Have you dreamed of one day traveling to some place far away? Or perhaps you’d like to visit your grandchildren, without the 9 hour car ride. Maybe you’ve saved to travel in retirement, or perhaps you’re someone who wants to take your parents on a special trip. My mother and I have talked about going on a trip for years. Air travel can get us to some fantastic places, but it can be challenging as well. Long treks through airports and lengthy airplane rides can drain anyone, and for seniors with health issues they can be especially taxing. My 68-year old mother and I recently learned that there are a few air travel tips that can make travel a little easier.
Did you know that you can request special meals for a large variety of dietary restrictions? Most flights don’t serve meals these days, but longer flights (like international flights) do. Special meal requests must be made in advance though. My mom is lactose intolerant, so I ordered lactose-free meals for her. The great thing, other than being able to avoid lactose, was that special meals are usually served first on the plane.
Wheelchair assistance is another special service you can request when booking your airplane tickets. Airports will provide a wheelchair and someone to get you from one place to another on your journey through the airports along your route. Sometimes, gates between connecting flights are far apart and connection times are short. That means hoofing it through the airport. A wheelchair and attendant can dramatically reduce stress and physical exhaustion. Those in wheelchairs (and those traveling with them) are usually allowed to board before everyone else.
My husband recommended that we get the window seat so that one of us could lean against the wall as we slept during our nine-hour flight. It is a great idea in theory, but we were on a row with 3 seats. Mom, who is not as agile as she used to be, discovered that it was quite a challenge to climb out of the row to go to the bathroom or stretch her legs. If you’ve been on an airplane lately, you know how close together the seats are. And even if you don’t need to get out of your seat, it is important to get up and stretch your legs every couple of hours. On the way home, I made sure that mom’s seat was on the isle so she wouldn’t have to work so hard to get out.
Know what services are available to you when traveling by plane. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and your trip will be that much more enjoyable.
Do you have any air travel tips?