A trip through TSA at an airport can prove to be a sometimes frustrating and stressful situation for anyone, but especially those who use a wheelchair. Before you head to the airport next, read these tips to help you know what to expect of your trip through TSA in a wheelchair.
First things first, you do not need to worry about having to get out of your wheelchair. If you cannot stand or walk, you can stay in your chair throughout your trip through TSA. If you are able to stand for a minimal amount of time and walk through the screening machine, you can request to be immediately reunited with your chair on the other side.
For those who do not have the ability to leave their chair, TSA will give you a pat down screening. These pat down screenings should always be done by a TSA officer of the same gender as you. This may mean you have to wait for an officer of the same gender to become available for your screening.
If you feel uncomfortable having the screening done in public or sensitive areas will need to be patted down, you can request a private screening. During a private screening, a TSA officer of the same gender will be present along with another TSA officer and a companion of your choosing.
Before beginning a screening, you are allowed to make officers aware of certain conditions or things you can and cannot do. For example, if you are unable to raise your arms or move your upper body, make the TSA officer aware. You will also want to let them know of any areas that are painful to the touch.
In addition to the screening of your person, your wheelchair will also be screened. This can include your wheelchair cushion, back, and any removeable pouches or storage. TSA officers may do tests to your chair to check for traces of explosives or other material. If something out of the norm is detected, this may require them to do further screening.
If you have further questions about what to expect while going through TSA, you can call the TSA Cares Help Line at 1-855-787-2227.
Source: wheelchairtravel.org, Accessed: 4/7/17