ISS 2017 Program


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IC66: Air Travel with a Wheelchair: What Seating Experts Should Know

Air travel for people who use a wheelchair involves transferring to a boarding chair to get into the aircraft for most airlines. The various types of boarding devices will be discussed to illuminate the differences. Stowing wheelchairs in the belly of the aircraft is standard for most non-folding manual wheelchairs and all power wheelchairs. Differences in various aircrafts will be highlighted as well as helpful hints to protect a wheelchair during flight.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to;



Jessica Presperin Pedersen, OTR/L, ATP
Rehab Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
United States

Jessica works as a researcher at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago soon to be called the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Jessica recently earned her doctorate in OT from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She provides wheelchair and seating services at an RIC off-site and has a private practice where she provides seating consultations and presentations for pre-service and post- service continuing education as well as product development.

Mary Shea, OTR/L, ATP/SMS
Kessler Rehabilitation Center
West Orange, New Jersey
United States



    1. Darcy, S. (2012). (Dis)embodied air travel experiences: Disability, discrimination and the affect of a discontinuous air travel chain. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 19.
    2. Presperin Pedersen, J., & Axelson, P. (2016). I’m leaving on a jet plane. I hope I'll see my chair again. In Proceedings from 32nd International Seating Symposium: Imagine the Possibilities, Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia. 247-253.
    3. McCarthy, M., J. (2011). Improving the United States airline industry's capacity to provide safe and dignified services to travelers with disabilities: focus group findings. Disability and Rehabilitation, 33 (25-26), 2612-2619.

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