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Flying with Diabetes and limited mobility


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We have not flown for years and I am looking for any information about how to travel with insulin pens, needles, meds, etc. Types of carry on with maybe ice to keep insulin cool?  I also have a hard time getting up after sitting and would like a little larger seat space for my legs.  Someone mentioned a larger economy seat?  We would be flying from Des Moines, IA to Orlando FL at least a day early and staying at least a day longer.  I will have a scooter on board the cruise.  Thank you for any ideas or suggestions you might have.

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2 hours ago, airdale said:

I also have a hard time getting up after sitting and would like a little larger seat space for my legs.  Someone mentioned a larger economy seat?

Most of your larger airlines now $ell 'premium economy' seats with a bit more legroom. I bought this on United and Delta and it was worth it IMO. After calling in my needs and having paid for the larger seat space, they even placed us at the bulkhead which has the most room of all. Stories are that they only give you the best seat in your paid class anymore so regular economy doesn't get an automatic bump to the larger seats.


Southwest and other 'cattle call' airlines usually have a separate line for wheelchair and scooter users for 1st priority boarding. Again, bulkhead has the most room but getting in early enough can be tricky as my last two flights had about 7-10 parties ahead of my wife and I. I still got lucky because most of the others drifted back, possibly because the bulkhead row has no amenities such as TV screens, nor does it recline.

Edited by Buckimion
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Buckimion, thank you for the information.  Do you book with the airline itself or through one of the "travel" sites?  Any insights, hints or suggestions for  procedures within the airport such as security or getting from one flight arriving to the next departing gate within an airport?  I don't walk very fast now days and it has been 20 years since we have flown.  We have always drove to our destination, be it a town or a port.  Thank you once again.


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I book directly with the airlines after checking prices at the travel sites just in case I notice a discrepancy. Afterwards, I call their needs department and let them know I'm on the flight and will be bringing either a wheelchair or scooter to ensure there is space and to try to secure the bulkhead seats. This was not a problem on Delta and United, both of which I used a manual wheelchair and was pushed though the terminal on arrival, as well as during transfers. (Delta however, did insist I use their own chair and checked mine at the counter at New Orleans.)


When I've used my scooter(s) on Southwest, Delta and a few other lines, I've just driven myself to and though the gate and left it at the aircraft door.


As far as security, I've been pushed or driven though a side entrance and verify that I cannot stand with my arms raised though the scanner. This will result in a very thorough pat down and testing swabs of both myself and my scooter/chair as needed. (I accept this as part of security, but I can imagine some may not like it.) There is no speed advantage to the side gate as my wife goes though the regular lines and has consistently gotten though before I do.


On a side note, I've never had an issue taking medications or insulin needles (before a kidney-pancreas transplant in 2008) though at all. 

Edited by Buckimion
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First, I would contact your airline and advise them of your needs.  They should tell you all you need to know about what they can provide to accommodate handicapped passengers.

Second, you need to Google  the ADA rules for air passengers.  There is a wealth in information there.

Sometimes the info given here on CC is incorrect or just plain wrong.  There are many experts here on CC.  Your best source of info is the airline and most importantly the official government sources.  Airline personnel too can be grossly incorrect with their info.  The government info is the final word.  Get a copy of the regs and TAKE THEM WITH YOU!  I've had airline personnel tell me I had to pay extra for medical equipment baggage and that I could not take medicines on board.  Incorrect!  The regs state otherwise.  If you have the regs in hand, you can then quote chapter and verse.

Boarding priorities:  Handicapped have first boarding on ANY flight that goes into or out of the US.  Don't take my word for it.  Look it up in the regs and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

There are so many other important points you need to be aware of I just can't cover them all here.

Hope this helps.  I'm sure you'll have a trouble free flight.  Just get educated beforehand.

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Many airlines have a section of seating typically behind 1st Class that is called something like Premium Economy (depending on what airline it is).    We always book seats in this section and it is well worth the extra $.   


Do you have an accessible stateroom on the ship?    If not, confirm with your cruise line that your scooter will fit through the door because scooters cannot be left in the hallway.


Here is a summarized link of the rules that apply to airlines and passengers with disabilities.    



Edited by kokopelli-az
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For the record, it isn’t the ADA that’s in play when you fly; it’s the Air Carrier’s Access Act.  As noted, info found on CC isn’t always correct. 😉



Edited by Miki_moto
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