Posted by: silverstar98121 | January 26, 2009

Travel Trauma

With Daisy Fae’s recent posts in mind, and Dolce’s post from this morning, I thought I would add a list of the problems encountered traveling while disabled. I know that travel these days, especially air travel is a pain in the patootie for everyone. But it seems moreso if you are disabled. So here are a few things I have observed:

  1. The airlines will always break or lose something on your adaptive equipment. Thus far in the last five years they have lost the basket to my scooter, lost the cord to my scooter, broken the brakes on my walker, and broken the handle of the basket on my walker. Considering that I travel once a year or less, that’s pretty impressive.
  2. Flight delays are horrendous if you have a service dog. It makes for a long day behind security lines. And the thought of going out and going through security again…too much. We haven’t had any accidents yet, but have come close. Picture me yanking on Friday’s leash and yelling “NO” at baggage claim, trying to get out the door, because I see her trying to “assume the position.” Dog owners will understand.
  3. The settings on the metal detectors are different in every airport. Most airports I can just walk through the scanner, no problem. But in others the plates and screws that hold my left arm together will set it off. This almost inevitably happens in Denver.
  4. Sea-Tac’s layout sucks. If you want a cup of coffee, you have to go through security. The airport I’ve been to that I like best is San Jose, because the dining parts, etc. are before you go through security. There, you don’t have to go through security until the last damned minute. Much better for those of us traveling with dogs.
  5. Friday needs her own suitcase. I have to pack her dishes, dish mat, food. toys, and her doggy-bed that rolls up and goes in a stuff sack like a sleeping bag.
  6. Carry-ons are a pain. I usually have to carry on one bag and my CPAP machine, because you don’t want the airline to lose something that keeps you from dying in your sleep. This time I’m trying to figure out how to carry on my camera case, too. I also don’t want them to lose/break that. Last time, The Boyo went with me, and took the camera bag as his second carryon. Decisions, decisions.

And so it is that in a couple of weeks, I will pack a couple of suitcases, and be off on another adventure. Hopefully I will be tweeting and blogging from the road, but I may be incommunicado. Depends what kind of computer access I can come up with.


  1. Sea-Tac indeed sucks… San Jose is nice, but i don’t know the way!

    can’t imagine traveling with a pup – i didn’t take my kids on a plane til they were at least 9 years old for the same reason…

  2. I took my son on a plane when he was 6 months old. Mistake. He had diarrhea and got it all over me. Completely grossed out the 30 year old male beside me, who got up and never came back. Can’t say as I blame him. I kept waiting for someone to rescue me. Didn’t happen.
    You have to admit, a poop story in an airport or plane with your dog would be good blog fodder. 🙂
    I hate that they break your equipment every time. Can you file claims? Put FRAGILE tape on it? Something? Probably FRAGILE tape would show them which one to kick first.

  3. My flying days are over. If ever I want to go someplace (other than overseas, obviously), I’ll be taking a train. If I can’t get there by train, tough shit; I won’t be going. All of this is for now entirely moot anyway, since my income is well below the “poverty line”, so I can barely pay the rent and bills, much less feed myself.

    I know what you mean about metal detectors. The plate in my neck will occasionally set one off. I can imagine what fun it would be having do deal with some TSA Cro-magnon type about this.

    Hope you have a good time on your trip!

  4. I would double check with your target airline regarding new “rules” on carry-on as well as checked luggage, if you haven’t already.

    The number and size of carry-on’s has been reduced on most airlines. And some airlines are charging for every piece of checked luggage.

    I have almost given up on flying and would only do so as a last resort.

    Having said all that, hoping your trip comes off as planned and the number of unplanned events or incidents is minimal to zero.

  5. Daisy Fae- *snort* Actually, I think dogs are easier than kids. They don’t ask “are we there yet?”, mostly just sleep the whole way.

    Beth-I think they have orders to bust something to discourage us inconvenient, disabled travelers. Filing claims has thus far proven “not worth the trouble.”

    Toby- I’d take a train, too, if I could. But that’s even more problematic with a dog. I could get to La Junta on a train, but which of my sibs likes me well enough to drive 300 miles round trip, twice, to pick me up and take me back to the train? So not happening. I’m not much above official poverty myself, but I don’t know anyone, anywhere that can live on what they call the poverty line. They need to raise it.

    Rob-will check on it, but I don’t think they can charge you or claim that medical equipment is one of your official carry-ons. Thanks for the good wishes.

  6. do you have all your liquids in small containers in a sealed plastic bag? they don’t let you even take a bottle of water on board now at some airports.

    the plate in my hip has never set an airport alarm off yet – I thought that was an urban myth until you and Toby said it’s happened to both of you

  7. I like it that you take your dog on trips. It’s gotta be really difficult for you to travel with a dog and a handicap. So sad they keep breaking your equipment and don’t pay for it to be repaired or replaced.

    Have a great trip, Eileen, when do you leave?

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