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Sur viving a Flight : 10Air Travel Tips WWhew… I just returned from a marathon flight from India and after 24 hours in the “cattle class” section, there is a new entry in my bucket list: to be able to afford travel in the business class. In the meantime, here are some tips for those who have the courage to brave air travel. One | Let me begin with this disclaimer: I am comfortable with asking for help. As an upper-limb amputee since the age of 2, I have learned the balance between selfrespect and the need for assistance. Before you decide to undertake a journey, think about your circumstances and preferences. Two | Start your preparation by having a session with your occupational therapist. Put together a custom travel plan based on the nature of your amputation and prosthesis. Think of different scenarios and how you would overcome typical challenges. Three | Pick bags with 360 spinners. These are easy on the shoulder to drag or push along. If possible, check in all of your baggage but keep essentials handy. If you take medicines, keep your prescription with you in your hand bag. I should add “pack light.” But since I myself have not been able to ever do by Harleen Chhabra Gupt 30 inMotion Volume 24, Issue 4 July | August 2014 that (and neither can I promise that it will ever happen in this lifetime), let me just skip it. Four | When you arrive at the airport, get a porter. I use any help I can get to avoid straining my good arm. As an upper arm amputee, I feel blessed that I do not have to request mobility assistance. However, if your circumstances are different or even if you are unsure, by all means request disability (wheelchair) assistance at the time of booking and checking in. Later, if you don’t feel the need, don’t use it. It’s easier to let them know you don’t need it than to wait for someone to show up, which can sometimes be quite a few minutes. By the way, if you have multi-hop flights, keep enough time between your flights and preferably take the connecting flights of the same airlines. Five | Whether to wear the prosthesis or not during travel could be a big question for many. I prefer not to wear mine and typically check it in. For one, letting people see me without a prosthesis makes it easier to ask for assistance. The security check also goes more smoothly, with less drama. This is especially true for international travel.


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