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Can someone point me to a blog/info of Paras who Fly frequently.

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  • Can someone point me to a blog/info of Paras who Fly frequently.

    I will be taking a near cross country trip with my fiance in a few months and I am considering flying for the first time since being injured. I am honestly scared to fly, due to some horror stories I have read about broken/lost chairs ect. ect. ect. I don't really have any Idea how the process works post Injury. Can I bring my chair aboard (folding, manual)? I will need to bring a boxed shower chair with me. Do they charge for my chair as extra luggage or is it free as it is medical equipment? What do I do about layovers (planned or unplanned) without access to my chair? What are the best known Airlines for access? What are some good tips and tricks? Tricks for saving money. Ideas of things that I will need to know. Perhaps someone could point me to a somewhat recent, helpful post about flying as a para. I will be going from Florida (Tampa, Orlando or Jacksonville) to N.Y.C. (I don't know what airport yet) Thank you for any help and advice.
    Has it been five years yet? ..........

  • #2
    Originally posted by barondidit View Post
    Can I bring my chair aboard (folding, manual)?
    A full sized jet is required to have one storage place for a folding manual wheelchair inside the cabin, but it is often not available. It is first come, first serve as well. You should be prepared to "gate check" your manual wheelchair and transfer to an aisle chair (unless you are flying on a plane where you can get to the bulkhead or entrance row seats in your manual chair), and then be taken to your seat in this. Your chair will be carried into the hold by the ramp crew. Be sure to keep with you any easily removed parts, such as your cushion and backpack, and secure foot pedals or armrests so they won't fall off and be lost.

    Originally posted by barondidit View Post
    I will need to bring a boxed shower chair with me. Do they charge for my chair as extra luggage or is it free as it is medical equipment?
    You can check your shower chair (be sure it is marked clearly "MEDICAL EQUIPMENT") without paying a baggage charge.

    Originally posted by barondidit View Post
    What do I do about layovers (planned or unplanned) without access to my chair?
    When you gate check your chair, you need to specify that it be brought up to the jetway at your destination including any layovers, and not checked through to your next flight. You will need to then take your chair to the next gate, and repeat the process of gate checking it and using the aisle chair. Keep in mind that while you will usually board the plane first, you will be the last off, so if you must make connections, be sure there is enough time between flights. Direct flights are always easier, whenever possible.

    Originally posted by barondidit View Post
    What are the best known Airlines for access? What are some good tips and tricks?
    Southwest gets good marks from just about everyone. Have also had good success with Alaska, United, and Delta. Others may share their experiences as well. Be sure to specify you need a seat with a swing up armrest to make your transfer easier. Ask for a free upgrade to 1st class (it doesn't hurt, and sometimes you will get it). While those seats don't have swing up arm, they have greater pitch between rows, so are fairly easy to transfer into/out of from the aisle chair. If you will need to be lifted into/out of your seat, let the gate agent know, as well as the cabin attendants (before you arrive at your destination). They can also arrange for someone to escort you to baggage claim if you need help with carry-ons, etc. Be sure no one grabs your wheelchair in the jetway and takes it as an airport chair. If you are traveling with someone else, ask them to get off the plane ASAP and wait for your chair to be brought up, and guard it until you can get off on the aisle chair.

    (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.

    Comment


    • #3
      I fly a LOT and have for the last 38 years as a c5-6 complete quad. There are some great tips here: https://goesanywhere.com/air-travel/ Also be sure to check out http://www,curbfreewithcorylee.com and http://www.wheelchairtraveling.com


      Rick Goldstein
      GO! Mobility Solutions
      facebook.com/goes.anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        I also forgot to add that it is a good idea to download this booklet and review it:

        http://unitedspinal.org/pdf/2015-acc...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.

        Comment


        • #5
          I fly a lot between the States, Ireland/Europe and Australia. In over 20 years of flying with a disability I have found all airlines to be good so long as you communicate well with ground staff. The only airline I will not fly with is "Spirit airlines" I wont get into why, I'll just say that I value my life and that of my loved ones to much. That said, having only one airline I wont use isn't a bad result

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          • #6
            I fly a lot. Never have brought my chair onboard, always just check it at the gateway, get on the aisle chair. I don't do anything to my chair other than take the cushion in the cabin with me. Don't stress, first off although this is new for you it is pretty routine for the airline staff. A couple things:

            - They reserve the bulkhead seats for handicapped people. Do not sit in them, the armrests don't go up. If you are fly in coach I like the window seat 1 back from the bulkhead. You can lift the armrests, slide across to the window and enjoy the flight without people having to climb over you.

            - I always get to the airport a little early, even though you get to the front of the line the time it takes you get searched is highly variable. Sometimes it takes a while to find someone, and some people take 3 minutes to clear you, some 20.

            - TSA pre-check is well worth the time and money. Instead of a rather invasive patdown, they wipe you hands look over your chair and you are done.

            - LGA (LaGuardia) is a hell hole. Orlando is nice.

            - I don't know if you intermittent cath, but if you do then I watch my fluid intake before the flight but wear those depends underwear just in case. On advice of my urologist I take a cipro before I fly because you are at greater risk of UTI if you dehydrate.

