Visit us on LinkedinVisit us on LinkedinVisit us on Linkedin

Flying Tips for Senior Travelers

Senior TravelersAirports can be stressful places for anyone, but they can be especially tough for seniors who may have trouble getting through the airport or may be unfamiliar with the process of making a flight.

But that shouldn’t prevent seniors from traveling to a destination they’ve always dreamed of visiting or attending a family function such as a grandchild’s wedding or graduation.

Here are some tips for helping older travelers make it through the airport easier.

Booking the flight.

Designate a family member to make the reservations. When you book, inform the airline that the passenger is elderly and ask for as many special requests as possible, such as a bulkhead seat or one in the front of the plane. This is also the time to request a wheelchair. Some airlines, such as Southwest, provide a form to do this on their website; however, it will be worth the effort to call and speak to an airline agent.

Getting through the airport.

You may not be aware that airports allow a non-traveling companion to escort elderly fliers to and from their gate, as long as they provide photo ID. If no one is available, many airlines, including Delta and American, will provide employees to help passengers through check-in. The airlines will typically have a wheelchair waiting if you requested it; however, you can also request a wheelchair directly from the airport. Try to do this 48 hours in advance of your flight by contacting the airline or the airport.

Getting through security.

At security, the TSA offers modified screening procedures to passengers who are more than 75 years old. They don’t need to remove shoes or light outerwear such as jackets and sweaters. Additionally, if they set off the metal detector, they can choose to pass through it again before undergoing a pat-down.

Boarding the plane.

Take advantage of the pre-boarding segment for passengers with special needs. It will give senior passengers more time to get to their seat and get settled in.

Getting off the plane.

When the flight lands, wait for all the other passengers to debark. The flight attendants will help elderly passengers retrieve their belongings and get off the plane. If a wheelchair was requested, it should be waiting in the tarmac as soon as you step off the plane.