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Etta1213

Difficulty getting up - how do you manage on airplane?

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My DH has limited mobility and has a hard time getting to a standing position from some seats. How does one manage on planes?

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After breaking my leg last Thanksgiving, I had to figure this out on our cruise in May. I had to transfer from my scooter to the skinny little aisle chair in the jetway. Two attendants wheeled me right up to my aisle seat in first class and I slid over. One flight I had to sit by the window and that was more difficult but we managed. 

 

Use the wall or seatback for support as you rise.  If you are really in trouble, a sling from a Hoyer lift may help you get up. You can’t bring the whole thing, but the sling itself can help. 

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15 hours ago, Etta1213 said:

My DH has limited mobility and has a hard time getting to a standing position from some seats. How does one manage on planes?

My husband has exactly the same problem.  We always book a seat toward the front (like premium economy) so he doesn't have far to go.   He always has the aisle seat and I have the middle one if there are 3 seats together.  Or sometimes we both have an aisle seat across from each other.   To get up, he puts his arm rest up and turns sideways so his legs are in the aisle.  Then he manages to get up usually hanging on to the back of the seat in front of him (after asking for permission or apologizing to the person in that seat that he needs to pull on their seat back to get up).   Sometimes I have to give him a butt lift but he does get out.   Since we are one of the first ones on the plane (wheelchair), when the person with the window seat arrives he again turns sideways, puts his legs in the aisle, I get out and let the other person in to their seat (this way he doesn't have to get up). 

 

And if he has to use an aisle chair, the attendant can push him directly to his row for him to scoot over to his seat and back to the aisle chair upon landing.   

 

Check with your airline and make sure they are aware of the limitations.  

 

Here is some information regarding airline responsibilities:

https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/seating-accommodations

 

This site has links to major airlines and their disability services page:

https://wheelchairtravel.org/air-travel/airline-special-assistance-request-contacts/

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Thank you so much for the responses. We would have more cruising options if my DH were willing to deal with the challenges of flying.                                                                   

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I’ve found this an issue in British airways economy seats, we flew back from Singapore and only one steward (out of four in our section) knew how to lift the seat arm rest so I could swivel into the aisle, it was impossible to stand up in the seat using sticks etc due to the closeness of the seat in front. He was not always available to help (and it was embarrassing). Since then we fly premium economy, or extra legroom seats or we don’t go. BA did know about my limitations and seats allocated to assistance folk are supposed to have seat arm rests that lift, for safety if nothing else, mine didn’t. The problem with extra legroom seats btw is that if the plane is changed for any reason to another configuration you may not get them. 

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I can't get up from any chair. I bring a pillow, not bed but from a chair, and it raises me up enough so I can push myself up using the arm rests.  Or my DH pulls me up.

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On 10/1/2019 at 3:47 PM, boingboingbaggy said:

Forgot to add in the event of evacuation anywhere, on a plane or ship, the whole thing can be grabbed by as little as two people. Designed to be comfortable to sit on for longer periods. 

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I have terrific difficulty in rising from an airplane seat. I now bring a 3” cushion and sit in business or premium economy to have the room to bend from the waist. If things get impossible, my husband lifts me from the back waistband, like getting a “wedgie.” That always works! 

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I always call the airline accessibility office and let them know.  Some airlines will move my husband and I (only one additional person in our travleing party) to economy plus for free.  They save two bulkhead seats off the public list for mobility issue passengers.  However, the bulkhead seats don't work for us as they have fixed arm rests and no seat in front for him to grab onto.  I tell them those things and tell them which row works best for us and they put us in that row.  I once watched the flight attendant push the "magic" button under the aisle armrest and found out how they work.  Now, I just push it and move the armrest for my husband myself.  With the aisle armrest up, grabbing the seat in front, and my help he is able to get up.  WE usually travel with my sister so we pay for her economy plus seat so she can be there to help too.  However, if we are traveling alone, I will ask the gate agent if they will call for the person who is seated next to the window and let them board early when we board so they can get in and settled before us so that they don't have to climb over my husband as it is very difficult for  him to move his legs to let people into the aisle.  If it's just me or my sister we climb over him no problem, but not so friendly for a stranger.  🙂

 

Kari

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5 hours ago, Id rather be diving said:

  I once watched the flight attendant push the "magic" button under the aisle armrest and found out how they work.  Now, I just push it and move the armrest for my husband myself. 

I've tried to find this button for a long time!  Where is it, please?  I just have to apologise to anyone in the seat in front of me, since I can't "push" myself up. Being able to slide out would be very helpful.

Thanks!

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13 minutes ago, Plant said:

I've tried to find this button for a long time!  Where is it, please?  I just have to apologise to anyone in the seat in front of me, since I can't "push" myself up. Being able to slide out would be very helpful.

Thanks!

The magic button is toward where your elbow would be if your arm is resting on the armrest - toward the back of the armrest - underneath.  We always ask the flight attendant before take-off how to get the armrest up if we can't find it.   

Some of the seats do not have moveable armrests so if you are booking your reservations and picking out your seats, you might take a look at seatguru.com for some insight as to seats that do not have moveable armrests.   Or call the airline and doublecheck.   But finding The Button is not always easy.....

