In this blog post, we will explore the process, procedures, and potential challenges that those looking to travel with their rollators should be aware of in order to ensure a smooth and pleasant airline experience.
How to Find Out Whether You Can Take a Rollator On a Plane
Overall, it's a good idea for those wishing to bring their rollator on a plane to call ahead to their airline's customer support team either before or during the booking process. A staff member will be able to inform you of the standards and procedures that the airline and passengers must follow, from the process that begins with the passenger moving through security clearance to the time the passenger is on the plane and needs assistance to safely store their rollator. Additionally, the customer service team at the airline will be able to answer any questions you may have or notify you of any unique aspects of your situation.
Steps for Safely Bringing a Rollator On a Plane
It's crucial for those wishing to bring a rollator on a plane to call their local airline in advance of booking their flight to acquire information about the policies and restrictions that may apply to bringing mobility devices on your travels.
Measure Your Rollator:
Generally speaking, most airlines have no problem allowing rollators on a plane if they are lightweight and foldable. The size and bulk of the rollator may determine where in the airport a rollator should be checked, such as whether it should be checked at the gate or ticket counter. Below are some of the TSA's travel tips that detail specific guidelines for the weight and dimensions of items brought into airports:
- Only collapsible, lightweight strollers that weigh up to 20 lbs/90 kgs can be checked at the gate. Strollers or mobility items that exceed this weight limit may need to be checked at a ticket center.
- The overall weight limit for carry-on items brought into the cabin must not exceed 12 kg/26 lb and must not exceed the dimensions of 55 x 35 x 25 cm. These dimensions include the size of the rollator's wheels, pockets, and handles.
Going Through Security Clearance - How to Avoid Losing Your Rollator in the Airport
As with every item brought into the airport and onto a plane, there can be a rigorous check-in and security clearance process. Since lightweight and foldable rollators can easily get lost within airports, it is recommended to follow these tips:
- Document the Rollator's Appearance: Take clear photos of your rollator from all sides and document the manufacturing number if applicable. This can be a helpful reference for airport staff if they find a lost rollator or stroller and need to determine its owner.
- Remove Unnecessary Items: In some instances, rollators themselves do not need to go through the security clearance process at airports since they are classified as necessary mobility aids. However, personal items should be removed from pockets and other storage areas within the rollator and placed in an x-ray screening bin for inspection. This may include items like keys, phones, and wallets.
- Ensure That Your Rollator Has a Delivery Tag: While most rollators are small enough to fit into overhead bins, larger and heavier rollators may be given a delivery sticker and placed in the cargo hold of the plane. Cargo rollators are labeled with a delivery sticker for tracking purposes. It is recommended to pay attention to the appearance of this delivery sticker to confirm that you have the right rollator once you disembark.
How to Fold a Rollator
If you need to securely store your rollator in a plane's overhead cabin, having a step-by-step guide on folding your rollator can be handy. Here is how a rollator can be properly folded:
- Lock the brakes.
- Lift the seat flap.
- Grab the crossbar and pull it up until the rollator folds and becomes flattened.
- If your rollator has a handle inside the storage basket, you can pull it instead of pulling the crossbar.
- Once it locks, you will hear a click.
Know Your Rights
According to the UK Department for Transport, airlines are required to provide assistance to passengers with disabilities and ensure their rights are protected. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you can seek assistance from the airline's Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) free of charge. The CRO is knowledgeable in handling issues related to disability accommodation and can help address any concerns to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Other Policies to Consider:
The Equality Act 2010: The Equality Act in the UK prohibits airlines from discriminating against passengers based on their disability. This act ensures that individuals with disabilities have equal access to air travel and appropriate assistance during their journey.
What Are the Potential Costs of Bringing a Rollator on a Plane?
The good news is that if your rollator is too large to be considered a carry-on item, it can usually be stored as checked baggage at no additional cost. In cases where your rollator is lost or damaged, the airline is responsible for providing appropriate compensation.
Fortunately, passengers are allowed to bring their rollators on planes in accordance with the regulations set by the UK Department for Transport. It is important to familiarise yourself with the specific policies and procedures of your chosen airline to ensure a smooth travel experience. By following the guidelines provided by the airline and properly documenting your rollator, you can enjoy your travel adventures without hindrance.