It’s important to make air travel for seniors as safe and as comfortable as possible. Some of the best tips include requesting a wheelchair, asking for special screening procedures, carrying all-important medications on the plane, protecting against checkpoint theft and getting the best available seats for seniors.
All these tips make air travel for seniors that much better. The key for seniors is to plan ahead or hire a non-emergency medical transport company that handles these issues. A flight nurse who specializes in patient advocacy can assist passengers in making all the below senior air travel arrangements.
Request a Wheelchair
For some seniors, it’s difficult to walk from the curb to the gate. Many seniors experience problems with their hips and feet. They may also have respiratory issues that hinder the ability to walk very far. This is one of the most common issues in air travel for seniors. All airports provide wheelchairs for those who request them, which can be done in advance or when you arrive. You may also bring your own wheelchair, which airline employees will store during the flight.
Ask For Special Screening Procedures
The federal Transportation Safety Agency (TSA), which oversees airport security in the U.S., offers special security check procedures for those older than 75 or traveling with a disability. Please note that if you have a wearable medical device or use medical equipment (such as a respirator), the TSA will apply extra screening tests, such as testing for traces of explosives. Another smart move is to register with TSA Pre-Check. Also, always strive to arrive early.
Carry All Important Medications On The Plane
Like passengers of all ages, seniors should never put important medicine into checked luggage. That can become a serious issue if the luggage is lost. Seniors should place medications in a handbag or whatever is the most comfortable for them to carry. Make sure it is a size that can slide under the seat in front of you. That way, you can handle it yourself and not need help putting the bag in an overhead bin.
Protect Against Checkpoint Theft
This is another issue that applies to everyone. However, thieves may see seniors as easier victims. The important issue here is to maintain eye contact with your items as much as possible, or have someone there that can do it for you. For example, try to go through security at the same time your bags go through. The longer your items sit on the other end of the baggage belt with no one watching them, the easier it is for a thief to take something from them.
Best Available Seats For Seniors
Most seniors prefer getting seated at or near the front of the plane, which provides more legroom and a shorter walk to the restroom. This is something to mention when buying the tickets. A flight coordinator also can arrange this with the airlines by contacting them in advance. Senior air travel is an important issue as the population of the country ages and more people want to travel. It’s important to know you are not alone and that support is available to make air travel for seniors something to enjoy, not dread.