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Thread: My first flight post-injury

  1. #1

    My first flight post-injury

    I am going on my first trip after my injury. I am flying to Hawaii and am going to spend a week over there. Can anyone give me advice, recommendations, and or post links to helpful threads on this forum.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    What airline?
    Power chair or manual chair?
    Flying alone or with someone else?
    Taking any other equipment (such as a shower chair or lift)?

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3
    United Airlines
    TiLite Aero T, manual
    flying with my brothers
    I’m not taking any equipment with me.
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Assuming this is a non-stop flight and you don't have to change planes...

    Take meds, supplies, etc. in their own bag and label this bag "Medical supplies". You can carry this on the plane and it does not count as one of your carry-ons. Also, take photos of your wheelchair from all sides so you can easily document any damage done to your chair in flight.

    Get to the gate at least 1 hour before the flight. Check in with the gate agent and let them know you will need to 1) gate check your wheelchair, and 2) need an aisle chair and assistance to transfer to the aisle chair and to your seat (you may choose to have your brothers do this instead). Also remind them that you require a seat with a swing up arm rest. If that is not already your seat, ask them to switch you. You have the right to have one person seated with you, so this may also require one of your brothers' seats be changed.

    If you do intermittent cath, do so just prior to boarding (you will be first) and take a kit with you so you can cath under a blanket on the plane. Remember you will be first on, last off the plane, and delays on the tarmac may make the flight even longer than the schedule.

    When it is time for you to board, your entire party can board with you. Go in your own wheelchair to the plane door, and transfer or be lifted onto the aisle chair. If you need assistance for this transfer, be very assertive in directing how you are assisted/lifted. Be sure your wheelchair is corrected tagged for gate check, and take your cushion and anything else removeable off your chair (clothing guards, arm rests, back pack, etc.). Once transferred to the aisle chair, be sure they have secured you properly with all the safety belts and straps.

    They will then roll you to your seat (backwards in the aisle chair), swing up the arm rest, and you can either transfer or again direct being lifted onto your seat. Ideally you should sit on your wheelchair cushion in the plane seat. Ask the cabin attendant to be sure that your gate-checked chair is actually loaded onto the plane (not left on the jetway).

    About 30 minutes from your destination, ask the cabin steward to notify the airport that you will require an aisle chair and lifters at the airport, and that you have a gate-checked wheelchair which you need brought to the door. You will not be able to get off the plane until everyone else is off. I recommend you send one of your brothers off the plane to guard your wheelchair once it is brought to the door. More than once we have seen other passengers try to take our wheelchair as an airport chair!!! They can also inspect it for any damage while waiting for you to disembark. If any damage is noted, file a claim/report on this before leaving the airport.

    Transfer or be lifted to the aisle chair, then to your wheelchair once on the jetway. Hopefully you are flying to an airport with jetways (Honolulu, Maui) as a few airports don't have these (Kona-Kialua for example) and you would then have to go be bumped down the airplane stairs in the aisle chair (scary at best) or be lifted down on the food service truck lift.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  5. #5
    Awesome post, I greatly appreciate it!

  6. #6
    Here is a good resource to download and take with you:

    https://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/201...l-brochure.pdf

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  7. #7
    Senior Member McDuff's Avatar
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    That was a great post KLD.

    Only thing I can add is, depending on how you made your airline reservation, you should/could be able to give the airline advance notice of needing help at the gate. I use AA and on their website they have "checks" asking if you need assistance which is supposed to make sure they have people and equip at your gate to help. Things fall thru though, so follow KLD's advice for arriving early.

    Have fun!

    edit: Oh another thing. You can also have a checked bag declared as your medical supplies that does not count as a checked bag, I carry a shitload of caths on a trip, plus all the other supplies we use, so can fill a small case easy. Not sure if you can claim both a carry on and a checked bag as medical supplies or not, I just had all my onboard needs in my backpack and didn't need to "declare" it as med supplies.
    "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

  8. #8
    Yes, you should notify the airline when you purchase your ticket but in our experience, this information rarely gets conveyed to the gate agent.

    And you can check medical equipment/supplies (as long as they are in a bag that does not have other non-medical things like clothing, etc.), but we always took a carry-on with meds, catheters, Chux, baby wipes, etc. as we were often flying to a cruise location, and didn't want to risk checked baggage getting lost, and not getting it in time to leave on the cruise. We used a soft duffle bag and when returning home usually it was empty, so we either checked it as regular luggage (with our dirty clothes packed inside) or folded it inside our regular checked bag. We often gifted our unused Chux to the ship's hospital upon disembarkation so we didn't have to take them home, and they were also happy to get them. We also gate-checked (instead of taking as checked baggage) our mobile lift and travel shower/commode chair for the same reason.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  9. #9
    I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to plan ahead in case the flight is delayed or your luggage is lost.

    My father has only flown once since his injury 10 years ago. He refuses to fly again since that one trip was so traumatic. And it was only a couple hour flight. Everything that could go wrong, did.

    His flight got cancelled. He sat in the airport for hours and hours before we could get on another flight. His pain got wild with all of this sitting, and cathing multiple times in the airport is no fun, especially when you could be called at anytime to a flight. His luggage got lost. The flight back also got delayed for hours.

    With this in mind, it is essential to carry all important medicines, catheters etc... with you on the plane.

    We did have a good experience with being met with a wheelchair at curbside check-in and being transported to the waiting area. That was really convenient.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hlh View Post
    We did have a good experience with being met with a wheelchair at curbside check-in and being transported to the waiting area. That was really convenient.
    You don't have to transfer to their wheelchair. You can get an escort using your own wheelchair, and they will accompany you (and your party) through Security and all the way to your gate.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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