Have you been avoiding your international travel because of inconvenient wheelchair air travel? Now there is no reason to fret. Like you, many other hesitate because of the inconvenience in long haul flights for disabled travellers. Although over 10 hours in a confined space sounds tiresome, it is often just an exaggerated doubt that can be overcome. Tag along with us as we bring you some fail-proof tips on how you can make your long-duration flight more relaxed and enjoyable.
1. FLIGHT SELECTION
The first and most important point, as we all know, is making the right selection of flight. Majority of us always go for the best deals on tickets, and then going further from there. Results of which turn out quite drastic at times. Picking the right flight that provides comfortable accessibility features may cost a bit extra, but it is always worth it. Many airlines now offer full wheelchair access lavatories, wider seats, burnett body supports etc. to make the journeys comfortable for disabled passengers.
2. TIME MANAGEMENT
A lot of travellers end up in a hassle when flying abroad. It is even worst when someone is flying for the first time. Prepare ahead in time and keep a list of all the important travel documents at hand. Arrive at the airport giving yourself ample time to relax, grab a snack or even do some shopping*. This will help you release the pre-flight stress and give you a second wind for a long flight ahead. *Set an alarm so you don’t lose track of time.
3. AIRLINES ASSISTANCE
Call ahead to book wheelchair assistance at the airport. You may book this at the time of booking your flight, but it is always better to confirm your requirements on the day of your flight. Wheelchair assistance frees you from handling your travel wheelchair or worry about your luggage etc. as the appointed persons manage all this for you till you are on the aircraft seat.
Although it may differ in airlines, but in most cases the wheelchair users are boarded last on the aircraft. To avoid inconvenience caused by other passengers while they are trying to find their seats and storing their handbag in the overhead storage, it is preferable to be the last one to board and exit the plane.
Once the pilot has made the landing announcement, ask your flight attendant to make an exit plan and walk you through it beforehand. Even though this should be obvious, there are times when flight attendants fail to have a clear understanding of assisting a wheelchair user off the plane. It is always better to take matters in your hands.
6. IN-FLIGHT SURVIVAL
Assuming that transferring from the wheelchair to the flight seat can get annoying in long duration flights, it is best to avoid any visits to the lavatory. Drink minimal water and refrain from any alcohol or food that may leave the feeling of dehydration.
Now, almost all airlines have the latest entertainment options available. Keep yourself occupied with whatever floats your boat. Time passes faster than usual when you emerge yourself in the fictional world. Carry your entertainment devices if flight entertainment doesn’t do the trick for you.
Despite of your usual sleeping schedule, take full advantage of sleep when you start to feel a bit droopy. Chances are that you are going to hit a massive jet-lag on arrival and any rest (even if in pieces) will help you get through the day. Use sleep masks to block any cabin lights, and you can also use a “do not disturb” sticker on your seat, which will keep the attendants from waking you up.
If you enjoy conversations, be the first one to engage with your co-passenger. Sharing stories, jokes, or just some embarrassing moments can turn out to be quite an entertaining way to kill time. Before you know it, you will be at your destination, making a 10 hour long flight the most entertaining one you have ever been on.