For many people with reduced mobility a Zimmer frame, also known as a walking frame, Zimmer walking frame or just a walker, is an essential mobility aid. So when traveling by air it is important to know the rules for taking your mobility device with you.
Zimmer frames/walkers can be taken through airport security and to the gate. Whether they can be taken in the cabin depends on the airline’s policy, how large they are and whether there is sufficient storage on the plane.
Many Zimmer frames/walkers can be quite wide and difficult to store on board and certainly won’t fit in an overhead compartment.
You may wish to consider buying a folding walker which should make traveling easier. These are some of the most popular available.
Can you take a zimmer frame through airport security
There are no restrictions on taking a zimmer frame/walker through a security checkpoint at the airport.
However you may want to consider checking it in at check in as most assistive devices are carried free of charge and then ask for wheelchair assistance.
The TSA offers a very good service on Twitter where you can ask a specific question about whether you can take something through the security checkpoint and they will respond quickly.
This is an example response to a passenger’s question regarding carrying a zimmer frame:
Other assistive devices and walking aids
Walking sticks and canes
There seems to be some confusion regarding these, perhaps there is a difference between a walking stick and a walking cane that I am not aware of or it seems it could depend whether you need one as a mobility aid to be able to walk or just like to have one with you (perhaps for hiking).
See the following two replies from AskTSA:
With the reply above it is obviously not just that it is 5 feet long as you can see from this reply below:
So both normal and folding walking sticks must be packed in checked bags and cannot be taken through airport security and onto a plane UNLESS you require it to walk with.
A manual wheelchair, and its accessories (such as a transfer board), are allowed through airport security. If there is no room for your wheelchair in your airline’s cabin then it will be taken at the boarding gate and gate checked by the gate agent and put into the aircraft’s hold.
It would then be taken out of the hold by the gate agent at your final destination and should be just outside the aircraft’s door when you disembark, along with children’s strollers etc.
I suggest you contact your airline prior to flying to find out their policy.
Wheelchairs do seem to cause problems at security checkpoints it seems as there are many complaints from people on the AskTSA Twitter page regarding their treatment when using a wheelchair.
Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters
You can take these mobility devices through the security checkpoint but you are unlikely to be able to take them into the cabin with you as there would be nowhere to store them.
There could be an issue with battery-powered wheelchairs due to their lithium batteries as the Federal Aviation Administration has some strict rules on flying with lithium batteries.
Contact your airline to find out their policy.
TSA video advice
Can you take a zimmer frame on board?
One thing that many people who need to take a wheelchair, zimmer frame or other mobility aid with them that has to go into the hold is whether they will be charged for this. In almost all cases it will be carried free of charge.
The US Department of Transportation advice on taking wheelchairs and other mobility aids on a plane – Wheelchairs and Other Assistive Devices
A few airline’s policies on taking mobility devices on board with you:
- American Airlines – Mobility and medical devices don’t count toward carry-on limits. If space is limited, the device doesn’t fit in the cabin or if it isn’t required during the flight, it may need to be checked. These include canes and walkers that can be collapsed to fit into overhead and under-seat storage. American Airlines Traveling with mobility and medical devices
- Delta – The onboard stowage space is available for the first collapsible wheelchair that will fit in this space. This space is available on a first come-first serve basis. Delta Mobility Aids
- Southwest – If assistive devices cannot be stored safely in the cabin, we will transport it in the cargo compartment [free of charge]. The Customer has the option to retrieve the checked assistive devices at the gate or baggage claim upon arrival at his or her destination. Southwest Wheelchairs & other assistive devices
- Virgin Atlantic – You can usually take a mobility device, including a zimmer frame, into the cabin with you. Occasionally, where there is nowhere in the cabin to store them, the cabin crew will need to place them in the hold. If this is the case on your flight, then the crew will help you get about the cabin as needed. Virgin Atlantic mobility aids.
- Qantas – On international flights in wide-bodied aircraft there is a restriction on mobility aids and wheelchairs which must be no larger than 150cm wide x 160cm high x 150cm long – Qantas mobility aid size restrictions
You should have no problems taking a zimmer frame or walker with you when traveling. Just make sure you contact Have a good and stress-free flight.