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Can I take my knee scooter through the airport? Can I take my knee scooter through the TSA checkpoint? Navigating the airport with a knee scooter, these were some of the questions I researched for my trip to Austin Texas a few weeks ago when I knew I would be traveling via the airport with a knee scooter! When I was doing my research, I couldn’t find a whole lot of information on the subject. I decided to write about my experiences and tell you all how I did getting through the airport on MY knee scooter.
Back in January I slipped and fell on the ice on the sidewalk in front of our house. I dislocated my ankle and fractured my leg. So I had surgery to put it all back together which also meant a steel plate and 9 screws in my leg. They splinted my leg for about 2 weeks after the surgery. I spent another 6 weeks in a pretty purple cast, and another 2 weeks with a walking boot from hell.
When I first heard the diagnosis I knew it would be a while before I was walking again. I started researching my alternatives for getting around. I’ve broken my leg before, and I know crutches torture your arms, but we stopped and bought a pair since they’re a necessary evil with a broken leg! These covers for the arm pads made the crutches tolerable. They saved my armpits! I also researched and purchased this knee scooter, this basket, and this cover from Amazon. I’m glad I invested in all these things. The scooter made my experience much easier. It made getting through the airport with a bum leg possible.
Knee Scooter Airport Travel Tips and Tricks
When I broke my leg, I already had tickets to a blogging conference in Austin (Mom 2.0). I didn’t want to miss out on the experience! BUT I had just gotten my walking boot off, and was still struggling to walk. I really worried about getting into the airport and not being able to get where I needed to go. Walking was still slow and a little painful.
I have to say my airport experience with my knee scooter was overall good… just a couple rocky moments.
The first thing I did was search: Can I take my knee scooter through the airport? I found some great info!
Many articles recommend calling ahead to your airline to confirm you can take your knee scooter all the way to the gate. I did this. The customer service person I reached was very helpful, and answered all my questions. In all the airports I visited it was no problem at all navigating through the airport on my knee scooter.
Can I Get Through The TSA Checkpoint With My Knee Scooter?
My only hiccup was in the TSA check when I was coming home. I sent my scooter through separately both ways since I could walk some on my own. When I was going the TSA had me take the cover off the scooter seat, and I should have done that coming home too. For some reason the scooter set off an alarm, so it had to be checked again, and they took the cover off and sent it through separately and all came back fine the second time. I still of course had to have a full pat down. It wasn’t my first since I travel frequently, and I’m sure it won’t be my last! I got through it.
I made sure to check in at each gate prior to boarding to see if they wanted me to board first (most did, but I didn’t want to assume), or with everyone else. Another important question, ask the gate person what tags you’ll need for your scooter. One important tip I learned, MAKE sure they store your knee scooter with the strollers and wheelchairs, not with the gate checked baggage so you’ll have it as soon as you get off the plane. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until they unload everyone’s roller bags. This is super important if you have a tight connecting flight!
My return flight had less than an hour layover between flights, and I was definitely glad to have my knee scooter to get from one end of the airport to the other! The gate attendant did offer to get me assistance if I needed it, but I asked them how many minutes it would take to walk it normally and they said 10-15, thanked them and decided to get some one legged steps in with my scooter, and save the riding for someone who really needed it. I strapped my Fitbit on my good ankle and headed to my gate!
For the trip I took the basket off the front of my knee scooter, and strapped on a backpack to the front, and carried a smaller backpack on my back. I also had to do a checked bag, it was a wheeled bag that could go in any direction, so I could guide it from my scooter, but I had help on both ends getting that bag in and out of the airport thankfully.
I hope these knee scooter airport travel tips and tricks help you! Do you have tips and tricks for navigating the airport with a knee scooter?
1 thought on “Navigating the Airport With a Knee Scooter”
I just returned from travel using my knee scooter and it was overall a satisfactory experience. I had a CAM boot on my left leg so I couldn’t bear any weight on my left foot (after surgery). I called the airlines (Spirit) ahead of time to confirm their policies on allowing it to be checked at the gate (which they did). The TSA experience was a very good one. I already had precheck but all they did was take me to the side so I could be seated while they did the screening. They asked if I could remove my CAM boot and all they had to do was put the boot through the X-ray and they did a quick ETD swab rest on the scooter. It all took about just 3 minutes. They were very helpful and efficient.
I think the most challenging part was the actual getting to my airplane seat. The airline offered wheelchair assistance (which I did use on one leg of my return trip) but most of the time I just wheeled my scooter down the boarding ramp and then stopped and folded the scooter down and left it at the end of the ramp so they could load it on the plane (like people do with strollers). The challenge then was getting inside the plane to my seat. I had to hop one one leg through the plane door and to my seat. Fortunately I had front toe seats one all my flights (I had already pre planned that) so I didn’t have to hop for too long. I also was traveling with my sister and she also assisted me to my seat and with putting my carry on in the bin compartment above.
So these would be my recommendations;
– Call the airline ahead of time to confirm their knee scooter policies (most allow you to check it in at the gate so you can pick it up as soon as you deplane). Also, you will be able to pre board the plane (when they ask for passengers that need assistance boarding). This is great because it gives you time to wheel your way down the ramp and get to your seat.
Also. Let them know if you need wheelchair at the airport to take you through TSA checkpoint screening and to your gate and with boarding.
– If possible, when reserving your flight, try to get front row seats or at least as close to the front as possible. This makes getting to your seat much easier.
– When it’s time to deplane, keep in mind that your knee scooter may not have been offloaded yet and available for you to pick up as soon as you deplane, so you may have to wait. You can also choose to wait until the majority or all of the passengers have deplaned and by then, your scooter would most likely be ready for you.
– Have a travel companion if possible. In my case, not being able to bear any weight on my left foot made it challenging to get to my seat and storing the carry on bag in the above compartment. Having my sister with me helped a great deal with getting to my seat and helping with my bag.
– Travel light. My carry on was a backpack so it was easier for me to carry it around the airport while on my knee scooter.
– Be patient throughout your travel and prepare yourself mentally for any inconveniences. I travelled during the Thanksgiving holiday which is a very busy period so be ready for the airport hussle and bússel. Spaces may be tight in airport restaurants or eating places.
– if you have a CAM boot on during your travel, once you get to your seat, losen it up. Your foot/leg will likely swell during travel because of the air pressure and because your leg is down throughout the flight.
– At the airport restrooms, use the handicap stall. You’ll have more room to maneuver from your scooter to the toilet and back. Especially when you can’t bear any weight on the foot like it was in my case.
– Contact TSA passenger services ahead of your trip. You can go to AskTSA on Facebook or Twitter and they will give you the contact info for passenger special services, where you can coordinate help with the security screening experience. Alternatively, once they see you with the scooter, they will know you need assistance. They will likely ask you if you can stand or bear weight on your foot and if you can’t they will take you to the side and find you a seat while they screen you and your scooter. In my experience, they were very fast, efficient and kind.
I was very anxious in the days leading to my travels because I did not know what to expect. But overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.