“I ordered my wife one of the regular chairs in mid-January (2019) in anticipation of a March-2019 trip-of-a-lifetime to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. We were to be traveling for virtually the entire month of March. The FOLD & GO virtually made the trip possible! I am not overstating here. My wife would have never Ben able to get around to visit the places we did, and see the sights we saw had she been without the chair. It got her everywhere she needed to go, with the exception of not being able to climb the very STEEP stairs at the temples at Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia). She still had to forego stairs as she has little strength in her lower legs, and very low stamina. Still, she was able to get around to see the many sights even though some were from a little distance.
Many of the sidewalks in city’s of Southeast Asia are essentially unusable to wheelchairs for a variety of reasons. No curb cuts and 8-10 inch elevation changes combined with literally hundreds of scooters and motor bikes make it so. Thus, in order to get around in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (aka, Saigon) and Hanoi, she had to resort to driving with the cars and scooters in the streets. After the first gut-wrenching attempt at this, she soon became accustomed to the “rules of the road” as they exist in the named cities. Basically, that once you start moving to cross the street, don’t stop, don’t change direction or speed, just keep on going. Then the other traffic will move around you. Still a little nerve wracking at times, but totally manageable. Not even one close call!
The FOLD & GO even got her through the jungle area of Cu Chi, Vietnam, home of the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels (of Ho Chi Minh Trail fame) with only occasional coaxing by myself and our guide. (This terrain was the one place where the Heavy Duty chair would have likely been more appropriate!) But overall the chair passed with flying colors, doing all that we needed it to do. Our drivers, guides, and the people of the three countries were all FASCINATED with the chair, garnering stares and conversation wherever we went. And the “went” part even included sampan cruises all the way up to an overnight trip on a boat in Ha Long Bay (northern Vietnam).
Kudos to the folks at FOLD & GO for this remarkable product. We will be using it many more times this year as we renew our commitment to traveling in our retirement. (We had an almost 2 year break when my wife was diagnosed with the peripheral neuropathy that led to her fairly significant mobility issues.)
I do need to mention some of the DOWN side of this whole experience, however. And it concerns the Asian Airlines and how they deal with the battery powered chair. We were allowed to “gate-check” the chair with Delta ONLY upon our initial departure from Albuquerque, NM. After that, the chair was baggage checked through to wherever we were going. (Korean Air, Air Asia, and Vietnam Airways all did this.) We were quizzed about the batteries, and had to hand carry them everywhere with us. If you go, DO TAKE the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) with you. I can’t stress this enough. I placed a printed copy, along with the chairs measurements (including pictures open and folded) and weight info into a cellophane page protector and kept in handy in the outside pouch of our carry-on bag for easy access. It was needed at virtually EVERY place we went.
Our WORST CASE scenario was when leaving Siem Reap, Cambodia headed for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Cambodia Angkor Air flat out REFUSED to allow the chair on the plane at all; batteries not withstanding! We had to SHIP the chair via overland carrier at the cost of $100 USD, and it took 2 days before we got it back in hand. Fortunately our travel company was able to provide a standard wheelchair (the push kind) for the time we were without the FOLD & GO.
So if your travel plans include any vacations to ANY countries in Southeast Asia, be prepared to face obstacles and uphill battles with security and airlines personnel at almost every turn. This has NOTHING to do with the fine folks at FOLD & GO; they can’t predict what ANY airlines will do, especially those in foreign country’s.
A special shout-out to Michele (CEO), whose guidance and council in advance of our trip prepared us for this possibility, and made it possible for me to be able to keep my cool and not end up in some foreign jail for making a scene. Our trip was still a magical experience, and one made possible by our Fold-and-Go chair. Thanks again for the great product, and support.”