Tips for travelers with disabilities
Most people are not aware that those with disabilities also need or like to travel, while some must do so as part of their jobs’ descriptions. In recent decades and years technology made this possible for them, however not everyone with a disability knows there are ways to ensure their comfort during flight. Read on for some hopefully useful tips!
Different airlines, different regulations
Disabled people should check the airlines’ websites before booking, to make sure their needs can be met, just like anyone else. If you don’t know your rights upon buying a ticket, you’ll have the very unpleasant surprise to be disrespectfully treated, forced to sit on a regular chair instead, or not receiving help upon embarking or disembarking the aircraft. Some airlines will require people with disabilities to check in 1 hour earlier than the rest of the passengers. Be aware of this situation and you’ll ease everyone’s time, including your own.
Announce them in advance
Most people – disabled or not, make the mistake of not mentioning their special needs. If the staff is not aware people with specific needs – either ambulatory, or even with severe allergies – will be on board, they will be put in a very unpleasant situation. The other passengers will also be disturbed by unprepared staff. Letting the airline know about your needs and situation will also ensure a safer flight, so maybe this will make you change your mind.
Make sure you get a person to assist you
Some airlines might have trained personnel to assist you perform certain tasks, or to help you get to the rest room. Other airlines will demand you bring someone you know for these situations. Whether you must bring a person along or not, you can only find out from the airline’s website.
Your service dog can travel for free
Some passengers have and need a service dog, either to guide them either to offer them emotional support. These animals can travel free of charge in the cabin with the person who they accompany. Like mentioned above, the presence and need for these animals should be also announced ahead of time. You’ll most likely need to provide proper documentation upon embarking, so ensure you have it with you.
Get medical clearance
Some airlines require their passengers with special needs or disabilities to obtain a medical clearance they can travel. The clearance would generally have to be obtained some 10 days before flying. This measure is usually meant to protect the airline. The passengers are partially protected by this clearance in the event the staff tries to deny their access onto the craft.
Pay attention to the plane you book
There are a few plane models out there, and each has a different design. It might be more difficult to fly on a plane with little to no space designated for people in a wheelchair for instance. Some of them do not have a lavatory that is accessible to these passengers. Taking your time to learn about airplane designs will only help you have a better flying experience.