Travelling with a battery powered wheelchair
There are internationally recognised rules regarding dangerous goods, which include batteries and how they are transported.
If you want to travel with a battery-powered wheelchair, you must first obtain approval from your airline.
Airlines have procedures to ensure that battery and mobility devices are carried safely. The procedures are in place to:
- prevent fire from heat or sparks should the battery short-circuit
- reduce the risk of spillage of battery electrolyte during loading, in flight and whilst unloading as the electrolyte causes corrosive damage to the aircraft, baggage and cargo.
Your airline will need to know the type of battery fitted to your wheelchair. Batteries fall into the categories of spillable and non-spillable. Non-spillable has two sub-categories - gel type and other.
The type of battery fitted, the ability to load, stow and unload the wheelchair through the aircraft cargo compartment doors, with the chair remaining in the upright position the whole time, will also be considered. Due to cargo hold size limitations, the loading of a wheelchair in an upright position in aircraft similar in size or smaller than a Boeing 737 (commonly used in many Australian airlines), can be very difficult, if not impossible.
- Travelling with wheelchairs and mobility aids with non-spillable batteries.
- CASA dangerous goods inspectors can provide further general information, however as the procedures adopted by each airline can differ, seek specific advice from your airline.
CASA dangerous goods inspectors