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By mylove On 2009.08.04 12:07
Hi folks! Does anyone have any experience with flying? It's been a long time since either one of us has done it (and most of the rules have changed!), and we're about to go on vacation next week. I've talked to a couple of my friends that commute regularly, and they had some suggestions, but as you might imagine, they're young able-bodied go-getters, so for them, layovers, seating, etc are no big thing.

I have booked a flight that has two legs with an unavoidable couple of hour layover. I actually thought that that might be for the best, anyhow, since it will allow for some leg-stretching. My DH has problems on long car rides because of all the sitting and stiffness. (Actually, even a two-hour movie on the couch is hard on him). My first thought was to request a seat with more legroom, so I called the airline and on explaining the situation, was able to reserve a couple of bulkhead seats on one leg of the trip. (On the other, he would have been able to reserve his, but I would have had to sit behind him in another row - definitely not acceptable to us!) The puddle-jumpers, of course, have no preferential seating, so that's something we will just have to endure.

If we request preferential access, does that mean that we board first (and have to sit there longer)? Does anyone know how they handle situations like this?

By caregivermary On 2009.08.04 12:38
We made a trip in June and it went very well. My husb is in a wheelchair and the helpers at the airport do a great job. We did sit in the bulkhead seats which make it easier on both of us. Boarding first is good because he can take his time walking down the ramp or up steps whichever is the case. No problem with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs on the plane. These are not counted as a carry-on. Don't forget to take food that he likes to eat and any other items to keep him busy. Make sure he gets up to use the bathroom as this will help him relief the stiffness. Also stretching in his seat-legs, and arms. Have fun!!

By mylove On 2009.08.04 15:53
We are one of those people for whom the 'hidden disability' clause holds in the TSA guidelines; ie: you can't tell by looking at him that he has PD, but it IS there, nonetheless. In fact, when we get there he'll look just like everyone else. It's once he sits for several hours that you'll get the stiffness, slowness, etc. I'm hoping that we won't need some kind of 'proof of disability' once we get to the airport and ask for the preferred seating. I know it wasn't something that was mentioned on the phone when I talked to the airline rep. Did you like the bulkhead seats a lot better?

He has his iPhone with his music downloaded, and we are both taking a couple of books, but we booked the redeye flight on purpose (so that we can sleep through most of it). Hopefully it will work the way we want it to! :) We have one extra day to recup' once we get there, before any of the week's festivities start, so we figure we can grab a nice long nap once we check in and hopefully get to feeling relatively normal.

Did you need to make sure meds were handled any particular way? Do they have to be in original packaging, or what?

By caregivermary On 2009.08.04 17:45
We've never shown any proof and we have been pre-boarding for a long time. The bulkhead seats have a lot of leg room which help for stretching. My husb is very tall so the leg room helps.
I carry all meds with me on board and never had a problem. I have the weekly pill containers and some bottles and never had any trouble.

By annwood On 2009.08.04 17:48
We had a letter from my husband's neurologist that stated he had PD and needed to travel in a wheelchair. At the airport we had a sky cab take us from the curb to the airplane. That included expediated security and since I was the caregiver it also applied to me. The bulkhead seats are essential - I don't know just how many more people the airlines can pack into one plane but the seats gets narrower and I am 5"2 and have no leg room now. Be sure to take a 24 hr supply of meds and snacks. He will be extremely fatigued at the end of the trip so do not plan anything for the next 24hrs.

Good luck and have fun.

By packerman On 2009.08.04 18:01
we just got back from a 7 day cruise for our 30th anniversary. my DH got around pretty well most of the time with his cane. Annwood is right about the sky cap being helpful. we got a wheelchair to use in the airport coming & going. boarding first is a blessing!
yes, it does take a lot out of them. while on the ship, he was ok, but since we've been back (3 days), he's been especially fatigued and unsteady (which i expected). he fell twice yesterday.
just take everything at a slower pace and have a nice time.

By mylove On 2009.08.17 00:50
Update on flying:

We are back from our beautiful daughter's wedding! It was magnificent, but five days was a little bit too long, for both of us. Even with the extra day in between to recuperate a bit, it was sure nice to get back to our own beds and schedules!

The bulkhead seats made all the difference in the world. There is also a difference between what they look like in different aircraft. On the first leg of the trip, it was literally behind a bulkhead wall in back of the galley. On the leg coming home (a big old Airbus), First Class was divided by a little curtain, so bulkhead seats actually got foot room not just in the bulkhead area, but beneath the last row of First Class seats, so that was great! Airbus seats were also much more roomy. The only drawback was that with bulkhead seats, you don't get to have carry-on with you, since there is no seat in front (generally) to put it under. You have to put it in the bins. They don't tell you that before you get there, so it may be a bit of a surprise. Put any med doses you need right away in a pocket, because you might not be able to pop up and pull it out of the bin during flight.

For the most part, it went well. I wish (retrospectively) that we'd grabbed one of the transporter rides that went back and forth in the airport on our connector flight. We ended up walking what he said was nearly 5 miles (!) from one end of the airport to the other. Of course, we landed at concourse A and flew out of the one at absolutely the other end of the line! Minneapolis/St. Paul airport is a city in and of itself. There's even a mall.

There were moving sidewalks and a tram for part of the way, so we knew our way around when we came back through the second time, but next time I'm pulling rank. LOL MY legs were tired too!

SO thankful both for the chance to go, and for being home. Being away from home and worse, in another time zone, blows all of our routines to the wind, and we both suffer. Here's to sleeping in your own bed!

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