Written by Anthony Plant
As an MND sufferer, with daughters and grandchildren on two continents (USA and Australia), I needed a folding powered wheelchair that we could put in the car and the aircraft easily. I also wanted it to be sturdy enough for my off-road jaunts.
I have a large go anywhere powerchair at home, but traveling abroad with it is hard work and you must arrange transport for it to and from the airport. Visiting my daughters is tricky as they have normal cars so, even if I arrange to get my powerchair to their respective houses, days out are spent in either a push wheelchair (frustrating) or a hired scooter (flat surfaces only).
‘I would like to commend the service I have received from the folks at Spring Chicken and I recommend them unreservedly.’
After much head-scratching research, I settled on the Freedom model from Spring Chicken. They arranged to come up to our cottage and, after testing the chair in my cobbled village, I chose the A08L model. At first, I was a little concerned about repairs – as they were in Oxford and I was in Lancashire – but was assured that a roving engineer man would take care of any warranty issues (more on this later).
The chair arrived just before a ten-week trip to our daughters in Texas. After unwrapping and putting on the (optional extra) headrest, I was off up the village to test out my new toy. it performed really well on the rough ground and fields around home.
The chair is slightly heavier than we thought, so putting it in the car is a two person (or one strong person job), but popping the batteries out made it easier. Air travel is easy with the Freedom – make sure you photocopy all the chair instructions and put them in the back of the chair as the staff at the check in will want to see them.
As I had two batteries, one was put in my on board bag (no lithium batteries in hold) and the other left on the chair. Remove the battery and the chair controller at the door of the plane (2-minute job) and put them in your cabin bags, set the chair to freewheel mode and it will be on the air bridge within ten minutes of landing. Put the controller and battery in and you are off! We had ten flights in total during our trip to the states and they all went smoothly.
One of our trips was to Florida for ten days at Disney. The chair performed superbly. I was concerned about the batteries lasting, but even a full day at Disney and an evening spent running around the resort chasing grandchildren (do they never tire?) only used up 50% of the two batteries! One battery would probably have coped, but the second gave me peace of mind. Charging at night was easy and quick.
When we returned from our trip one of the first things I did was email Spring Chicken to tell them how pleased I was with the chair. They in turn emailed me and asked me if I could do a review for customers on the website.
Wouldn’t you just know it: only days later the chair stopped working!
One phone call to Spring Chicken and Rob the repairman was at my cottage a 2 days later. The repair was not as straightforward at first thought, so he came back with some parts the following week and said it was a temporary fix, however he thought I may need a new motor which were temporarily unavailable. Another breakdown the following week was particularly galling as we didn’t have a spare wheelchair with us. But we emailed the next day and a brand-new chair is the result.
I think the service I have received is beyond reproach. Electronics and parts can break, but it’s what happens afterwards that counts. I would like to commend the service I have received from the folks at Spring Chicken and I recommend them unreservedly.