Travel / Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Hello Everyone!

You’re finally on the plane and it’s time to go- Paris, Rome, Florence, Madrid, Seville, almost anywhere!

You’re committed and seated, but now what?  The dreaded plane ride.

Well, if you’ve got your bulkhead seat, you are close to a bathroom. If you can walk a little, you’re fine.  Most of you can’t however.   Now I’ll share some suggestions on how to deal with that problem.

You must know that every flight is equipped with a small aisle chair. They are equipped with these chairs for the purpose of transporting people who are not mobile from one area of the plane to another.  All you have to do is ask the flight attendant to get the chair.  Once it arrives your caregiver can assist you with getting into it. It is important to remember that the aisle seat you are in most likely has an armrest that raises and that will make it easier to get into the aisle chair.  You can almost slide onto it. There are some aisle seats that don’t allow the armrest go up, but this is rare and many do.   An unfortunate thing to keep in mind is that many flight attendants don’t know where the button is to raise the armrest, but fear not!  Now that you have this information, someone will figure it out.

They will push you to the bathroom.  You can then enter the bathroom by yourself or with help from your caregiver.  Many of the planes are equipped with curtains to eliminate any embarrassing moments.  Especially on international flights.

Once you’ve finished your business you go back to your seat the same way. Frankly you might want to limit your liquid intake before and during the flight.  That will limit the times you have to do this.

Some flights, to Paris for instance, are short enough (as short as 6 ½ hours) that my wife can make the whole flight and wait to go until we get to Paris.

If you are really worried about this, I totally understand- just wear a Depends. It will really help you manage any fear you have that you won’t get there in time. No big deal, just some assurance.  I guarantee you that ½ the people on the plane over 65 are wearing them.

Part of life.  Can’t let that stop you.

Once you arrive at your destination airport please be patient.  You will always be last off the plane. They won’t forget about you since the team on the airplane can’t leave till all the passengers are off the plane.

If it’s a regular exit ramp then the same procedure follows as when you initially boarded. Two attendants will assist you from the seat to the aisle chair. They will get you off of the airplane and someone will be waiting there with a wheelchair to take you to the terminal or baggage claims. There you will generally find the wheelchair you brought with you as well as your luggage.   On rare occasions your personal wheelchair will be waiting for you when you get off the plane.  Then, of course, you are off.   There may always be some angst about whether they will actually get the wheelchair to your destination.   They always do.

Keep in mind that on occasion, more often in Europe than in the US, the plane may disembark its passenger on the Tarmac and then bus people to the terminal.  You will be assisted in the same way except you will get to the terminal via a truck that has a lift, which is quite safe, that gets you off the plane and gets you into the terminal.

Now that you have reached your destination- what’s next?

Since we are heading to Paris on our first trip my next blog will share how to easily get to your destination in Paris or anywhere else.   It is easily done so tune in for the next installment.  Paris has made the trip quite simple and easy.  Au revoir for now!


  1. Bonjour! What a great blog. Thank you!!

    I walk short distances with a cane. I am pushed in wheelchairs for long distances, usually through museums/parks and airports.

    In May, I am heading to Paris to celebrate our 20th year wedding anniversary. Yeah! I bought 2 bulkhead aisle seats. We found a cute hotel in 6th arrondisement with a lift.

    I’ll bring my lightweight transfer wheelchair, and if/when available, will get a sturdier wheelchair in Paris. We will ask hotel for help in finding one, and advice for getting around the city.

    What were your experiences traveling through Paris? Do you have any recommendations for disability-friendly special museums, places to visit, restaurants without bathrooms down a flight of stairs?


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