Canuck600
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Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:56 pm

Seems that the airlines will take better care of a suitcase then a mobility aid. https://wheelchairtravel.org/airlines-d ... 2SsvuqZ07w
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:47 am

Canuck600 wrote:
Seems that the airlines will take better care of a suitcase then a mobility aid. https://wheelchairtravel.org/airlines-d ... 2SsvuqZ07w

I don't think it's that airlines take better care of luggage than mobility aids -- it's kind of an apples and oranges comparison. Luggage is designed to be dropped, tossed, buried, and squeezed. Many mobility aids are not. They are often awkward, sometimes heavy, and generally difficult to deal with, especially if you're by yourself. I'm sure there is truth in assuming there's a not insignificant number of rampers lacking specialized training or experience to handle these devices properly, but a blanket statement that airlines care better for luggage than mobility aids probably isn't accurate. One is simply more breakable and prone to accidental damage than the other.
 
Canuck600
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:25 am

I'll give you that point on power chairs & scooters, but manual chairs are pretty solid. I've seen some really badly bent chairs though. Nicks & scratches I can see but when you start bending aluminum frames that takes some pretty heavy duty forces.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:36 am

Canuck600 wrote:
I'll give you that point on power chairs & scooters, but manual chairs are pretty solid. I've seen some really badly bent chairs though. Nicks & scratches I can see but when you start bending aluminum frames that takes some pretty heavy duty forces.


I don’t know any manual chair that will survive a fall down a set of jet bridge stairs (or really any hard stairs that terminate on concrete) unscathed. Manual chairs aren’t usually heavy but they are awkward if you aren’t used to dealing with them.
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Canuck600
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:50 am

A titanium one might. They might be awkward to deal with but that's no excuse to destroy it while loading it. There are people with mobility issues that are afraid to fly because of this issue.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:30 am

Canuck600 wrote:
I'll give you that point on power chairs & scooters, but manual chairs are pretty solid. I've seen some really badly bent chairs though. Nicks & scratches I can see but when you start bending aluminum frames that takes some pretty heavy duty forces.

That article doesn't specify type of mobility aid or amount/type of damage occurred. If most of the damage is occurring on powered devices, then it's probably because they're heavy, not generally very collapsible, and difficult to manage. And what counts as "mishandled"? Does a scratch or a piece of broken plastic trim count as "mishandled", or is it only referring to damage affecting operation of the device? Or does it also apply in instances where the mobility device doesn't arrive with the passenger, similar to a lost bag?

I'm not trying to defend the airlines here, because I can pretty much guarantee they could improve training and procedures when transporting mobility aids. But given the lack of context and clarity with this data, it's difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions.
 
Canuck600
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:43 am

Fair enough. Will be interesting to see what the results are next quarter.
 
Insertnamehere
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:55 am

From experience, ground handling agents don't have the proper training. I was helping move my grandmother who is wheelchair bound with a motorized wheelchair from Dallas to New York. Upon landing they proceeded to put the wheelchair (which is a good few hundred pounds) at the end of a luggage loader ramp and drive it away. While nothing was thankfully broken it shows that the industry needs to include more training in handling the awkward size and relatively delicate nature of wheelchairs especially the heavier duty ones that include more motor functions other than driving.
 
eugdjinn
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:10 pm

I am in no way disagreeing with you. That said, it is in the fundamental nature of the two: luggage is designed and built to "protect the contents during transport". I don't think we've hit the point mobility devices have been made to travel by baggage hold. I don't have any idea what the best answer is, whether in the long run it would be better if you could rent a matching device at a reasonable rate at your destination, or there was a manufacturer designed foam and hard shipping case like those for instruments that protected mobility devices for air travel with GOOD and safe handholds and lift points that could store at the airport while you visited somewhere? I don't know.

Please do know that everyone at the airport from the supervisors to the baggage officers who handle the damage claims to the ramp team that winds up loading those devices not only tries hard, but fears and loathes them. Not only are we all well aware that damage is a huge problem for their owners, but they are the leading cause of workplace injuries to us, ground equipment not designed to handle them, and to the aircraft. There is no additional time for handling, and it is rare that a passenger with such a device arrives early to allow for the extra logistical challenges to be accommodated. Nor do we often have any idea that a passenger will have such a mobility aid with them. And you are correct, the industry is primarily concerned with training everyone to handle baggage quickly and efficiently, after all, it's the bulk of what we do. On occasion we handle unusual things like motorized wheelchairs, or large wild animals as cargo, and when we are lucky, our wisest and most experienced ramp teams are available to save the day. With all things, your mileage may vary. As long as passengers insist on cheap tickets, wisdom, experience, and the kind of training you want everyone to have may never exist. Air travel is and has always been buyer beware.
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Luggage vs Mobility Aids

Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:03 pm

Many powered wheelchairs will barely fit into the doorway of a cargo hold. Literally millimeters of clearance. The cargo doors on 737’s are usually pretty beat up from power chairs and other bulky cargo that barely fits.

Most power chairs will not fit in a 737 unless they are turned onto their side. These chairs can weigh upwards of 300 pounds. They are not designed to be put on their side but it is literally the only way they will fit on certain airplanes. And some are so massive hat even on their side they will barely fit.

It sucks, but no one is intentionally damaging them. They are just very large and very heavy, going into a very very small space. That small space also has a tendency to make it more difficult to get good leverage or get extra people to help lift. There’s just not much room.
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