Wheelchair users can face special challenges when they’re planning air travel. One of the most anxiety-inviting experiences is going through a security checkpoint at the airport. If you use a wheelchair — especially if you’ve never gone through screening before — you probably wonder what to expect.
The Transportation Security Administration is taking steps to help. The TSA offers a phone line that travelers with medical conditions or disabilities — including wheelchair users — can call to learn how to make air travel easier. Web pages are also available, and they are full of helpful tips and information. The TSA recommends that you call the info line at least 72 hours in advance of a travel date to get specific details on what to expect during passenger screening.
The toll-free phone number to reach TSA Cares is 1-855-787-2227. Representatives are on hand to answer questions about security and screening. When needed, the TSA can coordinate airport support with a TSA customer service manager.
If you use a wheelchair or other medical equipment, you should expect to have it checked thoroughly. Any bags or pouches attached to your wheelchair will be X-rayed. If you cannot stand long enough to go through the imaging equipment, you may also be patted down. It’s a good idea to give yourself extra time to get through security.
The TSA Cares help line is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on weekends and holidays. Hard-of-hearing passengers can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
For questions about wheelchair equipment and related supplies, contact the medical supply experts at Mar-J Medical Supply. Visit our website to order online anytime, call us or visit our retail location in Boca Raton if you are in the area.
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