Travelling with arthritis

OMR
OMR Member Posts: 5
edited 8. Aug 2017, 06:22 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have had arthritis many years and travelled with it, until 8 years ago when I found I had a brain tumour and epilepsy developed. I have seizures everyday, albeit partial not tonic clonic type. In January my husband passed away very suddenly and now I want to travel to visit my son abroad and wonder if anyone has any ideas of help I can get to travel alone at airports and also the rules concerning my pain killers. Last time we travelled we were stopped and swabbed and held up a long time but my husband was able to sort all the problem out. We had documentation. Do I need a note from the doctor or a licence?

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,088
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome OMR,

    It sounds like a good idea to visit your son, please accept my condolences on the death of your husband.

    It seems a good place to start would be having a chat with your GP who will know if there are any restrictions on your medications.

    Here is a booklet produced by Arthritis Care about travelling abroad
    https://arthritiscare.org.uk/assets/000/001/532/Factsheet_travel_160816_(revised)_for_web_original.pdf?1472221418

    I hope it will be of some help to you

    Take care
    Yvonne x

    I took the liberty of moving your post to this forum where it will be seen by more of our members Yx
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,128
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello OMR
    and welcome to the forum , you do have a lot to deal with and I am so sorry to hear you have lost your husband.. but good for you traveling to see your son..
    I take along a copy of my perspiration because of the meds I take and the patches..has for help we book it before hand, but sometime they have forgotten, so we ask at the airport ..I suppose its depends on were you are going, we have only been in Europe..
    I dope hope it all works out well for you, then next time you will be more confident..please let us know how you get on.. :)
    Love
    Barbara
  • OMR
    OMR Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    barbara12 wrote:
    Hello OMR
    and welcome to the forum , you do have a lot to deal with and I am so sorry to hear you have lost your husband.. but good for you traveling to see your son..
    I take along a copy of my perspiration because of the meds I take and the patches..has for help we book it before hand, but sometime they have forgotten, so we ask at the airport ..I suppose its depends on were you are going, we have only been in Europe..
    I dope hope it all works out well for you, then next time you will be more confident..please let us know how you get on.. :)
    I have travelled before, but not alone and not for quite a while. I noticed that my pain killers are now are on the controlled substances list and was worried about if I need a specialist letter or licence as I want to go to Canada. I don't even know if it will be possible as I don't know if the airline will take me alone although the consultant seemed positive. I was hoping for some one who has done this before to give me some idea. I would also like to know of anyone who knows of any charity or help organisations that can assist at airports with changing terminals within U.K.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,325
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome from me, too. I, also, think it's a great plan to visit your son.

    Travelling alone at airports is actually quite simple if you have mobility issues. When you get your reservation booked just tell the airline that you need special assistance. When you arrive at the airport go to the special assistance desk and it should all go through smoothly though I'd be inclined to check again before your return.

    I'm not aware of any rules about pain relief. I take my co-codamol whenever we visit our son in USA and (as I also take medication for my RA and various other bits and pieces :roll: ) I take a prescription in my hand luggage in case of any queries. Always leave meds in their original containers. If you use the very strong pain patches or oromorph there might be some rules about them. Again, the airline should be able to advise.

    I always get swabbed at airports or, at least, my wheelchair and shoes do. I don't find it takes long at all though, occasionally, there's a wait for someone qualified to do it. If you can take off your shoes and put them on the security belt checker and walk through the scanner I don't see why you'd need to be swabbed.

    What you might find to be a problem is getting travel insurance. Do ensure you tell them everything that you have and all medication that you take. Compare several sites and don't assume that those advertising themselves as specialising in people with chronic illnesses are the best or cheapest. It's a pain but well worth the time and effort.

    And.....enjoy :D
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • OMR
    OMR Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome from me, too. I, also, think it's a great plan to visit your son.

    Travelling alone at airports is actually quite simple if you have mobility issues. When you get your reservation booked just tell the airline that you need special assistance. When you arrive at the airport go to the special assistance desk and it should all go through smoothly though I'd be inclined to check again before your return.

    I'm not aware of any rules about pain relief. I take my co-codamol whenever we visit our son in USA and (as I also take medication for my RA and various other bits and pieces :roll: ) I take a prescription in my hand luggage in case of any queries. Always leave meds in their original containers. If you use the very strong pain patches or oromorph there might be some rules about them. Again, the airline should be able to advise.

    I always get swabbed at airports or, at least, my wheelchair and shoes do. I don't find it takes long at all though, occasionally, there's a wait for someone qualified to do it. If you can take off your shoes and put them on the security belt checker and walk through the scanner I don't see why you'd need to be swabbed.

    What you might find to be a problem is getting travel insurance. Do ensure you tell them everything that you have and all medication that you take. Compare several sites and don't assume that those advertising themselves as specialising in people with chronic illnesses are the best or cheapest. It's a pain but well worth the time and effort.

