Traveling with a disability can pose many difficulties.
It can be tough to transport equipment, get from place to place, and generally get your needs met while on the move. But don’t let these obstacles keep you from traveling with a disability! A few tips can ensure an easier traveling experience.
Quick Tips for Flying with a Disability:
– Over-communicate – You cannot be vocal enough with flight staff about the fact that you have a disability. Let the staff know your needs. Later, before your flight, double check to make sure they understand what you previously communicated to them.
– Fly non-stop – If you can afford it, always fly non-stop. A major plus to a direct flight is that airline staff won’t have to keep moving your equipment (such as a wheelchair). This will ensure that it will not be damaged. Also, non-stop flights save you the stress of having to change planes. So if it’s a matter of saving some money or flying non-stop, try and choose the latter option.
– Care for equipment – Get your equipment, such as your wheelchair, serviced prior to your flight. It also may be a good idea to bring extra equipment parts, just in case something needs to be replaced or fixed.
– Label equipment parts – Are there parts of your disability equipment you will not be able to take on the plane? If so, you will need to check it at the gate. Label these parts with tape, giving instructions on how they should be handled.
One traveler wrote of her wheelchair, “I always label my tilt box with a big piece of tape saying ‘PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE.’ I also label my brakes with a big piece of tape, including up and down arrows indicating which way my brakes go to engage or disengage the chair.”
– Purchase a neck cushion – Neck cushions could be considered cheap life-savers. Why? Because they profoundly increase your comfort level on a long flight. You might also find that a neck cushion enables you to sleep better on a flight.
– Beware of airplane bathrooms – This may sound silly, but it’s true. Airplane bathrooms are required to be disability-accessible, but they are still very small. If you require a caregiver, this could pose a problem. In this case, not using an airline bathroom may be your best bet. Try and use the bathroom before you board to avoid the one on the airplane.
What are your travel tips?
Please leave us a comment and let us know how you stay comfortable on a flight. Other readers might really benefit from your experiences!
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
What was your worst flying experience? What was your best flying experience? What were the factors that differentiated the two?
Do you think most airline staff members are polite and well-trained in serving customers with disabilities? Why or why not?