Airline Travel Tips for the Elderly

Summer is on the way and now is a great time for families to begin planning a vacation for some fun in the sun.

Airline travel can be a headache at any age, but the cramped confines and fast pace of modern air travel can be particularly challenging for older travelers. Read on for some easy steps you can take while planning your vacation to ensure you reach your destination ready to relax.Travel Tips for Seniors

Planning Your Trip

Travelers Insurance
Finding a health care provider or pharmacy that accepts your personal health insurance might be a challenge while away from home, but a traveler’s insurance plan that covers these expenses can remove that barrier and ensure you can receive emergency care or refill a misplaced prescription quickly. Travelers insurance might add $100 – $200 to the cost of your trip, but this service provides an incredibly valuable safety net for those with expanded medical needs.

Communicate your needs to the airline
When booking your flight, take some time to clarify what (if any) physical limitations you might have to ensure the necessary support is ready for you at every step of your journey. Be sure to also include any dietary restrictions you might have so they can be accommodated if the flight offers meal service.

Many airlines allow customers to list any disabilities or needed assistance when booking online. If this option is not available, be sure to call the airline well before your travel day to register these needs.

Wheelchair Assistance
Even if you do not typically need a wheelchair, hurrying through a bustling airport terminal can be at best tiring and at worst cause a fall. When booking your tickets, be sure to request wheelchair assistance from the curb to your gate (and the reverse at your destination airport!) for a smooth trip through the terminal. Tipping isn’t always expected, but it is certainly always welcomed!

While you can request assistance getting into and out of the airplane, it is recommended you do not request this service, as you will typically be the last person to get off the plane.

Lastly, passengers in wheelchairs are typically not put on the general TSA Security line, allowing you to get to your gate faster.

Pack Practically
Travel light – ideally with a roller bag and shoulder-carried bag or backpack that can be brought on board the plane as carry-ons. Your roller bag should be stowed above you and carry all of your nonessential items (extra clothing, sun screen, gifts) while your shoulder bag should be stowed under the seat in front of you with all of your medication, travel documents, snacks and other items needed while travelling. ALWAYS keep your medication together in a single bag and keep that bag with you at all times.

Aim for non-stop, direct flights
Every stop your flight makes will increase the chances of something being lost or missing a connecting flight. Try to book non-stop flights to your destination through major airports and airlines, as this ensures you will board through level terminal walkways, rather than up a steep flight of steps on the tarmac.

Traveling with medication
If traveling with medication, be sure to pack a few extra days’ supply to cover your needs if your return flight is delayed. Be sure to also pack at least two copies of all medical documentation associated with your prescriptions, including the names, dosages and schedule you must follow. Keep all your medication in your small carry on in a single clear plastic bag, as well as any supplies like prep pads or needles.

A more comfortable flight
Airplanes always seem to be just a little too warm or a little too chilly. Prepare for this by wearing comfortable, loose-fitting layers you can add on or pack away as needed. Investing in a C-shaped travel pillow can make napping a much easier experience and don’t forget to get up every hour or so for a quick moment of stretching to help ensure you reach your destination cramp-free.

Avoid using the compartment below your tray
One of the most common airline mishaps is leaving glasses, medication, phones or other important items in the elastic pouch built into the seat in front of the passenger. This is such an overwhelming common occurrence that some frequent travelers suggest ignoring the pouch entirely and storing all items in your below-the-seat carry-on.

SelectCare Home Health Care hopes you found this travel guide informative and take advantage of these tips during your next summer getaway. SelectCare has been empowering New Yorkers to live happier, healthier lives in the comfort of their long-time homes for more than 30 years. To learn more about SelectCare, call today or request a free in-home care guide electronically or by mail!