Q. I’m 28 years old and in my fourth year as a C4 complete quadriplegic. I have no movement below my shoulders and drive my chair with a chin control. It has a headrest, and power recline with elevating leg-rests.
A group of friends is planning a reunion in the Florida Keys, and they invited me to go. They’ve found an accessible condo and even offered to rent a van with a lift and wheelchair tie-downs. After reading your previous Travel Matters column, Air Travel 101, I’m tempted to fly to the reunion from my home in Los Angeles. However, Air Travel 101 seems to be geared more toward manual chair users and/or people with lower level injuries. Do people with my level of injury travel by air? If so, what extra steps do I need to take? If I go, I will be traveling with my attendant.
A. Shane, great questions! The answer to your first question is, yes people with your level of paralysis travel by air. You are also correct that although “Air Travel 101” will be a good working blueprint for the trip, flying with your level of injury requires some extra steps and planning. Here is an overview.
Surprisingly, one of the first steps to successful air travel is locating ground transportation at your destination. Rental vans with a ramp or wheelchair lift and wheelchair tie-downs can be found in most major cities. You can book one through accessible travel agents such as Able to Travel, or type in “wheelchair van rentals” and the city you are arriving at in a search engine like Google