Flying with Crutches: Here’s What You Need to Know

Flying is considered to be one of the safest and most luxurious methods of transportation. But several handicapped customers are often seen to be hesitant and have second thoughts about buying an air ticket. If you are one of these people, then this article will surely clear all your doubts.

The article provides assurance that even a crutch user, or any other assistive device user is fully capable of flying on a plane with a pleasant experience. We have provided all the relevant details, which will make sure that your negative or hesitant thoughts disappear.

Things You Need to Know

Here are things you need to know before flying with crutches.

  • Clearing the Security

Everything that enters an airport and is going to board a plane will be subjected to a thorough checkup. So, each passenger, item, luggage, animal, etc. is going to be screened before boarding. The same applies for you with your crutches or any other mobility aids.

In the past, numerous smugglers or criminals have pretended to be unfortunate handicaps and have taken advantage of the authority’s sympathy to smuggle dangerous weapons and drugs inside their mobility aids and onto the planes.

So the airport’s security-policy is to screen and do a pat-down inspection on all sorts of passengers without any discrimination ensuring safety for all passengers on board.

First, your crutch will be taken away from you for a short while to be put into an X-ray machine. These machines are specially built to spot any sort of abnormalities found inside a crutch or cane or any supporting device, ensuring no unwanted substance enters the flight.

While your crutch is being examined, you will be going through a pat-down inspection.

During the inspection, you have the right to ask for an officer’s help in order to keep standing. Also, you could ask for someone of the same gender to inspect you if you feel uncomfortable. If a public examination makes you a little edgy, then another one of your rights is to ask for a private pat-down inspection.

  • Onboard Instructions

All airports allow most mobility aiding devices such as canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs or scooters, etc. to be taken inside the plane without any resistance. You can stow your assistive device into the cabin compartment of the plane.

Once you’re inside, you can either keep your crutch in the storage compartment over your seat or directly underneath your seat. It is recommended that you store it under your seat as that is easier and will allow you to use it in case of an emergency.

If your crutch cannot be kept underneath or above your seat, then you could ask the airline for help. They will take your crutch and store it in a designated storage unit, also called the cargo unit. There is a little problem with this, though.

The crutch has to be small enough to fit the storage unit and has to fall under the FAA safety rules and regulations.

In a case where you are unable to stow your crutch, the airport will carry the crutch for you and will provide it to you to the closest door of the plane. If you feel all this is a hassle, then you could ask the authorities to provide the crutch during the baggage claim, as well.

  • If Your Crutch Gets Damaged

Sometimes, your crutch can get damaged or get lost during transportation. In domestic flights, the carriers bear the blame for any sort of mishaps and will compensate for a lost or damaged assistive aid. The same goes for international flights.

  • Breach of Rights

If you feel that your rights have not been met and the on-duty official is incapable of aiding you, then you could go to the CRO (Complaint Resolution Official). They are especially skilled in dealing with these types of situations and take extra care to deal with handicapped individuals.

Additional Tips You Can Follow

Here are some additional tips for you:

  • Ring the Airline about Their Cargo Size

It is a good idea to ensure that your crutch or assistive tool will fit the cargo or storage unit of the craft that you want to board. You could easily do that by calling the airline and asking them about this.

However, if you want, you could check your crutch or cane at the gate in case they don’t fit your flight cabin or cargo. The same can be done if you feel that carrying your assistive device is going to be a pain.

You can request the airlines to provide the crutch to you at the door of the plane after landing. When you receive the crutch or any other mobility aiding, give it a quick check.

  • Write a Note

Attaching a detailed instruction manual on constructing and deconstructing your assistive device ensures no harm is done to your crutch or support. Also, you could include a written note on any additional cautions that they might need to take to avoid any damage to the device.

  • Apply for Card for Disables

You could apply for a card specially made for the disabled. This will speed up your screening process and, in turn, will cause less hassle before boarding your flight.

Conclusion

All airlines want their passengers to have a peaceful and satisfactory journey. The rules and regulations of every airline were fashioned out by keeping these factors in mind. And, this article was written to inform you of this fact along with all the necessary details to keep you well prepared.

So, I hope our post has been of some help to remove all the confusion regarding flying with crutches.

  • Updated November 11, 2019
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