Preparation and communication are the keys to an enjoyable trip. Airlines are ready and able to provide what you need, just let them know. My motto is “It never hurts to ask,” especially when it comes to accommodations such as air travel accessibility.
Request assistance from airline representatives when you purchase your ticket or make reservations. Be sure to mention all requests for; getting to your gate, boarding, getting to your seat, deplaning or connecting. An early check-in (usually 2 days prior to flight) is required if you travel with an assistive device, need oxygen or a respirator hookup, or for shipping some battery-powered wheelchairs.
For long flights, consider purchasing a Business Class or First Class ticket so you can recline, if sitting for a long period of time is difficult. The bulkhead is also a good place to sit for extra leg room. Larger airplanes with multiple aisles generally have foldable aisle chairs available for transfer to the lavatory. The flight attendant will need to push you as the wheels are small and you will need to be able to transfer yourself to the toilet.
Special seating is also available for fully trained service animals and to accommodate certain types of prosthetic devices. Please note that some destinations have quarantine laws that may prohibit entry of an animal.
Free wheelchair service is available to and from the gates and special chairs are available if needed to get to your seat. Electric carts are available at some airports, which are especially helpful for connecting flights.
Accommodations are also available for the hearing and visually impaired and those with dietary restrictions.
If it’s time to visit the family or take an amazing vacation, there are travel agencies that specialize in air travel accessibility and disability travel or you can work with the airline directly. Either way, remember to prepare and communicate. Enjoy and Bon Voyage!