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You're not looking forward to the hour-and-a-half wait time at the airport, especially since you'll be in line at the ticker counter and Homeland Security checkpoints. Barely enough time to head to the restroom or browse the duty-free shop.
If you're in a wheel chair, you probably can speed things up if you call ahead—but get there one and a half to two hours ahead of boarding time anyway. Be sure to let the travel agent or airline reservations agent know:
• Whether you need your wheelchair all the time or just to get on the plane
• Whether you'll be bringing an IV bag and pole (that can set off the metal detector).
• That you want a flight with 30 seats or more--try to avoid prop planes.
• That you need boarding assistance and aisle chair as well as a seat designated for people in wheel chairs.
• That you'll be passing through security with gel batteries or wet batteries (check with airport screeners to make sure you're not violating HAZMAT regulations or bringing flammable/toxic items on board).
If you pack everything securely and label your equipment with instructions and name and address tags, and if you charge ahead of the other passengers to store your wheelchair (just kidding), you'll ensure a smoother flight. Get your wheelchair stored early as there is usually room for at least one. Sit back and enjoy your flight.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|