Flying with an ECV

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Our Experience with Flying with an ECV on Delta Connection
(ComAir and Chatauqua)

My hubby uses an ECV at WDW and other places that require lots of walking (the mall, Turner Field, etc.)

We have our own personal ECV and have taken it to WDW for several trips by car since 2002.

In December 2002, Delta opened up a couple of direct flights to Orlando, so we decided to try flying with the ECV on our April 2003 trip to WDW.

We read all of Delta's rules that the ECV had to have gel or dry cell batteries and if it didn't fit through the cargo door, it had to be checked and disassembled. Since these were small jets (50 and 35 passenger), we were prepared with disassembly and assembly instructions and arranged for wheelchair service at the airport. We also made sure we had a name and address label attached to each piece of the ECV that could be taken apart. We packed the basket in our checked luggage and brought the charger unit on board as medical carry-on.

Once we arrived at the airport (HSV), we asked if we could gate-check the ECV, and were told yes, so we checked our regular bags and proceeded to security with hubby driving the ECV. Once we got to security, hubby was asked if he could walk through the scanners. Since he could, they took the ECV through another door and returned it to him right after screening.

Shortly before our flight started boarding, they escorted us down an elevator to the tarmac to the loading door of the aircraft. We showed them how to disengage the drive and they folded down the tiller and seat back and were able to load the ECV upright through the cargo door without disassembly.

They then escorted us to the loading stairs and we boarded the plane.

Once we landed in Orlando, we reminded the flight attendant that we had an ECV on board. She said she would make arrangements to inform the ground crew and said we needed to wait until last to leave the plane, so we wouldn't be standing while waiting on them to unload the ECV. When we got off the plane, we noticed that the wheelchair assistance we had requested was waiting on us, so we informed them that we were able to gate check the ECV and did not need their assistance. The ECV was off the plane by the time we got off, but the crew was having trouble disengaging the drive unit for freewheel, so we caught their attention, and handed them the key, and they brought the ECV over to us. Hubby was able to drive the ECV all the way to baggage claim.

The security procedures at MCO were slightly different. They did not ask hubby if he could walk through the scanners. They immediately took him around the scanners and hand-wanded him and the ECV. They did split us up. I had to go through the regular lengthy line and the regular security scanners.

Boarding the plane at MCO was the same as at HSV, except that I had to board with the rest of the passengers. Hubby was escorted to the cargo door, where the ECV was then folded and loaded on, then hubby was escorted to the boarding door. When we arrived at HSV, unloading was about the same. However, the loading crew in MCO had disconnected the battery connections, whereas the crew at HSV airport did not.

We have taken this same trip with the ECV three times since then with similar results. It has been quite easy for us. There was even one trip where we were traveling with some friends who also had ECVs (a total of three). The airlines loaded all three of them on the 35 passenger jet without so much as a question on how much they weighed. I was really worried that there was a limit on those smaller planes and that at least one of them would be rescheduled, but that was not the case. The flights were full.

Our friends had a backpack attached to their ECVs that contained tools and their chargers for the ECVs. They did question them about the tools each time through security, but a quick call over to the supervisor resolved the problem. This bag was not counted in their carry-on limit and stayed attached to their ECVs during the flight.

Carol Kelley