 

Since we in the plane first, my husband, who has the aisle seat, can get the armrest up so he can turn toward the aisle and put his feet into the aisle when the window seat passenger comes aboard and that person can get into our aisle to their seat.  (Of course I have to get out since I'm in the middle, but that's ok.)  

Edited by kokopelli-az

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Moveable armrests is something I hadn’t known about. Thanks for the information! This will be very helpful.

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23 hours ago, kokopelli-az said:

The magic button is toward where your elbow would be if your arm is resting on the armrest - toward the back of the armrest - underneath.  We always ask the flight attendant before take-off how to get the armrest up if we can't find it.   

Some of the seats do not have moveable armrests so if you are booking your reservations and picking out your seats, you might take a look at seatguru.com for some insight as to seats that do not have moveable armrests.   Or call the airline and doublecheck.   But finding The Button is not always easy.....

 

Since we in the plane first, my husband, who has the aisle seat, can get the armrest up so he can turn toward the aisle and put his feet into the aisle when the window seat passenger comes aboard and that person can get into our aisle to their seat.  (Of course I have to get out since I'm in the middle, but that's ok.)  

Thanks so much for the info!  Hope to be able to find that elusive Button on my next trip ☺️.

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I am looking to take my niece on a cruise and we would have to fly in. She is completely dependent on her wheelchair and cannot walk or stand at all. She can scoot from wheelchair to another seat if it is similar in height.

 

Are most airline transfer wheelchairs the same height as the seats on a plane?

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Thank you everyone for this valuable information.  We have stopped flying because of the problems my husband has getting to his seat and in and out of his seat.  He uses a mobility scooter but he can walk a short distance.

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Hello fantastic auntie! Yes, you can absolutely take your niece on a cruise and what’s more, both of you can have a great time. 
 

I did it last year and lived to tell the tale. It was so much fun, we are cruising again next month. Here are some tips to make it easier. 
 

Airline: speak to the disability services department about exactly what she will need. The aisle chair is the same height as the plane seats and is easy to use. The attendants are discreet and relaxed and will help her slide over. Get her an aisle seat at the front of the plane. Preboard. Try not to use the bathroom on board as tiny is an understatement. 
 

Cruise: book a fully accessible cabin in advance. Don’t chance it by hoping a regular cabin will do. It simply won’t. She will need extra room for turning and for using the bathroom. Even in accessible cabins, the toilet is very low, so suggest she work to strengthen her quads and arms before the trip. 
 

Use the grab bars in the loo every time. Bring and use baby wipes to clean up, but never flush them. Consider bringing a raised toilet seat extender and other tools to make bathroom functions less challenging. 
 

Find the accessible public restrooms and see if they truly are accessible. Many have sharp turns or doors that open the wrong way. If she uses one alone, she might need to shout into the hallway for someone to come open the door. 
 

Ask for extra help when she needs it. In the dining room, the waiters were terrific with my needs. They made sure I was seated in an easy escape spot and that I had extra room for my scooter. 

if she likes music and dancing, absolutely bring her to the clubs on the ship and dance all she wants. We can get our groove on when using a wheelchair. 
 

if she likes the pool find out if your ship has a lift to help her get in and out and what its requirements are. 
 

Encourage her to speak up for her needs with a smile and a grateful attitude. If she’s loaded up a plate for lunch at the buffet, don’t risk dropping both your lunch and hers. Simply smile at an attendant and ask for help getting to an accessible table.  They’ll also get her drink so you don’t have to juggle. 
 

Build in extra time for everything. Rushing back to the cabin to use your own bathroom? Remember halls can be blocked and stop at a public loo before she has a last minute accident.  Have extra towels in your cabin just in case. 
 

on our last cruise we had a large suite that was actually hard for me to manage. It was lovely but I had to transfer twice to go to the bathroom and by the time I got into the WC I could not hold it. I was so embarrassed. Glad I brought my own spray cleaner, and really glad I tipped the room attendant on the first day and let him know I’d need extra towels. 
 

Those room stewards have seen it all and are very discreet. We all learned to laugh at some of the crazy moments. Once I fell asleep eating chocolates in bed and they melted all over me, my body, and the sheets. You can imagine how it looked. I got the room steward and the box of chocolates and showed him it was messy but not hazardous. 
 

Excursions may be more difficult if she cannot stand or walk. Talk with the cruise line’s accessibility department to determine if things will be too rough. I’ve found that many supposedly accessible excursions expect you to load your scooter or chair in the back of the van, then walk around the vehicle and climb up into the seat. Repeat at every stop. 
 

I cannot do that. Luckily many port stops have docks and she can roll right off the ship and head into a little town of shopping and bars or restaurants. Research in advance to determine if curb cuts and ramps are there. 
 

Best of luck. It’s not always easy, but I can do it. 

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1 hour ago, gadaboutgal said:

Anyone with a disability needs to be fully informed in what  Federal Regulations require of all airlines serving U.S. cities.  Here they are:

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=de08b805cff877df1356a6470419012d&mc=true&node=pt14.4.382&rgn=div5?#se14.4.382_161

 

Excellent reference.  

 

There is also this site that summarizes the Air Carrier Access Act:  

https://wheelchairtravel.org/air-travel/air-carrier-access-act-summary/

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