With another long, holiday weekend upon us, many of you will be considering whether to travel or not due to your crutches. As an experienced user of crutches, I wanted to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained while traveling with crutches on planes. I think many of you would be surprised at how accommodating the airlines will be, and how it can be far easier than expected.
HERE WE GO:
- If possible, call ahead to the airline. Let them know you will be on crutches and need a wheelchair. The airlines reserve seats for disabled passengers, so if you call ahead you may be able to secure one earlier. Lots of times they will move you to a bulkhead seat which means more room to take care of your leg/ankle/foot AND quick access to your crutches. Bonus!
- When checking your bag, either via skycap or at the gate, tell them you will need assistance. Usually they will offer you a wheelchair and wheelchair assistance. You decide if you want it or not. I don’t always take it when boarding my first flight, but if I have a connecting flight, I always do. It helps you to get to the connecting flights much faster.
- You will get priority boarding. Rock On. This means you will board earlier, in the first group usually. Super helpful as it gives you time to safely get to your seat and get settled without the stampede of the herds of other passengers.
- Sometimes you can get a gate pass to have a family member help you get through security and take you all the way up to the gate. Again, awesome!
- Your crutches will be stored for you on the plane. They do not count as a carry-on. Definite Bonus!
Hit the restroom before getting on the plane. You don’t want to have to try and navigate to the restrooms on the plane while using your crutches in the narrow aisles/tiny restrooms. NOT FUN!
Wheelchairs DO make managing baggage easier.
You are often the first one off the plane.
If needed, they will have someone accompany you to baggage, and out to your taxi. Be prepared to tip your helper.
NEGATIVE FOR SOME: You are no longer eligible to sit in an exit row. Not a biggie really.
Don’t let your crutches keep you from taking that trip. Yes, it’s more work, but you can make it work. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, I’d love to help you!