Planning a holiday can be stressful for anyone, so we have created a list of travel tips to help make your travel experience more enjoyable.
Having a physical restriction or disability should not stop you from travelling. Planning a holiday can be stressful for anyone, and all travellers may have unique concerns. With this in mind, we have created a list of travel tips, which we hope will help make planning your trip and your experience during travel more enjoyable.
The best way to have stress-free travel is to plan ahead, research and notify and this will give you peace of mind.
Book assistance when purchasing flight/holiday with your airline/tour operator and give as much detail as possible on what assistance you will require at the airport. Ensure you tell the following people if you have a special requirement:
The agent when booking in person or on online confirmation
The airline in advance of your flight
The Assistance Reception Point in Check-in Hall
The Handling Agent at the gate when called for boarding the flight
The Crew on the flight
You live with your disability every day, this makes you the expert and that means you know exactly what you need and how you and your equipment should be handled. But others may not, so clearly explain what is best for you, to help others understand the best way to assist you.
Thinking about if you need assistance, what level of assistance you require and at what point you will need assistance; ask yourself:
What level of assistance will I need?
Can I walk short distances?
Can I manage steps?
Do I require a lift?
What medication do you need to take and carry with you, and what equipment is required? Don’t just plan for the day of travel - allow for an extra few days in case of delays with luggage. Remember liquid medication require a prescription label and/or a doctors note so that you can carry more than the standard liquid allowance.
Think about how long your flight will be and what you will need to feel comfortable and any medications. Research the airline and what facilities, seating plans and services they can provide.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from any member of staff. Please be mindful that not all staff have been trained and you are the expert of your disability. So give them guidance on how they can best help you.
Consider what mobility equipment is essential for travel, at what point you are happy to part with it at the airport and any additional requirements you may have. It may be a good idea to take some preventative action to eliminate loss of parts/damage – for instance unplug the battery pack, remove the gear stick and replace with….
Ensure at your time of booking, whether at a travel agents, on-line – you notify of your request for assistance – even if this is only required at the boarding gate to assist you onto the plan and store your mobility equipment safely. This will help us to plan and have available staff to assist. Some airlines only allow a set amount of passengers with disabilities, so notification will ensure you can board.
Report to the Assistance Point in the Check-In Hall, even if you do not require assistance at this point. It means we are aware you are on site and can make the necessary arrangements to either assist you from there or to meet you later on.
Come prepared for security and use any time you have in the Check-in reception to prepare.
Allowing yourself extra time will help you, as the journey may take a little longer when travelling with equipment. Extra time will allow you stop and rest if needed and make it less stressful as not rushing. Take a look at the video below that gives an overview of what to expect, especially if you are not familiar with the airport site, the terminal and the facilities.
The AOA’s Security Group has been working with the CAA to reduce the number of incidents of passengers with medical devices being body-scanned or refused alternative search arrangements at the Security Checkpoint. As part of this effort, the CAA has produced medical device awareness cards for passengers and airport security personnel, outlining how passengers should approach the security checkpoint and how security personnel should treat them. Click here for the medical device awareness card.
Call ahead and talk to your hotel/holiday let
Think about hiring equipment at your destination as an alternative
The more research you do, the more accessible you will make your holiday. Check out the below useful links for more great tips.