We are hearing a lot in the news recently about airports, people missing flights, etc. Planning is very important if you are travelling abroad with your child with different abilities.
In my experience, I find staff in all airports wonderful when it comes to travelling with people with additional needs.
When you are booking your flight, there is a part where it asks if you require assistance. If you click on this is normal gives you a few options:
- If the person needs a wheelchair around the airport but can walk up the steps of the aircraft
- If the person needs assistance in the airport and boarding the flight
Click on the option that suits you best.
When I have my flight number etc, I then email the airline and the airport explaining, my requirements.
When you arrive at the airport, you should go to an assistance point. This can be inside or outside of the terminal. Mostly inside in Ireland. Assistance points will usually have some type of disability-related logo and include a buzzer or telephone to enable you to call for assistance should they not be staffed at that time. Don’t panic if no one is there, just pick up the phone and explain you are at the desk. If you don’t receive an answer, find a security guard, and explain your situation.
You are typically asked what time and flight you are on. I show them my emails confirming my details.
An assistant is then assigned to David and he pushes David in the wheelchair with me walking by his side.
We skip the queue through customs, and they wait for us on the other side. Sets us down in a designated area and picks us up from there again when it is time to board the aircraft.
We either board the flight first or last.
We are brought to the door of the plane (Eagle Lift). David is transferred to his seat, normally the nearest one allowed with access to the bathroom, which again is prebooked. David normally sits in the centre seat with me sitting on the aisle seat, the reason for this is with the trolly and people walking along the aisle, David could put his hand or elbow out and he could hurt himself. It is also it is easier for me to bring him to the bathroom if I am on the aisle seat so as not to disturb other passengers.
If David must go to the bathroom, I ask the air stewards for assistance. They normally transfer David to the aisle seat and bring him to the bathroom with my assistance.
On arrival at our destination, we are last to leave the aircraft and again transferred to an airport vehicle (Eagle Lift), we collect our bags, go through customs and are sometimes even brought out to a taxi.
If your child has different abilities, you can still receive assistance at the airport. Important Flyer Wristband/Lanyard is available in most airports is was designed for a child with Autism.
The children I know who received this in the past did feel like an Important flyer. It’s a great idea to help parents and airport assistants to help ease the stress of queuing etc. in the airport.
To find more information click the links below.