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"Broken Travelers"
Courtesy of Broken Beauties

Travel can be stressful under the best of conditions but when you have experienced an orthopedic injury, broken bone, or have an illness that necessitates a walking cane, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs, travel can be especially challenging. Broken Beauties has contacted several of the major air carriers and the Transportation Security Administration, the government agency that handles all of the airport security screening to obtain their policies and procedures concerning people with either temporary or permanent mobility disabilities.

We hope this list of Air Travel Tips helps with your next air travel experience.

Mobility Disability and Airport Security Screening

Persons with Assistive Devices and Mobility Aids, Canes, Walkers, Crutches, Wheelchairs, Prosthetic Devices, Body Braces, and Other Devices

In-Flight Assistance

Special Concerns

People with Hidden Disabilities

Medical Documentation

Pain or Sensitivity

Persons with Diabetes

Persons with PaceMakers

Things to Include in a First-Aid Kit for Traveling

Links to Major Airlines for Further Questions

Mobility Disability and Airport Security Screening

The airport security screening is there to help you stay safe while traveling. They are NOT the enemy and are not there to humiliate you or invade your privacy. Their job is essential for keeping our skies and passengers safe from threats of any kind. In cooperating with airport security, you are playing an important role in keeping all travelers safe.

  • Don't hesitate to ask a screener for assistance with your mobility aid i.e. walking cane, walker, crutches or wheelchair and carry-on items as you proceed through the security checkpoint.
  • Let the screener know your level of ability (e.g., whether you can walk, stand or perform an arm lift). This will expedite the screening process.
  • Inform the screener about any special equipment or devices that you are using and where this equipment is located on your body. This will help the screener be careful during a physical search if one is needed. They don’t want to hurt you!
  • Ensure that all bags and satchels hanging from, or carried on, your equipment are put on the X-ray belt for inspection.
  • Ask the screener to reunite you with your carryon items and assistive device after screening is completed.
  • Let the screener know if you need assistance removing your shoes or CastCuddle™ when additional screening is necessary.
  • Let the screener know if your shoes cannot be removed because of your disability so that alternative security procedures can be applied to your shoes. This goes for orthotic braces, artificial limbs and other artificial prosthetics as well.
  • Ask the screener to monitor your items during the screening process and reunite you with them and assistive devices once x-ray inspection is completed.

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Persons with Assistive Devices and Mobility Aids, Canes, Walkers, Crutches, Wheelchairs, Prosthetic Devices, Body Braces, and Other Devices...

  • Crutches, walking canes and walkers will need to go through the X-ray machine. Remember TSA screening personnel will always be happy to assist you in moving from one point to another if you are momentarily without your mobility device.
  • Notify the screener if your device requires special handling.
  • Ask for assistance with your device(s) if you need it.
  • The screener will perform a hand inspection of your equipment if it cannot fit through the X-ray machine.
  • Collapse canes whenever possible before they are put on the X-ray belt. Broken Beauties telescopic travel canes are perfect for traveling in this situation.
  • Once devices have been screened, screeners should hand back your device to you in such a manner that helps you proceed without difficulty.
  • Screeners may need to see and touch your prosthetic devices and body braces as part of the inspection process. Try not to be embarrassed by this. Unfortunately certain unscrupulous individuals have used prosthetic devices in the past to hide weapons and contraband.
  • You can always ask for a private screening for the inspection of your prosthetic device, orthopedic product, or body brace.
  • Notify screeners if you need assistance during the inspection of your prosthetic devices or body braces such as a chair or someone to lean on.
  • You may bring tools and appliances (e.g. wrenches, pull sleeves, etc.) used to put on or take off prosthetic devices through the security checkpoint once they have been screened.

CastBlast™ used by many Broken Beauties customers for under cast itching is packaged in a pressurized and potentially flammable container and must be carried in a pressurized cabin. This is why Broken Beauties is required by the FAA to ship CastBlast™ by ground transportation only. Therefore is it important that you carry your CastBlast™ in your carry on baggage. This goes for any other kind of pressurized container, i.e. hair spray, spray paint, or pressurized cans of adhesives or foods.

