Traveling with an electric wheelchair?

Anybody have experience.with this? Mrs. Nath uses a heavy(~300lb) electric wheel chair to go more than a.few yards. Not a problem anywhere locally as it fits in the minivan. We want to go.cross country though. Carrying it on a train or plane is no issue (I think) but once you are in the new city, how do you move the chair around? I am in favor of driving the entire trip so that we can see all the neat stuff in the west, etc. At our leisure. Mrs. N wants to sit in a train compartment and do this. I lose, obviously, but how do we handle thw issue of big clunky chair 2000 miles from our car, ramps, etc?

Would it be feasible to get a manual wheelchair just for the trip?

It’s an option but it limits her independence. I wondered if there were rental agencies anyone had used that might rent accessible vans,etc.

My brother travels with anelectric handbikehe attaches to his regular, unpowered wheelchair. It’s relatively lightweight and can be stowed easily, along with the chair.

How do you move the chair around where you are? Sounds to me like the focus should be on getting a van that’s accesible to your particular chair.

I have no idea how accessible things are in the USA but your wife’s problem sounds exactly the same as my wife’s problem. Yes, she can get out of the chair and walk a few yards but needs it for anything more than that.

We have been to many cities in the UK, which is fairly easy since I can drive her (We just got back from a seaside trip) and we have been to France, where most places are pretty good.

In our experience most people want to help; sometimes they get in the way, but in general, we do to some extent rely on the kindness of strangers. As an example, we were on the London Underground, going to Kew Gardens and had to change trains. Transport for London (TFL) has an excellent website that shows which stations are accessible and plans routes, so we set off confidently. At the station where we were to change (Hammersmith), the platform was a good 6" higher than the train and someone (warned by the departure station) was supposed to meet us with a ramp. The ramp was there, locked up, but no assistant.

Some burly young workmen on the train offered to lift the chair, but I dissuaded them from the attempt, so they simply blocked the door until someone showed up as the train cannot move with a door open. I doubt that the delay was more than five minutes, but I could imagine all the following trains grinding to a stop and thousands of people cursing the delay. All was well though and the journey was completed without incident. On the return, the system worked perfectly.

We have yet to take the chair on a plane though, and I have read horror storied where the baggage handlers have damaged chairs to the extent that they are unusable. We have also hired a chair when we went on a cruise where no accessible cabins were available and we needed one that folded up. That was pretty good, although the hired chair had a much shorter range than her usual one. Hiring is definitely an option for you though.

My wife was a bit resistant to going for accessible rooms on the grounds that she doesn’t need special toilets and wet rooms etc. On the whole, though, we now go for one if they are available, simply because they have wider doors and more room to turn the chair. We have also found that the chair helps sometimes: Many places make no charge for me as a carer (London Theatres for example) and at The London Eye, not only did I go free, but we jumped a considerable queue as well.

My advice is to go for it.

Nava, you are right. Local movement of the chair was a challenge with a sedan, but is ok now using ramps and a ninivan. The problem is with long distance travel.
Alessan, the wheelchair handbike is brilliant! Never heard of such a thing. We will defunitely look into that one!

Thanks, Bob- sounds like thr two of you have the knack of making things work!