by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2009/06/11 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2009/06/11/9725313.aspx
Very very offtopic!!!
The question I got recently was simple enough:
Michael, I googled iBot air travel and found your blog.
So you actually flew with your iBot and they didn't dismantle it??
My husband got one last summer, and has been driving back and forth to Mexico with it because we've heard that the airlines disconnect it and who knows what so that it's not operational when you arrive.
What airlines did you use??
I have had excellent luck with Alaska Airlines, using that sign I mentioned way back in From I SCOOT to IBOT, #1 of ??, with English on one side and Spanish on the other.
I have never had any problem flying, and I have now made trips all over the place.
Now I will tell you what I believe is the secret.
I check the iBot PLANESIDE -- meaning I ride it up to the gate and check it right at the side of the plane. This is perhaps the secret to make sure no one tries to take it apart, sa folded up iBot does invite people the opportunity to take anything apart.
On arrival, I occasionlly find people ignoring the sign (it is not them being stupid people -- hey never make this mistake on he outbound flight and it is basically the same people!) and trying to put the leg pieces back on the device but I tell them to let me do it and they stop.
Now would I trust this to work when flying within India where they screwed up my Scooter? No. But inside the US with the leg pieces and the UCP removed and everything folded up, there is not a lot to go wrong -- and with planeside checkin you get the people with the least amount of time to mess with stuff and the most customer contact. I have now flown on 22 round trip flights since I got the iBot less than a year ago and have never seen them break anything on it or try to disassemble anything.
Now I admit I have never yet crossed a border with it, and I imagine they may want to look closer at a border. But as a general principle if you are sitting in what is essentially a wheelchair, full disassembly is unlikely, even if they want closely inspect the chair and unzip the thing that zip (as TSA folks have also sometimes wanted to do). But disassembly of a wheelchair that has a laminated sign explaining the fact that it can't be unpacked? I have found general lack of desire to break wheekchairs, and it is just as secure to inspect without disassembly anyway....
Note that there are other bonuses to the planeside checkin, such as a better quality wheelchair and no need to tip the airport worker making less than minimum wage since he lives on tips. But that is just an added extra, the main thing is protection of the expensive medical device!
This post brought to you by ♿ (U+267f, a.k.a. WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL)
2009/07/21 No disassemble #5! Redux
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