In-Flight Assistance

Do you have special in-flight needs? Flight attendants can assist you in:

  • Using the onboard wheelchair and stowing or retrieving carry-on items
  • Identifying food items on your meal tray
  • Opening packages

Flight attendants are not permitted to assist with feeding or personal hygiene and lavatory functions. They cannot lift or carry you, and they cannot provide medical services such as giving injections. If your medical condition requires others to provide this type of care, you should travel with a ticketed companion who can see to these needs during the flight.

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Special Concerns

Disability Seating Accommodations

Most airlines offer specific seating accommodations for customers with certain types of disabilities. Customers who are entitled to special seating include:

  • Someone who uses an aisle chair to access the aircraft and who cannot readily transfer over
  • A fixed aisle armrest
  • A person traveling with an attendant assisting that individual during the flight
  • Someone traveling with a service animal
  • A person with a fused leg
  • Service Animals

Most airlines welcome service animals, such as dogs and monkeys trained to assist customers with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities, in the aircraft cabin.

A service animal must occupy the floor space where the passenger sits and cannot obstruct an aisle or areas that must remain clear for emergency evacuation. That's why airlines cannot seat you in the exit row.

Some locations (Hawaii, Great Britain, etc.) have quarantine laws for animals or may prohibit their entry altogether. See your airline or travel agent for more information.

Most airlines or your travel agent will be able to help you determine the requirements at your specific destinations. However, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with all entry regulations.

Medicine

You should always carry your medication with you in your carry-on luggage, never in your checked luggage.

Most airplanes do not have refrigerators onboard, so please plan accordingly.

If you use needles/syringes to inject medication, you must have appropriate medical documentation with you that verifies your medical condition and need for the medical procedure in case security officers have questions or to satisfy foreign authorities when traveling outside the United States. Also, inform our cabin crew if you have used any needles during flight. They will provide you with a disposal container.

You cannot hang intravenous devices from the aircraft overhead as they may interfere with the deployment of the onboard emergency oxygen masks.

Medical Oxygen Service

Most airlines provide supplemental (medical) oxygen on their domestic and international flights with at least 48 hours advance notice.

You cannot use the aircraft's emergency oxygen for this purpose. The 48 hours advance notice gives your airline time to ship the appropriate medical oxygen containers to your origination point.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit the use of passenger-provided oxygen equipment during flight for safety reasons. You may, however, bring oxygen tanks along as checked luggage, provided the tanks are empty and free of pressure.

You will need to present a medical certificate from your doctor upon check-in to verify your need for oxygen and the rate of flow per minute required. There is a charge for onboard oxygen service that will be collected at check-in.

Most airlines provide oxygen for in-flight use only, not for use at ground locations. You will need to make your own arrangements if you need oxygen at your departure, connecting or arrival cities.

Assistive Devices

If you are dependent on an assistive device or non-oxygen generating life support equipment, you may bring it into the cabin for use during the flight provided it fits in an FAA approved storage location. You must purchase an extra seat at the applicable fare if you need it for your equipment. Examples of life support equipment are respirators, nebulizers and ventilators.

Most airlines cannot permit wet-cell batteries in the aircraft cabin for safety reasons. We recommend you use a dry- or gel-cell battery for the operation of this equipment since aircraft electrical power hook-ups are not available on most aircraft.

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Hidden Disabilities and Airport Security Screening

  • Persons with a hidden disability can, if they choose, advise screeners that they have a hidden disability and may need some assistance, or need to move a bit slower than others.
  • Family members or traveling companions can advise screeners when they are traveling with someone who has a hidden disability, which may cause that person to move a little slower, become agitated easily and/or need additional attention.
  • Family members or traveling companions can offer suggestions to screeners on the best way to approach and deal with the person with a hidden disability, especially when it is necessary to touch the person during a pat-down inspection.
  • Notify the screener if you need to sit down before and/or during the screening process.

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Medical Documentation

You may want to have medical documentation from your physician regarding your medical condition, especially if you have implanted metal plates or screws. You may present this information to the screener to help inform him or her of your situation. This documentation is not required and will not exempt you from the screening process.

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Pain or Sensitivity

If you are required to undergo a personal search, you can notify the screener if you are in pain due to a recent surgery or medical procedure (e.g. area where you have just undergone surgery, have staples, sutures, reconstruction areas, or newly implanted devices) that will require greater care.

Notify the screener when you have a special situation requiring sensitivity if a pat-down inspection is necessary. You may request a private area for your personal search.

