When I began exploring products and services that make travel more accessible for those travelers who require wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers, it was a very personal journey. My father has overcome a lot of obstacles in his years, but he’s at a point where he does require a walker or wheelchair. However, he is not the person who wants to simply sit at home and not get out and continue exploring the world. Whether it be navigating airports around the world, exploring national parks, getting around the cities, or simply venturing out in his hometown for dinner with friends, I wanted to find a solution to make all these desires possible again.
WHILL Model Ci2 | A personal journey of discovery…
My father doesn’t have use of his right hand due to a spinal cord injury. Therefore, I knew that I needed to find something electric. As I narrowed the search of scooters that would be easy to handle and maneuver through crowds at airports and train stations, my pursuits kept coming back to the WHILL Ci2 power chair, which had just recently been released. It seemed to check all my boxes, plus it offered a level of technology that I was not seeing with any other products out there. The more reviews that I read and research I did, the Ci2 seemed to be the perfect solution to not only make travel enjoyable again but also provide an added ease to his everyday lifestyle.
The Holidays provided an opportunity for my father to take to the airports for several domestic flights during these few months, and in his words, “I simply could not have made these trips to visit family this year if I didn’t have my scooter.” The airlines see a number of wheelchairs and scooters come through their gates every week, but the airline teams and the random travelers were quick to inquire about his Ci2. They wanted to learn more since it was the most unique and sleekest scooter that they had seen maneuvering through the crowds at the airports.
Having the ability to ride all the way to the gates was refreshing for my father. With the click of a few switches, the airlines were able to take control of the scooter at the gate and guide it into the cargo area. They did have to take the scooter apart for one of the smaller planes, but that proved simple for the airlines as it was removing the battery and then disassembling it into the 3 parts and storing it away for the short flight.
With an amazing turning radius, the ability to control via the app, and the customization options, the Ci2 is clearly a game-changer in this industry, and I personally cannot wait to see more from WHILL in the coming years… making travel (and everyday life) more accessible and more enjoyable for so many people.
WHILL Model Ci2 | An interview with a spokesperson, Sylvia Longmire…
Sylvia Longmire is a service-disabled veteran, mother, author, consultant, entrepreneur, world traveler, and the reigning Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016. She traveled extensively from an early age and during her time as an Air Force officer and Special Agent. After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005, her ability to walk started to deteriorate. Fortunately, the progression of her MS was slow enough that she could gradually adapt to new ways of living. When she’s not traveling, Sylvia works as a consultant and subject matter expert on Mexico’s drug war and border security issues. She has two books in print, Cartel and Border Insecurity, as well as numerous editorial articles and photography published about her global travels. She is a single mom to two amazing boys, who inspired her to form The PreJax Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides college scholarships to students with MS or those who have a parent with MS.
Q: How has the Ci2 enhanced your lifestyle?
A: I have a very active lifestyle, both traveling and just getting out and about in my local community. My Whill Ci2 allows me to be comfortable and engage in pretty much any activity I want, especially anything that involves tight spaces or some maneuvering. I also love that it is sleek and attracts a lot of positive attention. It makes me feel good as a wheelchair user in public spaces.
Q: When traveling as you do, how does the Ci2 compare to other options out there?
A: Every wheelchair user has very specific needs for their mobility devices. I do a lot of international travel, and I put my chair through its paces, with things like cobblestones, packed gravel, steep inclines, and a lot of rough surfaces in general. I need large front wheels to overcome thresholds and obstacles, a comfortable seat that I can be in all day, and portability in case accessible transportation isn’t ideal. I chose the Ci2 because it checks off all the boxes for me. I explored other options, and either they are not as comfortable as I need, the wheels aren’t as big, they are not as sturdy, or they don’t separate into pieces that are easily transportable.
Q: Any tips or highlights from your time navigating airports with your Ci2?
A: The biggest airport tip I can give is to make sure that you communicate as clearly as possible with airline staff and the ramp crew what you need to keep your chair from getting damaged. The Ci2 makes it easy because the levers to put the chair in neutral are bright red and easy to find. However, when you’re traveling internationally and the language is a barrier, it can also help to have a document with clearly labeled pictures on the back of the chair to let people know how to move the chair without breaking it apart. Communication is key, and making it as easy as possible for the ramp crew to put the chair in the plane and take it off will help a lot.
WHILL Model Ci2 | The details…
WHILL Power Chairs have received more awards than any other devices in their class. With their compact size, patented Omni-wheels, remote app control, and advanced battery technology, these products allow you to explore the world effortlessly. With its impressive power, smart technology, and superior handling, the Model Ci2 allows you to live the life you aspire to live…
WHILL Model C2 Power Chair: A Compact, Intelligent & Ultra-Portable Mobility Solution:
- SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE: 11-mile per charge range, 300-pound weight capacity, 5 mph top speed
- REMOTE CONTROL: Use the WHILL app to remotely drive the Model Ci2
- PORTABLE: Disassembles in four steps for easy transportation in the trunk of a car – it only weighs 114 pounds, fully assembled
- MANEUVERABILITY: 9″ turning radius allows you to make tight turns in narrow spaces
- POWERFUL: Climb over obstacles up to 2” high with a powerful motor and front Omni-wheels
- ADJUSTABLE: Seat height, seat angle, back angle, controller height, controller side, and the armrest angle are all adjustable – multiple seat sizes available