Can You Take a Walker on a Plane? Traveling With a Walker With Ease
If you need to use a walker, you may wonder if you can take it on an airplane. If so, then the answer is yes!
You can either check your walker as baggage or carry it on board as carry-on luggage.
However, there are some restrictions on the storage of your walker while traveling.
- You can check in your walker if it cannot be carried in the cabin (for example, due to the limited space in the cabin).
- Walkers are carried as checked baggage free of charge.
- You do not need to check your walker until you are at the gate.
- You can request a wheelchair in advance if you need assistance moving around the airport.
- You can request that your walker be returned to the plane door at your destination airport, not to the baggage claim area.
- Make sure your walker is in good working order before using it. In case of damage, contact the airline’s customer service immediately.
So before you head out on that long trip with your walker, here are some things to consider.
Will an Airline Allow Walkers As Carry-On Baggage?
Airlines will allow walkers as carry-on baggage, provided there is space for storage within the cabin.
You must store it under the seat in front of you or an overhead bin.
If there is no space in the cabin, the airlines will require you to check your walker as baggage.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Checking a Walker With Checked Luggage?
Checking a walker with luggage is a convenient option when traveling. However, this method has its drawbacks.
Walkers are classified as assistive devices by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which means you can check them in.
Other assistive devices include:
- Prescription medications and medical devices
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs)
- Crutches, canes, and walkers (here you can read tips for traveling with a cane)
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines
Benefits of Checking a Walker With Checked Luggage
The TSA has rules about how airlines handle the transport of medical equipment like your walker.
The airline’s baggage limit does not apply to luggage used as an assistive device.
However, suppose you are checking more than one bag, and they contain both personal items and a wheelchair or other assistive device.
In that case, some airlines may count those bags towards their baggage limits – resulting in a fee for extra weight.
You can read more about how much walkers weigh.
If your assistive device is too large to be carried on the plane as a carry-on, the airlines will stow it in the passenger cabin at no extra cost.
If you check your walker, they must return it to you in the same condition you handed it to them.
If they damage your walker while transporting it, they are responsible for paying for repairs or replacement. If the airline personnel damages your walker, contact their customer service department immediately so that they can reimburse you.
Cons of Checking a Walker
If the walker gets damaged or lost while it’s being transported on an airplane, you may need to provide an alternative means of mobility and/or pay for a replacement while you wait to be reimbursed.
Additionally, suppose your flight is delayed or canceled due to inclement weather conditions (which happens more often than you might think!). In that case, there’s a chance that your walker will not be available on your connecting flight!
You can check a walker through your airline or carry it on board. If you choose to check your walker, make sure it can be packed in a bag and protected from damage during travel.
Traveling With Your Walker
You can take a walker on an airplane by checking it or carrying it on board. It’s essential to know the rules for different airlines and follow them.
Before your trip, confirm with the airline that your walker will fit in the cargo hold if you are traveling on a small plane, like a commuter aircraft or a regional jet.
Arrive at the airport and check in one hour before the regular check-in time for the flight.
If you have a walker, you do not need to check it until you are at the gate.
You can request that your walker be returned to you on the jetway at your destination airport and not in the baggage claim area.
As you receive your walker, quickly inspect it before you use it. If there is any damage to your walker, immediately go to the airline’s customer service and file a claim.
Where Can Your Walker Be Stowed?
If you are traveling with a walker, airlines will stow it in the aircraft’s baggage compartment.
If an overhead bin is available for use, your walker can also be stored there as long as it fits within airline specifications.
Your walker should not be placed in the cabin unless it will fit under seats or on other parts of the plane where passengers usually sit during their flight.
What If Your Walker Gets Damaged?
It’s a good idea to take pictures of your walker before checking it in, so you have documentation if something is damaged or missing.
If damage or loss occurs during transit, domestic U.S. airlines must compensate passengers for the value of their walkers and other assistive devices. In this case, airlines are not limited to a fixed amount for reimbursing lost assistive devices.
If a passenger’s equipment is damaged or lost on an international flight, the Montreal Convention stipulates compensation.
We hope this article has helped you understand the rules around taking a walker on an airplane.
We know that traveling with a disability can be hard, but we also want to encourage you not to let it stop you from exploring the world!
When traveling with the elderly that use a walker or a cane, you can face some challenges. Here are some tips for traveling safely with an elderly parent.
The more people who travel with disabilities, the more likely airlines will become more accommodating.
Read more: How To Fold A Rollator Walker For Travel and Storage (Easy Steps)