            - If you are flying business class try for seat 1B or C, on some planes you can get to the seat in your manual chair (well I can).

            - When you get the the gate, go remind the gate agent that you need an aisle char and ask for a luggage tag for your chair.

            -
            I mostly fly Delta, they have gotten a lot better. I did 26 flights last year (13 round trips) and didn't have a problem on one of them.

            - You are a para right? Why are bringing a shower bench? Seems like a hassle and hotels have either built in shower benches or you can get them sent. Only once did I have an issue with that I spent 54 bucks and Amazon had a brand new one there in 2 days if you are amazon prime (http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Medical-.../dp/B002VWK0T6)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
              Be sure no one grabs your wheelchair in the jetway and takes it as an airport chair. If you are traveling with someone else, ask them to get off the plane ASAP and wait for your chair to be brought up, and guard it until you can get off on the aisle chair.
              (KLD)
              Heh, so I didn't see it because I was still on the plane but recently the stewardess was being helpful and put my cushion on my chair while I was still on the plane (I now keep my cushion to prevent this from happening) so apparently they put this old guy in my chair. I have 4 1/2 inches of dump and a 4 inch COG and no anti tippers. Poor old guy went right over backwards (no push handles either). He was okay but man was he was pissed off. Anyway, you don't want people using your chair, keep your cushion.

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              • #8
                Thanks a lot for the info guys! You all made me feel a bit better. I will read and download all the info that you provided links to KLD. Yes t8burst, I am a t10 para, almost 11 years post. I was curious about what to do about cathing, and your ideas are good. Now... to try and find the best prices. I don't leave till the end of june so I am hoping to find some good deals if I book early.
                Has it been five years yet? ..........

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                • #9
                  T8 has some great advice there. In my experience everything tends to go easily, just leave yourself a little extra time and I always leave myself at least 1 hour to catch a plane for a layover (because you're gonna be first one on and last one off usually). I'm going to echo his advice that you communicate with everyone at the airport (EVERYONE), because no one tells the other what they're doing. I call the airline and let them know I need an isle chair and a window seat as soon as I book, then I call a couple days before to remind them again and confirm that they didn't change the seating arrangements. At check in I tell the attendant I need an aisle chair, then I go immediately to the gate and tell the person there I need an aisle chair (if I'm too early and no one is at the gate, I go to an adjacent gate and find a hostess there to alert that I need an aisle chair), then about fifteen minutes before they START boarding, I make sure I'm sitting right in front of the gate so people can clearly see me (in case everyone forgot). Then when the plane is about to touch down, I again remind the flight attendant that I need an aisle chair. I'm probably a little too paranoid.

                  With regard to the shower chair, I say don't bring it. I have a little inflatable camping cushion that packs up about the size of a soda can and I just sit my narrow ass on the floor of the tub. Accessible or not, you can always reach the controls and the lip of the tub makes a nice midway transition point for getting into and out of the chair. When I'm really lazy (or forgetful) I just fold up an extra towel and toss it on the floor of the tub and make do with that... come to think of it you probably shouldn't take any of my advice, when I say it out loud I realize I do everything the wrong/lazy way.

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                  • #10
                    I'm flying for the first time Sunday. I'm a c3c4 quad who will need full assistance with transferring. Anything special I need to do? I'm excited and can't wait.

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                    • #11
                      ABSOLUTELY avoid Spirit Airlines; the WORST!

                      r
                      Rick Goldstein
                      GO! Mobility Solutions
                      facebook.com/goes.anywhere

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HACKNSACK44 View Post
                        I'm flying for the first time Sunday. I'm a c3c4 quad who will need full assistance with transferring. Anything special I need to do? I'm excited and can't wait.
                        You will be traveling with someone else I assume? Many of the people who are hired to do this through the airport or airline are NOT trained. They will try to lift you by your arms, for example. I have seen many people dropped, fall out of the aisle chair, or get bumped and skin torn by being lifted over a non-swing away armrest, or even break a bone by getting a leg caught when being rolled down the aisle. You need to take charge of how you are lifted from your wheelchair to the aisle chair, securely strapped into the aisle chair, and then lifted from the aisle chair to your seat. You will need to do the reverse upon arrival. You also will need to inform the airline gate attendant that you will require lifters (at least 2) upon boarding, and notify the cabin attendant that you will require this upon landing (at least 30 minutes before landing).

                        You will also need to prepare your chair for gate checking (assuming it is a power chair, remove the controls if possible, put the chair in free-wheel, and take your controls, cushion and any backpack as carry-ons). Before arrival, tell the cabin attendant that you have a power wheelchair that has been gate checked, that you need brought up to the jetway. As soon as you get into the chair, turn it on and put it through all its functions to be sure that it was not damaged. If damage is discovered, file a claim with the airline's compliance officer immediately (before you leave the airport).

                        When traveling with my mother (high quad due to MS), I took two gait belts. We put one around her waist, and the other around both thighs together. I assigned the "lifters" to stand on either side of her and grasp and lift with the thigh belt, while I took hold of the waist belt from behind the chair/seat, and transferred sideways (have the two chairs parallel, not at a 90 degree angle). I also had the person who was lifting from the "to" side move her cushion over at the same time.

                        (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.

                        Comment

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