How to Pack Wheelchair for Flight

Flying with a wheelchair can be a daunting experience, but with a little bit of preparation and planning, you can ensure that your wheelchair arrives at your destination in the same condition it was when you boarded the flight. 

Here are some helpful tips on how to pack your wheelchair for a flight

1. Choose the Right Wheelchair Bag

Before you start packing your wheelchair, it’s important to choose the right bag. There are a variety of bags on the market that are specifically designed for wheelchairs. Make sure to choose a bag that is large enough to accommodate your wheelchair but not so large that it becomes difficult to maneuver through the airport. It’s also important to choose a bag that is sturdy and durable to protect your wheelchair during the flight.

2. Remove any loose parts

When packing your wheelchair for a flight, it’s important to remove any loose parts that may become damaged or lost during transit. This includes detachable footrests, cushions, and other accessories. Keep these parts in a separate bag that you can carry onto the flight with you.

3. Secure the chair

Next, you will need to secure the chair to prevent it from moving around in the bag during the flight. Use straps or bungee cords to secure the wheelchair to the bag. This will prevent any unnecessary movement that could cause damage to the wheelchair.

4. Mark the Bag

Make sure to mark the bag with your name, contact information, and any special instructions for handling the wheelchair. This will help ensure that your wheelchair is delivered to the correct location and that any special needs are met.

5. Inform the Airline

Make sure to inform the airline that you will be traveling with a wheelchair. They can provide assistance and make sure that your wheelchair is handled properly. You may also need to fill out special forms or provide additional information about your wheelchair.

6. Arrive Early

Arrive at the airport early to give yourself plenty of time to check in your wheelchair and navigate through security. Make sure to inform the airline staff that you have a wheelchair and that you will need assistance boarding the plane.

7. Be Prepared for Inspection

Your wheelchair may need to be inspected by airport security. Be prepared to explain how your wheelchair works and any special needs you may have. Make sure to remove any loose items from the chair before going through security.

8. Know Your Rights

It’s important to know your rights when traveling with a wheelchair. The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to provide accommodations for passengers with disabilities. This includes providing assistance with boarding and deplaning, as well as providing accessible seating and storage for wheelchairs.

9. Consider Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your wheelchair in case of damage or loss during transit. Make sure to read the policy carefully to ensure that it covers your specific needs.

10. Relax and Enjoy Your Trip!

With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a stress-free trip with your wheelchair. Remember to relax and enjoy your trip, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it.

How much does it cost to take a wheelchair on a plane? 

The cost of taking a wheelchair on a plane varies by airline and type of service required. Most airlines do not charge for standard wheelchair transport, but additional services such as electric wheelchair or scooter transport, oversized baggage fees, or baggage handling fees may apply.

Here’s what I know.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Airlines provide wheelchair transport free of charge, and electric wheelchairs or scooters can be transported for an additional fee. 

Oversized baggage fees may apply if the wheelchair exceeds the size and weight limit for regular checked baggage. Baggage handling fees may apply if assistance is required to check-in or retrieve the wheelchair at the destination.

It’s important to note that the fees and policies may vary depending on the type of ticket, destination, and special needs of the passenger. It’s best to check with the specific airline for their policies and fees for wheelchair transport and any additional services.

Does a wheelchair count as luggage?

Yes, a wheelchair typically counts as luggage when traveling by plane. However, it is generally considered a piece of medical equipment, which means it should not count against your baggage allowance, and it should not incur any additional baggage fees. Different airlines may have their own policies regarding wheelchairs, so it is always best to check with your specific airline before traveling.


Traveling with a wheelchair can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can make the experience a lot smoother. Remember to choose the right bag, remove any loose parts, secure the chair, and mark the bag with your name and contact information. 

Inform the airline that you will be traveling with a wheelchair and arrive early to allow plenty of time to check in your chair and navigate through security. 

Know your rights as a passenger with a disability and consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your wheelchair during transit.

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