If you’re someone who loves to travel but also requires the use of a mobility device, an airline-approved scooter or power wheelchair may be a wise investment. Depending on the design, thesescooters can either be transported in the cargo hold or brought into the cabin as carry-on luggage.
Below, we’ll highlight some of the best mobility scooters for airline travel, as well as provide tips that will help you select the ideal mobility device for your unique needs.
Which Mobility Scooters are Airline Approved?
In order to be FAA approved for airline travel, electric mobility scooters must meet certain requirements depending on what kind of battery they use:
- Lead Acid Battery (Gel / AGM): These batteries can stay installed on the mobility device, provided they are adequately protected or housed. Your device will be considered a checked bag and transported in the cargo hold.
- Lithium-Ion Battery: These batteries can stay installed on the mobility device, provided they are adequately protected or housed. If not, you will need to remove the battery from the device and put it in your carry-on. The max size for lithium-ion batteries size is 300 watt hours. A spare battery (not exceeding 300 watt hours) or two spare batteries (not exceeding 160 watt hours each) may be placed in your carry-on baggage.
Regardless of what type of battery your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair uses, we recommend contacting your airline in advance to determine the check-in process. Rules may vary from airline to airline – a quick call or email will help you avoid unwanted delays.
Important Features for Travel Scooters
Below are some of the features we consider most important when purchasing a mobility scooter for air travel:
- Compact: The smaller the scooter, the easier it will be for baggage handlers to load it onto the airplane. This reduces the chances of the device being damaged while it’s being transported. Compact mobility scooters will also be easier to maneuver around busy airport terminals.
- Portable:You’ll want to purchase a mobility scooter that either folds or disassembles. Once again, this will make it easier for airline staff to load your device onto the plane. Certain devices are also designed be brought into the cabin as carry-on (as long as the batteries have been removed). However, not all planes will be able to accommodate amobility device in the passenger cabin, so please check with your airline in advance.
- Batteries:Be sure to check what kind of batteries your mobility scooter uses, as the rules differ for each type. All the scooters mentioned below use airline safe lithium-ion batteries. You can learn more about the specific rules for each battery type using the chart on FAA PackSafe.
- Construction:If you’re someone who frequently travels, it’s inevitable that your mobility scooter will eventually take a few bumps and bruises. This may happen while the device is being transported on the plane, or while you’re out exploring your final destination. Luckily, most mobility scooters are quite durable.Look for a device that has been tested for safety and is constructed from sturdy materials.
Top Mobility Scooters for Airline Travel
Moving Life ATTO
The ATTO Mobility Scooter from Moving Life is a lightweight folding scooter that is specifically designed to be transported on an airplane. The ATTO’s innovative “trolley mode” enablesthe scooter to be folded down to a width of16.5”, allowing you to bring it on the plane as carry-on. Please keep in mind that, although it is technically allowed, not all planes will have space for the device in the cabin. Be sure to check with your airline first.
This mobility scooter also has a “split mode” where it can be disassembled into two separate parts. You can learn more about this high-tech air travel scooter here.
|Battery||Lithium-ion- 250 watt hours|
|Weight Capacity||265 lbs|
|Weight of Unit||68 lbs|
Pride Go-Go Folding
The Pride Go-Go Folding Scooter is one of the most popular, lightweight, and maneuverable travel scooters currently on the market. It’s available at a slightly lower price point, making it an attractive and affordable option for many users. As its name suggests, the Go-Go Folding Scooter is able to quickly fold for storage in thecargo hold of the plane.
|Battery||Lithium-ion – 276 watt hours|
|Weight Capacity||250 lbs|
|Weight of Unit||56 lbs|
The FreeRiderLuggie Super is anadvanced portable mobility scooter that folds up for easy transportation on a plane. When folded, the scooter has dimensions approximately the same size as a standard rolling suitcase. The FreeRiderLuggie Super is capable of supporting weight capacities up to 360 lb., which is more than any other scooter on this list. This makes it a great option for users who require a more robust scooter for air travel.
|Battery||Lithium-ion – 204 watt hours(for standard 8.5 AH battery)|
|Weight Capacity||360 lbs|
|Weight of Unit||64.4 lbs|
WHILL Model Fi
Unlike the devices mentioned above, the WHILL Model Fi is a power chair, not a mobility scooter. Power chairs have several advantages over scooters, including improved maneuverability and a smaller overall wheelbase.
The Model Fi is the first folding mobility device from the award-winning team at WHILL and was recently named a CES 2022 Best of Innovation Winner. It folds in under three seconds and can be easily transported on a plane, bus, or train. The Model Fi has the tightest turning radius of any device on this list and is exceptionally nimble when navigating busy airports and tourist destinations.
The WHILL Model Fiwill be released in spring 2022 and is currently available for pre-order.
|Battery||Lithium-ion – 268 watt hours|
|Weight Capacity||250 lbs|
|Weight of Unit||58.9 lbs|
Rent a Mobility Scooter at Your Destination
While the mobility scooters listed above make it much easier to travel with your device, there may be times when it makes more sense to leave the scooter and home and rent once you get to your destination. Luckily, there are companies likeScootaroundthatprovide mobility device rentals in locations across the US and Canada.
Mobility scooter rentals are dropped off directly to your hotel, Airbnb, or cruise ship, allowing you to avoid the stress of transporting your personal device on the plane.
Summary and Recommendations
There are a number of fantastic mobility scooter options available for people who frequently travel by plane. These devices are foldable, lightweight, and use airline-approved lithium-ion batteries, allowing the scooter to be safely stored in the cargo hold while you take the battery with you as carry-on.
The three mobility scooters (and one power chair) mentioned above are all great choices for the avid traveler, and each one could be considered the “best” depending on the individual needs of the user.
If you’re looking for more info on the best mobility scooters for air travel, visit Scootaround online and check out our selection of portable mobility scooters. You can also give us a call at 1-844-664-7467. We look forward to helping you find the best airline-approved scooter for your specific requirements.