Travelling with a mobility aid

Publications Checklists for travelling with a mobility aid Making sure your mobility aid will fit onboard

Carriage of Mobility Aids Onboard Planes, Trains and Ferries

Take Charge of Your Travel: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities

Air travel

Rail travel

Ferry travel

How to measure a wheelchair or scooter

Summary of aircraft specifications

Dimensions for VIA Rail trains


What should you do if you're travelling with a mobility aid?

Before your trip

  1. Do your research. Consult prospective carriers' websites, with particular attention to sections on accessibility, to see what services are available and what information may be needed when contacting the carrier.

  2. Talk to the carrier at least 48 hours in advance. Inform the carrier in advance (typically at least 48 hours prior to departure) of your plan to travel and discuss the services you require. Adequate advance notice is necessary to ensure the carrier has enough time to make the necessary arrangements to carry your mobility aid. However, your carrier will make a reasonable effort to accommodate people with disabilities who provide less than 48 hours of notice.

  3. Confirm what type of assistance is available. Confirm if you can get for assistance in boarding and disembarking, to get to departure gates, through the terminal or station and when making connections.

  4. Find out when to arrive. Confirm how far in advance of departure you should arrive at the terminal/station to allow sufficient time for check in, boarding, and transfer and disassembly of your mobility aid, if required.

  5. Confirm how your mobility aid will be transported. Confirm storage arrangements for the mobility aid (if applicable) and that it will be carried as priority baggage free of charge.

  6. Make sure your mobility aid fits. Consult the carrier's website, where possible, for physical dimensions (e.g. measurements for aisles, doors, etc.) and any weight restrictions to determine if your particular mobility aid can be accommodated, whether in cargo or on board. If you want to provide protective crating for your mobility aid, you should first ensure that the crate can be accommodated.

  7. Have detailed information about your mobility aid. Get detailed measurements (e.g. length, width, weight) and specifications (e.g. type of battery) for your mobility aid. Some carriers have guides on their website to help determine the type of battery. Having this information available to provide to the carrier will facilitate the carriage of your mobility aid.

  8. Find a photo or instructions. Lifting points, brake release and/or other specific instructions should be marked on the picture to help carriers ensure that your mobility aid is handled properly. Alternatively, you may wish to provide the carrier with a copy of the written instructions for your mobility aid. Some carriers may ask that you complete a mobility aid information sheet, which can be found on their Website, and to which you can attach the photo and/or instructions.

  9. Ask about alternate arrangements. If your aid cannot be accommodated due to size or weight restrictions, ask the carrier what alternate arrangements, if any, can be made.

  10. Find out what the carrier will do if something goes wrong. Ask what happens if the mobility aid is lost or damaged while under the carrier's care in transit and confirm the carrier will arrange and pay for repairs or replacement.

  11. Be prepared to fix your mobility aid. Research and keep a list of companies that can fix your mobility aid at your destination should anything happen during your trip.

On the day of travel

  1. Arrive ahead of time. Check-in with sufficient time for boarding and, where necessary, to allow for transfer and disassembly of the mobility aid. Note: advance check-in time varies by carrier.

  2. Have your tools handy. Bring any special tools that may be required for assembly and disassembly of the mobility aid.

  3. Provide instructions and specifications. If possible, be prepared to provide the manufacturer's specification sheet for your mobility aid, as well as any instructions that may assist in the disassembly and reassembly, if applicable.

  4. Provide a list of removable parts. Have a list of all removable parts for your aid as they may need to be removed to accommodate on board storage.

  5. See if you'll need to carry removable parts with you. Ask about the handling of any removable parts, such as the head rest, handles, footrests etc., as you may be required to take these on board as carry-on items or they may need to be packaged with your mobility aid while in transit.

  6. Confirm what happens upon arrival. Ask about when and where you will be receiving your mobility aid at your destination.

  7. Inspect the mobility aid at your destination. If it has been damaged, complete a claim form for damages with the carrier, preferably before leaving the terminal or station.

For more travel tips, read Carriage of Mobility Aids Onboard Planes, Trains and Ferries or Take Charge of Your Travel: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities<.

What are the responsibilities of service providers?

For persons with disabilities travelling within the federal transportation system, service providers must:

  • ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to federal transportation services;
  • accommodate persons with disabilities, up to the point of undue hardship;
  • provide accommodation in a manner that respects the dignity of persons with disabilities; and
  • provide accommodation which considers persons’ unique disability-related needs.

Learn more about standards for accessibility.

How the Agency makes transportation accessible

It’s the Agency’s responsibility to ensure that all Canadians enjoy the same access to travel. 

The Agency ensures that any undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities are removed from transportation services and facilities under its jurisdiction. This includes airplanes, trains, and passenger ferries and buses that cross a provincial or Canadian border.

The Agency removes undue obstacles in three ways:

  1. on a case-by-case basis by resolving accessibility complaints
  2. on a systemic basis by developing regulations, codes of practice and standards and monitoring compliance; and
  3. on an on-going basis by educating persons with disabilities and service providers about their right and responsibilities.
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