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Senior with mobility issues

We travel to Europe at least once a year and usually twice. We have done ocean tours (Viking), river tours (Viking), and a couple of trips to Great Britain - one for a week in London and one where we used a British rail pass to tour England and Scotland. My wife uses a rollator with a seat. She cannot walk very far.

Here is my number one tip: Arrange for a wheelchair at each airport, then reconfirm at every step of the journey. The only time we ever had a problem with the wheelchair was in Barcelona. We managed to procure one even though the person at the wheelchair station threatened to call the cops if we took one! An empty threat.

My number two tip: the non-handicapped person should have TSA pre-check (a known traveller number). For travel outside the USA, you will also need Global Entry. These require an application and several months lead time; they cannot be set up the week before you leave! Be sure you advise the airline that you have one or both of these memberships. The handicapped person may be expedited through long lines, but sometimes the non-handicapped person can be left behind!

Be sure the rollator or wheelchair folds up into a compact package and is light enough for the non-handicapped person to carry. Be sure it will stay folded - that might require some sort of strap. Gate-check it at each stage of the air journey (a gate check means that you have the device all the way to the plane and it will be brought to the plane entrance when arriving - just in case the pre-arranged wheelchair does not materialize.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
6535 posts

We recently returned from a repositioning cruise from NYC to Southampton, a weekend in London and a week driving around Ireland. My wife was in her own travel wheelchair the whole time.
I had a backpack carryon bag, and we dragged her 21 inch carryon bag behind her chair. I had no idea those in wheelchairs went to the front of every line--whether it is getting on an airplane or even at restaurants. And since I was her caregiver, I was right with her.
The airlines would place the chair in the belly of the airline and return it to us on the jetway.
My wife has since had a successful knee replacement. She kiddingly said if she knew how well she was going to be treated, she would have got a wheelchair years ago.

Posted by
20553 posts

David -- Sometime in the last couple years I actually read on a travel site from a women who recommended taking a small, portable wheel chair just for that reason. And I think she was serious.

Posted by
2898 posts

If a person signs up for Global Entry, they also get TSA pre-check as a matter of course. If a person is going to be applying from "scratch", don't bother with a special application for TSA, just do Global Entry.