Bamboo Wheelchair Would Ease Airport Security Hassles

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In an effort to speed up airport security checks for customers in wheelchairs, Japan Airlines says it will start renting out wheelchairs made primarily of bamboo.

The chairs are specifically designed not to trigger airport metal detectors.

"Passengers using steel wheelchairs have had to put up with a full body check every time they fly because the metal frame of a wheelchair sets off the security alarm," the airline said in a statement.

"I have seen people in wheelchairs having a hard time going through metal detectors at airports. I hope this wheelchair model becomes prevalent," said former Hanshin Tigers player Norihiro Akahoshi, a financial contributor to the project, who attended the airline's press conference.

Tammy Banovac, a wheelchair-bound Oklahoma woman who recently went so far as to wear lingerie to go through security in effort to avoid a pat down, might have found a bamboo wheelchair useful.

In development for four years, the wheelchairs are hand-crafted, and in addition to bamboo also use rubber, carbon fiber or plastic in some components.

Japan Airlines said the wheelchairs will be available at Oita airport on Kyushu island and Haneda in Tokyo early next year.

Photo, Daquella Manera, Flickr
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