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Help: traveling with limited mobility

13

Replies to: Help: traveling with limited mobility

  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,923 Senior Member
    Thank you so much. My mom and I were talking about this this morning and I basically said it can't be worse than the last time we traveled to England. I was 2, my mom's mom was extremely weak and dying of lung cancer, and I ran away from them in the middle of Heathrow International.

    Luckily we have a pretty good sense of humor about all of this. We have to in order to just keep our sanity through everything.

    I found a very reasonably priced air france flight. The Air Canada is actually Air Rouge (or Canada Rouge?). The reviews of the seats were that were very uncomfortable but the reviews were mostly from 2014.
  • anomanderanomander Registered User Posts: 1,648 Senior Member
    Not to be a downer, but just FYI my sister has lupus and traveling does sometimes cause it to flare up. Hopefully you've got the international insurance thing covered, but what helps my sister is to reduce the stress of traveling as much as possible by not trying to do too much in the way of activities.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,923 Senior Member
    Thanks, @anomander I'm already in a flare right now and I know this will probably make it worse. I haven't traveled at all since getting sick and wouldn't be attempting this if it weren't for elderly relatives and failing health. :(
  • travelnuttravelnut Registered User Posts: 1,955 Senior Member
    Unless there is a price issue with booking your flights by phone, that is how I would do it. Ask for what you need, whether it is easy lav access, a particular seating position, being in a row close to the jetway to reduce walking etc. With symptoms that wax and wane, planning for the worst case scenario isn't a bad idea. Airlines seem to take medical needs very seriously and will want it to work out all around. See how full the particular flight is; they may have ways to stack the deck in favor of you getting a little space advantage. I had an unpredictable circumstance, and was always able to get help at the last minute, yet booking it ahead helped. Another thing that really made a difference to me was being able to use the airline's lounge during a long layover. That is usually reserved for frequent flyers or business class and up passengers, but if it would help, the space is much more comfortable than the bulk of airport seating areas. Couldn't hurt to ask.

    All the best and sorry that this trip is precipitated by a sad family time.
  • TigerleTigerle Registered User Posts: 366 Member
    edited June 2016
    I haven't been to London for a few years and not since having a kid using a wheelchair myself (as you probably know, if you don't need it you don't see it), but a friend with MS went on a trip about two years ago and was VERY impressed with accessibility in London. Where else will you be going?
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    The Chase Sapphire preferred visa credit card (and some others) provides some travel insurance but not trip evacuation insurance. My relative who has lupus has been in remission for decades now and has done a lot of travel without any flare ups. You can talk with the airline disabilities desks at no charge before and after buying your ticket, to find out how they can help make your trip as pleasant as possible. I call them right after purchasing my tickets and they help me get a comfortable and appropriate seat and have H seated beside me, even when we are in separate reservations. When I needed a wheelchair, I would let the airlines know right after booking the ticket and confirm it before the flight.

    I'm sorry your relative is doing poorly and your lupus is flaring. Please take care and give yourself lots of rest time.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,923 Senior Member
    @Tigerle I think the plan right now is to spend around a week in Swindon which is in SW England. It seems like a pretty big town. Then we'll spend around a week in London. The one thing I'd really like to do is the haunted London walk or whatever it's called but I'm not sure I can convince my mom to do that :p

    @HIMom my Chase credit card (it's not Chase Sapphire though) is the only one I use but I have several credit cards with other companies, too. Good idea in checking into travel insurance.

    I will definitely be calling the airlines before I purchase the tickets just to save myself a headache (or attempt to). I did start ordering tickets yesterday through some airline (maybe Air Canada? It was late... lol) and there was a space to explain what accommodations were needed.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    Yes, it's worthwhile calling your CCard companies to see which offer what benefits. I have been able to get the change and cancellation fees refunded by the CC insurer in past medically-required cancellations. United also refunded cancellation fees when my doc ordered me to cancel travel and gave me a travel certificate for future travel.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,689 Senior Member
    According to http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Air_Canada/information.php , the Air Canada Rouge planes have regular economy seating with 29-30" pitch, Rouge+ premium economy with 34-35" pitch, and Premium Rouge seating that is like domestic business class or not even that good.
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 8,648 Senior Member
    My daughter flew Air Canada from DC to Copenhagen via Toronto. Everything went smoothly and it was much easier to change planes early in the trip rather than later. She liked the airline but the only accommodation she needed was a veg meal.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 2,107 Senior Member
    edited June 2016
    If you are assured "premium economy" or "comfort" seats on Air France you'll probably be okay; otherwise, caveat emptor.

    When D and I travelled AF last summer and requested bulkhead (we, too, have mobility/chronic pain issues), we were told that they did those types of seat assignments at the gate. Of course, when we got to the gate, we were told that there were no more "comfort seats" and were crammed into the last row of the airplane. Not a fun flight.

    (BTW - on planes that have the bulkhead seats in the exit row, the middle section of bulkhead would be okay).

    Happy travels!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,689 Senior Member
    If specific seats are important, before buying a ticket, try previewing the seat map on the airline's web site to see if the desirable seats are available for pre-assignment (and whether they cost extra).

    Yes, some seats (usually some rows in the back) will be held for assignment just before the flight, mainly to make it easier to rearrange for families with small children and attendants of people with disabilities, but that means that people buying tickets later may have no seat assignment at all until just before the flight, with risk of not being able to get the needed or desired kind of seat (or, in some overbooking situations, being at increased risk of involuntary denied boarding).
  • showmom858showmom858 Registered User Posts: 2,881 Senior Member
    @romanigypsyeyes - when H and I were there in October our friends (that live in England) met us in London and we did the haunted bus ride around London. We had planned to do the Jack the Ripper walking tour, but because of the rain that night we decided to do the bus. It was really fun and might be a better option for you instead of walking.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,923 Senior Member
    edited June 2016
    Oh thanks for that @showmom858 ! That sounds really fun and something even my mom might go for... maybe.

    I think the flights I've been looking at allow you to pick your seats if you're in the economy+ section.

    Ok I have a running list of things I need to ask the airlines:
    -Flight cancellation for medical reasons (also going to ask Chase and the other banks my CCs are through)
    -Accommodations in the airport and on the plane (specifically, how do we navigate since my mom is pushing. Especially need to know what happens if we have a layover)
    -Asking if the plane aisles are wheelchair friendly. I don't anticipate needing to use it on the plane but it's something to consider.
    -Checking my wheelchair and using an airport one vs using my own- is one easier? preferred? etc
    -Asking about what I need to do (if anything) with my prescription medications. I have something like 12 pill prescriptions that I take daily and would much prefer they all come in my carry-on with me rather than risk them getting checked and lost.

    Other things that I need to do/consider:
    -International health insurance (check! Through the U even if we're on pleasure travel)
    -Checking how comfortable and spacious seats are through UCB's link.
    -Ask about rental cars and making sure they have enough trunk space for my foldable wheelchair.

    Am I missing things? I'm sure I am....
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,923 Senior Member
    Oh yes and got an OK from my PCP with the recommendation to wear compression socks. Thanks to whoever gave me the head's up to ask about bloodclots (I can't remember if it was on here or via PM).
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