Flying to Florida

Hi, I am flying to Florida on Saturday for our 20th wedding anniversary. I am really looking forward to it but last time we flew long haul I really struggled, we flew business class then, we are in economy this time :frowning:

I am trying to prioritise my packing keeping all essentials in my cabin bag, meds, caths etc, my M.S has progressed substantially in the last 5 years and I am truly worrying about things which isn’t helping I know.

Any handy tips or advice very happily received Julie x

Hiya,### Travelling by aircraft seems a daunting experience for anyone Disabled in wheelchair or not, but in reality it isn’t it can be a seamless experience as you are helped every step of the way, (that’s not meant as a pun).

I worked for British Airways for 26 years, as such travelled to many parts of the World. In fact in 1988 I travelled twice around the World, some 48,000 miles in 5 days on aircraft, sponsored for Charity. Not something I would recommend but shows you it is possible.

Stick to these guidelines and you will really enjoy the experience. First on booking your flight tell them you would like assistance from check-in to the gate. This could be a wheelchair with someone pushing or a lift on a Golf type buggy. The gate could be over one mile away so don’t think your doing any favour’s by not asking for help. The aircraft has a certain slot for take off, if you are late because of walking difficulties, THE AIRCRAFT HAS TO GO without you, otherwise it costs mega bucks.

If you have problems walking down the isle when you get aircraft side, no problem, quite a few aircraft now have small wheelchairs especially to take people up and down the isle. If you can’t walk whatsoever, no problem, tell them and facilities will be put in place from check-in to take you to the aircraft by ambulance, high lift you to the aircraft and trained medical staff to lift you in the seat. The golden rule here is ‘tell them.’

With some airlines you can pre-book your seat. If so get one that has more leg room and near the toilets, probably a bulkhead seat. The Civil Aviation Authority has made a ruling that no Disabled person can have a seat by an Emergency Exit for obvious reasons.

If for some reason you get to your destination and your wheelchair is missing or worse still damaged it is the airlines, or should I say good airlines signed up to something called the Haig Protocol to restore or repair your chair, see the airlines staff.

I remember I went to San Diego from Gatwick once and they left my chair behind. I was in a rush had to go down to Tijuana and the only one they had to loan me had a large sign above my head saying ‘AVIS Rent a Car.’ The times I was stopped in my Hotel by people saying “hey fella, where can I get a car.”### ### Have a good time, don’t worry as far as flying is concerned you will be looked after.

Equipment used for his disability eg wheelchairs; crutches travel free. I have no idea if this extends to a travel kit but I would think they were being rather padantic if they charged; mind you I would be very careful with so called ‘budget airlines.’ Give you airline a ring to clarify.


Thank you!!

George thank you so much for all your extra info!! I am quite used to long haul just stressed more than usual this time. Flying Virgin had a "disagreement! with BA going to Houston and back!! Ditto Emirates!!

It does open your eyes when flying as a wheelchair passenger!! Julie x

Virgin are the best.


Hi Bubbly, I’m flying to New York in October and feel very similar. It’s my first flight in a long time and first as a disabled passenger. I’m sure it will be ok but still pretty nervous, I used to love flying but things are very different now. I hope you have a great trip, any tips when you get home would be fab!

Just talk to your carrier Tiger and it will all go swimmingly for you

It went fantastically well thanks everyone. Flight was delayed 2 hours on the ground annoying but mannaged to not panic so much~ makes a change!

I wore the flight socks which I was glad of as I didn’t leave my seat except once for a loo break before we landed. We were happily moved to bulkhead seats a bit further forward, very narrow but good leg room. My chair went right to the door and was at the door as soon as we landed.

Same seats on return even managed a couple of hours kip it was a night flight, but we have agreed next long haul definitely premium economy or better!!!

Did so much shopping had to buy a new suitcase!! 3 checked bags on return no bother at customs at Gatwick all in all RESULT!

“Flying to Florida” Sounds like a song.


Great update Bubbly, sounds like you had a fab time! I’m flying with American Airlines and have requested all the assistance they offer. We have reserved seats on the flight but am assuming they will put us wherever is best for access. Were you close to the loo? This is my biggest worry!

Hi, I am so glad to hear how well it went.

Good for you and your experience will give others more cnfidence to do the same.

ey, you`d laff…I felt knackered after going to Blackers…less than 2 hours away!

luv Polx