Ok about getting my walker/wheelchair to Japan

  • Ok about getting my walker/wheelchair to Japan

    Posted by sarahjoan83 on February 19, 2024 at 8:13 am

    Hey guys,

    My husband wants to know… how exactly do we travel with both my walker and wheelchair to get them with us while we are there?

    I mean, would it be best to travel with just my wheelchair (I prefer to use my walker when I can)

    What’re the chances that they lose them? That’s a huge fear of mine .

    The only place I ever traveled to was Canada with my parents when I was a teen.

    Now I’m 40 with 4 kids so… we don’t travel often. When we have done so, my husband drives.

    Obviously it’ll be years before we visit Japan, but asking anyway.


    schroth-sensei replied 5 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • schroth-sensei

    February 19, 2024 at 10:35 am

    Hello Sarah,

    Short answer, it shouldn’t be any real issue bringing both (beyond you and your caregiver/husband physically bringing them).

    First, make sure your flight tickets are flagged for “wheelchair assistance” so they know you’re coming with one. When you are at baggage check-in they will want information about your walker and wheelchair (especially if a motorized wheelchair), and possibly tag them with a special handling tag at this time.

    Next, a couple questions:
    -Is your walker a collapsible type?
    -Manual or non-collapsible motorized wheelchair?

    Assuming your flight is from the US and/or connecting to a stop there (or country with similar airline rules: These items should fall under necessary medical equipment and thus not count toward any bag limit. You can use them right up until boarding (wheelchair users board first, so be early, i.e. at the airport 3-hrs before flight minimum).

    If both walker & wheelchair are collapsible, then you/your caregiver can fold them up, possibly bring them on board and stow them like carry-on luggage (usually the stewards will help with loading them). This is probably the most ideal situation if you want to control who’s handling your stuff.

    However, if either of them aren’t collapsible or too big to fit in-cabin, then you can still use them right up until boarding. From there you will take any parts that detach with you into the plane to stow (so they aren’t lost), and the rest will be taken from there and put into the plane directly (usually the last to go in, and first to be offloaded at your destination). This should minimize the chances of it getting lost because it doesn’t have to go through the underground labyrinth of conveyor belts to get to the plane like luggage does, ideally just traveling a short distance between the passenger door and cargo door.

    While I’m sure the likelihood isn’t zero, I’m fairly confident that if you load your items this way that they shouldn’t be lost during your flight. Logistically, it may be more difficult to haul around walker, wheelchair, and multiple pieces of luggage to the airport and/or hotel, so you may want to pack light.

    I have written some other tips you may find useful in my blog post Yokohama Life: What I Learned Living 90-days in Japan with a Disability on Accessible Japan, at the least I recommend checking out the latter if you haven’t already.
    I hope that helps, but feel free to ask if you have any additional questions and we will try to find you an answer,

  • sarahjoan83

    February 19, 2024 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for your reply.

    Yes, my wheelchair is powered, but it’s light and folds up.

    My walker folds up as well.

    • schroth-sensei

      February 20, 2024 at 4:44 am

      Glad I could help.
      It may be best to assume both have to be put in cargo when you hand them over at the airplane, as the available in-cabin storage will vary by plane, airline, etc. Nevertheless, I recommend calling your airline directly and asking this, and they can also help you gather the necessary information about your equipment ahead of time that’s needed when you check-in at the airport.

  • alliejay

    February 20, 2024 at 12:43 am

    Thanks for all the detail posted here. It never occurred to me that I can actually travel with both!

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