With the rush of the holiday excitement right around the corner, many families are making plans to travel to visit relatives. This may require some seniors to step outside of their comfort zone and travel by airplane, in some instances alone.
Here are some tips for seniors traveling by air this holiday season:
- Take the time to have your senior qualified for TSA Pre-Check to avoid the long security lines and excessive body and luggage searches.
- For seniors who may need help getting to the gate for their flight, several airlines allow family members to acquire escort passes. These are similar to a boarding pass but only allow you through security and to the boarding gate, not aboard the aircraft. This allows you to care for your senior with mobility issues or disabilities all the way to departure. Some airlines will also issue these escort passes allowing caregivers to meet incoming passengers at their arrival gates.
- The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to provide free wheelchair service to any traveler who asks for it, without requiring a description or documentation for that need. After booking your ticket, call your airline of choice and ask to have a wheelchair or cart made available on your date of travel. It should be added to your passenger record and be available once you get to the airport. Most airlines ask that you make wheelchair or cart requests at least 48 hours in advance.
- The Unaccompanied Minor programs for flights (helping children fly alone) also apply to seniors. While most air carriers charge an additional fee for this, these programs are designed to provide assistance throughout the process to make sure the minor or senior is well taken care of during the entire trip.
Use these tips to ensure your seniors enjoy the journey as much as the destination this holiday season.