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Persons with Diabetes

  • Notify the screener that you have diabetes and are carrying your supplies with you. The following diabetes related supplies and equipment are allowed through the checkpoint once they have been screened:
    • Insulin and insulin loaded dispensing products (vials or box of individual vials, jet injectors, pens, infusers, and preloaded syringes),
    • Unlimited number of unused syringes when accompanied by insulin, and
    • Lancets, blood glucose meters, blood glucose meter test strips, insulin pumps, and insulin pump supplies.
  • Insulin in any form or dispenser must be properly marked with a professionally printed label identifying the medication or manufacturer's name or pharmaceutical label.
  • Notify screeners if you are wearing an insulin pump and, if necessary, advise the screener that it cannot be removed since it is surgically implanted.
  • Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin with professionally printed labels identifying the medication or manufacturer's name or pharmacy label.
  • Advise screeners if you are experiencing low blood sugar and are in need of medical assistance.
  • It is recommended that used syringes be transported in your checked baggage; however, when used syringes need to be in carry-on, ensure they are in a hard, plastic-capped container (i.e. sharps disposable container) for safety and containment.
  • Remember airlines have cut food services on many long distance flights. Always have adequate food in your carry on baggage in case of low blood sugar. Airlines almost always have a stock of fruit juices if needed, but to be safe, it’s always a good idea to have your own supply of juice with you.

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Persons with Pacemakers

  • It is recommended (but not a requirement) that individuals with a pacemaker carry a Pacemaker Identification Card (ID) when going through airport security.
  • It is recommended (but not required) that you advise the screener that you have an implanted pacemaker.
  • Show the screener your pacemaker ID, if you have one, and ask the screener to conduct a pat-down inspection of you rather than having you walk through the metal detector or be hand-wanded.

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Things to Include in a First-Aid Kit for Traveling

  • Your prescription medicines, in their original containers with labels clearly marked. Always carry your prescription medication in your carry-on baggage.
  • Medicine for diarrhea and upset stomach. Talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for an antibiotic you can take in case you get diarrhea. Pack bismuth subsalicylate (brand name: Pepto Bismol), loperamide (brand name: Imodium) and antacids.
  • Cough and cold medicines.
  • Pain medicines, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol), naproven (brand name: Aleve), ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin) or ketoprofen (brand name: Orudis).
  • Decongestants and antihistamines for allergies. The kinds that don't cause sleepiness are better when you're traveling.
  • Antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, hydrocortisone cream, moleskin for blisters, sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and lip balm.
  • Medicine for motion sickness, such as dimenhydrinate (brand name: Dramamine), and an anti-nausea drug like promethazine (brand name: Phenergan). Acetazolamide (brand name: Diamox) may help prevent altitude sickness.
  • Scissors, tweezers, nail clippers, pocket knife, thermometer, and mirror. The scissors and or pocketknife will have to be carried in your check in baggage. If you fail to do so, they will be confiscated by airport security.

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Here is a list of major airlines in case you have any specific questions concerning your travel:

American Airlines

Continental Airlines

Delta Airlines

Jet Blue

Northwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

US Airways

To travel in style and comfort check out the Broken Beauties line of crutch covers; with their great pockets and comfort padding you can carry your boarding pass and your cell phone right at your finger tips, and not be rubbed raw as our super doubled padded under arm and hand grips will keep you covered. Cast covers and fashion arm slings will bring smiles, stares and lots of inquiries from fellow passengers.

You will most likely be worn out when arriving at your final destination. Take the next several hours to relax, nap, eat, un-wind and get your energy back. Room service rocks!

Relax with some calming music on your Walkman. Remember your body is in an extreme healing mode right now and you’re pushing it. So let it come back to some semblance of tolerable energy gently.

As some people experience a higher than normal level of anxiety when traveling by air, we want to remind you that it is NOT a good idea to mix alcoholic beverages and pain medication. This combination can have severe negative effects on not only your health, but your behavior as well. Being hauled off by airport security because of a poor decision in mixing the two is soooo not fun, and is considered a Federal offence not to be taken lightly.

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This information was compiled with the cooperation of many of the major U.S. air carriers, and the Transportation Security Administration a division of the Homeland Security Bureau, Department of Justice.