Airline Travel with An Omeo Electric Chair

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is, “Can I take my Omeo on an airplane?” And our official answer is that you should always check with your airline to learn their rules and requirements. But that being said, many people have flown with their Omeos so who better to advise you than one of our own users? We reached out to the author, speaker, disability advocate, and Paralympian Tricia Downing to share how she traveled with her Omeo.  Read about her experience below!

Flying with an Omeo

It was Dr. Seuss who once wrote “Oh, the places you’ll go,” and how right he was, even if he had never heard of an invention called Omeo. But this prediction of seeing new things, embarking on great adventures and feeling the rush of the wind through your hair is exactly what I had in mind when I finally decided to invest in an Omeo wheelchair. Oh, the places I could go, indeed.

Make no mistake about it. Buying this piece of equipment was a leap of faith. It wasn’t inexpensive or a decision I took lightly, but after an afternoon of test-riding it, I knew it was going to be a game changer. It would not only change my life, but it would tack on a whole new list of activities my husband and I could do together, which previously were out of reach. Ultimately, we looked at the purchase as an investment in my freedom, independence, and happiness, a boost to our togetherness as a couple, and even a nod to the environment. We no longer had to jump in the car for a quick trip to the grocery store, local beer garden, or to head to our favorite open space for a little Vitamin D. I had a new set of wheels, and I was excited to take it to all the places!

That opportunity finally came when we scheduled a trip to Maui. It was our second. The first time was in 2019, and was our long overdue honeymoon (we married in 2007). We loved it so much that we declared it our happy place and vowed to return as often as possible, even if only every few years. But in October of 2021, not only did we have the opportunity to return, we were able to travel with my newly acquired Omeo. Having already been to Maui and going back to the same resort, we knew what we were in for, our reasons for taking it, and what we wanted to accomplish with it while we were there. Most importantly, I wanted to take a walk on the beach, something I hadn’t done since my injury 21 years prior. We also weren’t renting a car, so the Omeo would allow us to try new restaurants outside of the resort without having to Uber or having me breaking out in a full-on sweat pushing two or more miles just to get to dinner. But we knew it was going to take some creative problem-solving on our part to make sure the Omeo could make the trip safely.

Fortunately, for some peace of mind, the first thing I did when I received my Omeo was to fully insure it. As it was the price of a small car, I felt much better when my insurance agent assured me that a call to him was the smartest first step when making a major purchase such as this recreational vehicle. At least I knew that if the airlines crushed it (which they are known to do to wheelchairs of all types) I would have the funds to replace it. But, I also wanted to get it to Hawaii unscathed because, after all, that was the whole point! Both it and I needed to get to our vacation destination in one piece. Otherwise, it would sort of ruin things.

Every day I count myself fortunate not only to have my husband and partner-in-crime Steve, along for my adventures, but we have traveled together for nineteen years now and have had many learning moments for what works and what doesn’t when traveling with both wheelchairs and sports equipment. Add to that the fact that my husband is an expert mechanic who makes a living working on adaptive equipment. His day job is head mechanic and equipment manager for the U.S. Paracycling team. I realize not everyone has that type of ace-in-the-hole, but you can still follow the strategy we employed to up the odds on giving your Omeo the best shot of making it to your destination in perfect shape.

Here’s what we did:

  1. We added lots and lots of signs. How to move the Omeo, where to hold it when moving, where to tie it down, and of course littering it with FRAGILE signs.
  2. We bubble wrapped it. Because we couldn’t exactly put the chair in a travel case, we tried to protect every inch of it from dents and dings. And to reinforce once again that it was a fragile item.
  3. We also removed the joystick and took it with us on the flight for safe keeping.
  4. Knowing that we wanted to take the Omeo on the beach, I had purchased the sport wheels with wider tires, so Steve bought a perfect-sized box at Home Depot to pack and transport them.
  5. We included tie downs so they could be used in the cargo hold to secure the chair.
  6. Arranged for transportation in a wheelchair accessible vehicle (with a ramp) to get from the airport to the hotel and back. (I also let them know we would be traveling with the Omeo and gave approximate dimensions.
  7. Collected the specs on the chair to help airport staff.

The more you know and can share about the Omeo with the airline agents, the safer it will be. Here are some specifications:

  • 150 lbs
  • 4 batteries in total – 2 Lithium-ion and 2 Auxiliary Batteries
  1. Made sure it was well labeled with my name, phone number, email and hotel name and address.
  2. Took both fobs in case one got lost or became otherwise unusable.
  3. Taped down the lid of the “boot” (trunk) so it wouldn’t get torn off the chair.


Of course, once we got to the airport and began to check the chair, the folks at the airlines did a lot of head scratching to figure out what to do with it. We told them to follow the signs, Steve gave a demonstration on how to move the chair and we filled out the form regarding the type of battery power the chair uses. (see photo)


Armed with the information above, you should be ready to head off on your next flight with your Omeo in tow, ready for fun. Don’t forget, however, an Omeo is also great for local adventures. If you already drive an accessible van, it’s the best way to transport your chair. Just make sure to strap it down for safety.

To conclude my thoughts on travel with the Omeo, here are what I have found to be the Pros and need-to-knows:


  • In some places, an Omeo can take the place of renting a car, especially if the people you are with are walkers, bike riders, scooter fans or otherwise ambulating quicker and easier than you pushing a manual wheelchair.
  • It’s a great way to keep up with friends and partners, but most importantly your own desires.
  • There is no additional cost to fly with it since it’s adaptive equipment.


  • It would be challenging to travel with the Omeo without a little able-bodied help. I think it could be done, but things like getting the chair through the airport or changing to the sport wheels really do require an extra hand.
  • This probably goes without saying, especially if you’ve done any travel, the airlines are not kind to wheelchairs. Make sure to insure your Omeo before you go anywhere.
  • Taking the Omeo makes your load heavier, but when you get to your destination, the idea is for it to make your heart lighter.

All in all, I have found my Omeo to be a welcome addition to my life and travel adventures. And with my love of the outdoors and being active, it truly is just what the Doctor ordered. Oh the places you’ll go!