Mobility scooters travel by air or sea

I’m thinking about buying my first mobility scooter with the view of travelling abroad by either plane or boat and I wonder how difficult or easy it is to do so.

So it’s caused me to wonder:

  • What make or sort of mobility scooter do the travel companies prefer to carry?
  • What limitations do they place on weight or design?
  • What is the extent of their legal obligation regarding carrying mobility scooters for disabled passengerd?
  • What problems have people experienced and how did they overcome these?

Travelling by aircraft seems a daunting experience for anyone Disabled in wheelchair or not, but in reality it isn’t it can be a seamless experience as you are helped every step of the way, (that’s not meant as a pun).

I worked for British Airways for 26 years, as such travelled to many parts of the World. In fact in 1988 I travelled twice around the World, some 48,000 miles in 5 days on aircraft, sponsored for Charity. Not something I would recommend but shows you it is possible.

Stick to these guidelines and you will really enjoy the experience. First on booking your flight tell them you would like assistance from check-in to the gate. This could be a wheelchair with someone pushing or a lift on a Golf type buggy. The gate could be over one mile away so don’t think your doing any favour’s by not asking for help. The aircraft has a certain slot for take off, if you are late because of walking difficulties, THE AIRCRAFT HAS TO GO without you, otherwise it costs mega bucks.

If you have problems walking down the isle when you get aircraft side, no problem, quite a few aircraft now have small wheelchairs especially to take people up and down the isle. If you can’t walk whatsoever, no problem, tell them and facilities will be put in place from check-in to take you to the aircraft by ambulance, high lift you to the aircraft and trained medical staff to lift you in the seat. The golden rule here is ‘tell them.’

With some airlines you can pre-book your seat. If so get one that has more leg room and near the toilets, probably a bulkhead seat. The Civil Aviation Authority has made a ruling that no Disabled person can have a seat by an Emergency Exit for obvious reasons.

If for some reason you get to your destination and your wheelchair is missing or worse still damaged it is the airlines, or should I say good airlines signed up to something called the Haig Protocol to restore or repair your chair, see the airlines staff.

I remember I went to San Diego from Gatwick once and they left my chair behind. I was in a rush had to go down to Tijuana and the only one they had to loan me had a large sign above my head saying ‘AVIS Rent a Car.’ The times I was stopped in my Hotel by people saying “hey fella, where can I get a car.”### ### Have a good time, don’t worry as far as flying and ships are concerned you will be looked after.

Equipment used for his disability eg wheelchairs; crutches travel free. I have no idea if this extends to a travel kit but I would think they were being rather padantic if they charged; mind you I would be very careful with so called ‘budget airlines.’ Give you airline a ring to clarify.

Don’t forget your EHIC card

### George

· George

Hi i took a scooter on a plane once there was not a single problem, i just had to tell them the make and weight that was it i was treated like royalty in this country and in turkey it was great. And after it went so well would even do it alone first class threre and back.

Tracy x

Thx George for this fulsome and extremely helpful post. Your personal testimony backed up by the offical guidance makes it particularly valuable.


Thanks for adding to the thread and backing up what George said in his earlier post.

Last time I travelled was from Gatwick to Edinburgh. At that time I could walk with the aid of a stick. I had assistance to the plane at Gatwick but when we arrived at Edinburgh I had to climb down the stairs and walk accross the tarmac, which I was able to do

Now I live near Southend and looking at the adverts on tv the airplanes I have seen you need to climb the stairs…how do they get you on if this is the case?


Hi Jax,

No problem; a high lift vehicle: a lorry that with the push of a button raises the whole body of the vehicle up to aircraft level. Just like a catering van; drives you out to the aircraft and trained staff put you on board.

Golden rule; tell them when you book your flight; ring them 4 days before you travel tto make sure OK.