Q. My niece is getting married on the opposite side of the country and I use a power wheelchair. Despite flying in the past, I now question my ability to do so safely. We hear reports about flights that were canceled, delayed extensively, or people being removed from departing flights for no apparent reason. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be forcibly removed once I had gone through the arduous process of preparing for the trip and being transferred into a seat on the plane.
Friends have shared incidents of extensive damage and temporary loss of use of their mobility devices due to all kinds of mistakes. I really need my wheelchair to be in operating condition upon arrival and when returning home, as I do not have a spare. My main concern is what needs to happen before and during the flight so my travel experience does not turn into a disaster. I could use some helpful advice.
— Grounded, at least temporarily
A. Many incidents can be prevented with better advance planning and knowledge of the Air Carrier Access Act’s regulations that govern passengers with disabilities. Also, remember that you will be dealing with airline and contracted employees who might have limited knowledge of the rules but feel they have authority to make decisions that may or may not be in compliance. So you need to know the law and be prepared. The Federal Aviation Administration, a branch