    And.....enjoy :D

    Thanks for that. That's pretty much how it was in the past, travelling with my husband but now I am travelling on my own and have epilepsy and a brain tumour (benign) and am not self ambulatory in a chair, I am worried how much help I can rely on airport services, especially changing terminals at Heathrow. I have been given the ok to travel by my Consultant if delivered to the disabled area but how much help I will get if there are any disruptions worry me. I don't know where to start really.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,325
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Now, when travelling to L.A. we use my basic wheelchair right to the door of the aircraft then leave it, labelled, to be taken to the hold. It's then waiting for me when I get off and we do the same again for connecting flight(s).

    But, formerly, we used to send my wheelchair as hold baggage and use airport ones and assistance. The people were always very kind and helpful and travelling between terminals at Heathrow is no problem. I have even been wheeled right into a disabled loo (despite my protests that the chair could be left outside :lol: ) They will usually leave you where you want to be (cafe, departure lounge etc) then return before boarding time.

    I've no idea what would happen if there was a big delay. We were once flying Leeds>Amsterdam>Minneapolis>L.A. and the first plane had a tyre problem before arriving at Leeds. Consequently we missed our connection in Amsterdam so KLM put us in a hotel for the night, with free meals, and flew us out direct, business class, next day. On another occasion gale force winds delayed our initial flight (and many others. Only one of Amsterdam's 5 runways was usable) and they were basically putting everyone on any flight going in vaguely the right direction. We ended up in an Atlanta hotel at midnight. This was OK as I had my husband with me but, alone, I couldn't have coped with either of these situations.

    I'm sure the airlines will have other plans for disabled people travelling alone but they may vary from one airline to another so best to check before booking with whichever airline you plan to fly with. Also (And I'm sure you'll know this already) ensure all flights (assuming at least one connection) are on the same ticket. It's much cheaper to book them separately but the airline is only responsible for the one ticket. If, for example, you booked a flight to Heathrow and a flight to L.A. on separate tickets, and the first flight is delayed so that you miss your connection, you'd simply lose the second flight whereas, if they're on the same ticket, you'd only miss that particular plane and would be put on another at no expense.

    A good travel agent will help you with all this but, as I said, I think you'd need to ask (or ask the travel agent to ask) whichever airline you plan to fly with, what their policy is for lone disabled travellers if there's a long delay.

    By the way, just another thought, - you can get yourself in and out of airline seats, can't you? I'm not sure but I think the crew are not allowed to help. Another thing to maybe check with the airline.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • OMR
    OMR Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Now, when travelling to L.A. we use my basic wheelchair right to the door of the aircraft then leave it, labelled, to be taken to the hold. It's then waiting for me when I get off and we do the same again for connecting flight(s).

    But, formerly, we used to send my wheelchair as hold baggage and use airport ones and assistance. The people were always very kind and helpful and travelling between terminals at Heathrow is no problem. I have even been wheeled right into a disabled loo (despite my protests that the chair could be left outside :lol: ) They will usually leave you where you want to be (cafe, departure lounge etc) then return before boarding time.

    I've no idea what would happen if there was a big delay. We were once flying Leeds>Amsterdam>Minneapolis>L.A. and the first plane had a tyre problem before arriving at Leeds. Consequently we missed our connection in Amsterdam so KLM put us in a hotel for the night, with free meals, and flew us out direct, business class, next day. On another occasion gale force winds delayed our initial flight (and many others. Only one of Amsterdam's 5 runways was usable) and they were basically putting everyone on any flight going in vaguely the right direction. We ended up in an Atlanta hotel at midnight. This was OK as I had my husband with me but, alone, I couldn't have coped with either of these situations.

    I'm sure the airlines will have other plans for disabled people travelling alone but they may vary from one airline to another so best to check before booking with whichever airline you plan to fly with. Also (And I'm sure you'll know this already) ensure all flights (assuming at least one connection) are on the same ticket. It's much cheaper to book them separately but the airline is only responsible for the one ticket. If, for example, you booked a flight to Heathrow and a flight to L.A. on separate tickets, and the first flight is delayed so that you miss your connection, you'd simply lose the second flight whereas, if they're on the same ticket, you'd only miss that particular plane and would be put on another at no expense.

    A good travel agent will help you with all this but, as I said, I think you'd need to ask (or ask the travel agent to ask) whichever airline you plan to fly with, what their policy is for lone disabled travellers if there's a long delay.

    By the way, just another thought, - you can get yourself in and out of airline seats, can't you? I'm not sure but I think the crew are not allowed to help. Another thing to maybe check with the airline.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,325
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi again. Were you trying to reply? Forget about the 'reply with quote' tab on the right and just hit the red 'reply' one on the left and a little lower down. Good luck :D
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright