Power Wheelchair Rental within 2-3 weeks?

  • Power Wheelchair Rental within 2-3 weeks?

    Posted by Alex Fung on September 20, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    Hello,

    Josh from Accessible Japan referred me here. I’m flying with ANA from Los Angeles’ LAX to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. We made our booking over half a year ago through a travel agency and filled out wheelchair documentation for. ANA which they approved several months ago. Today, I received a phone call from an ANA representative, who told me the weight limit is 100 kg but my wheelchair is almost double that (Permobil F5). They said they will call me back tomorrow with more clarification, but I am exploring other options as my flight is in just over two weeks.

    I need an electric wheelchair with the tilt and recline functions but none of the Japanese rental websites seem to have something like that. I’m obviously pretty irritated at the abrupt notification from ANA, and while canceling my flight is an option, I have dozens of other bookings in Japan. The refund would also likely go to the travel agency instead and I’m not sure if they’ll be able to book me another flight in time.

    Does anybody have any ideas or recommendations? I mainly need the tilt and recline functions for pressure relieving as I’m quadriplegic.

    Josh Grisdale replied 1 month, 4 weeks ago 5 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Quest

    Member
    September 20, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    Best to find and rent a lighter one in your country. That way you get to learn how to use it, a demo in your language, better support and they provide all the documentation needed for flight.

    • Carlos

      Member
      September 20, 2023 at 4:00 pm

      He said he checked and they don’t have any. He said it in his post.

      I’m also in LA. Check NUMOTION and National Seating and Mobility here in LA.

    • Alex Fung

      Member
      September 20, 2023 at 4:00 pm

      thanks for that idea! I had not actually thought of that. I’ll try in the morning during their business hours. i’m not optimistic though because the weight limit is supposedly 100 kg but pretty much every suitable wheelchair that I know of is much heavier.

      my googling (and other posts that I found in threads on this website) indicates that the limit is imposed by Haneda airport but Josh mentioned he flew ANA before despite his wheelchair being 130 kg.

    • Josh Grisdale

      Moderator
      September 20, 2023 at 4:04 pm

      I’ve flown a few times this year.. even to smaller airports…

      I have some contacts at the ministry of transport. Will ask there for a reason (though, don’t expect a change!)

    • Josh Grisdale

      Moderator
      September 20, 2023 at 5:04 pm

      My contact said he will follow up but all airlines should comply with international standards such as those set by ICAO.

      He asked me to tell him what happens with your phone call tomorrow (I guess he doesn’t want to do too much following up if the call you get tomorrow from ANA says “nevermind, its ok!”)

  • Josh Grisdale

    Moderator
    September 20, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Yes, it seems the rental companies don’t have reclining power wheelchairs. 😖

    Could you rent something in the States that is lighter and bring that? Also, maybe try contacting Permobil Japan to see about a rental? Here is their global contact: https://www.permobil.com/en/contact-us (The Japan office only shows Japanese).

    I know a few others who came with Permobil wheelchairs recently (like @schroth-sensei ), so it seems to be an airline issue…

    • schroth-sensei

      Member
      September 20, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Sorry to hear that they sprung this on you so soon before your trip, I would definitely try to get it clarified as soon as possible in case they aren’t accommodating. This is the second issue with I’ve heard about the weight limit, JAL has a similar policy apparently.
      However, I believe that if you are flying to/from the US you are supposed to fall under the US regulations which are not supposed to restrict you on weight limits for necessary “medial equipment.” A wheelchair is definitely a necessary piece of medical equipment for you, and I would try and stress that to ANA. I recently flew Delta, specifying my wheelchair as 425-lbs., and they didn’t even think twice about it.I hope you get it sorted quickly and enjoy your trip!

  • Josh Grisdale

    Moderator
    September 21, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Did you get a call back from ANA?

    • Alex Fung

      Member
      September 21, 2023 at 11:11 am

      I didn’t get a call from their Japan office, but I was able to reach their USA office after being on hold for two hours straight. It’s still a complete refusal and they are not budging on the 100 kg weight limit. There are literally no wheelchairs I can find with the tilt function which are less than 100. The closest that I found is 148 kg which is my old wheelchair..

      Tomorrow, I’m going to be pressure mapping myself while only reclining at an angle similar to some of the rentals that I was able to find. None of them have the tilt function though. I’m not sure if your contacts can help out with the wheelchair weight limit but ANA doesn’t seem like they will budge for me.

    • Josh Grisdale

      Moderator
      September 21, 2023 at 11:30 am

      I am SO upset about this. That is a violation of your right to travel with dignity and comfort. I will follow up with my contact.

  • Josh Grisdale

    Moderator
    September 22, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    Just an update that I have contacted the Accessibility Policy department at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism. They have asked for an explanation from the airline via the airport and airline department.

  • Josh Grisdale

    Moderator
    October 6, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Latest (final?) update:

    I had a meeting with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism and ANA (the airline).

    The airline took the issue very seriously. In fact, it was taken to the president.

    While I cannot describe details (they shared a breakdown of the communication timeline in the case etc), there was a communication problem (an unacceptable delay), as well as an education issue (the person relaying the information should have had realized it was incorrect and not just passed it on but confirmed and clarified as well as knowing it was not correct policy).

    To fix it, they are revising the communication policy (to avoid delays), and are re-training staff on accessibility (airline-wide) and the ADA (State-side).

    They will communicating with Alex about compensation etc (perhaps @AlexFung can comment/follow up on this?)

    Separately, I brought up that JAL also listed a 100kg-limit for wheelchairs on their website. Their intention was to say that “there may be occasions depending on plane size”, but the language was very unclear and made it sound like it was the rule and not the exception and the Ministry requested they fix the wording.

    While the whole process really sucked for Alex, thankfully the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism took action and the airlines are making changes.

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