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7 Must Know Tips for Passengers with Disabilities- Part 2

Aug 18, 2007
When you make your reservation, communicate your needs to the airlines. Make plans ahead of time for items such as: oxygen supply for origin, transfer hubs and destination, a porter to help with luggage, and/or a wheelchair to help you move through the airport with ease and with less stress.

All passengers with disabilities should arrive at the airport a minimum of 2 hours early. You should always ask the airlines for a gate pass at the time of check in. Gate (escort) passes are for relatives, companions, or assistants who are not flying but accompanying the passenger to the gate. A gate pass is subject to the airlines discretion. Place identification tags on all checked baggage, carry-ons, equipment, and mobility aids and devices. Remember that your medical equipment, mobility aids and devices are exempt from the 2 carry-on or checked baggage rule.

Passengers should always consult their doctor for the best method of screening. Passengers with a pace-maker, defibrillator or insulin pump should choose the full-body pat-down. Any metal detector could drain the battery in your medical device. If your doctor tells you that your medical equipment cannot go through the x-ray machine or needs special handling, inform the screener and ask for a visual inspection.

There are alternative ways for a passenger to be screened if they do not want to or cannot walk through the walk-through metal detector. When a passenger with a disability approaches a screener, the screener should always be discreet if the person's disability is discussed and not visible. They should also ask the passenger if they need assistance. The screener should offer all screening methods. They will ask the passenger if he or she prefers to walk through the metal detector, receive a hand-wanding or a full body pat-down. It's the passenger's choice. You do not need to disclose your medical condition if you choose to take an alternative screening method. If the passenger walks through the metal detector and it alarms, then the screener will conduct secondary screening using a hand-held metal detector or pat-down.

Ask the screener to change their gloves before undergoing a full-body pat-down or hand-wanding. This will eliminate other people's germs from spreading. You may ask to sit before, during, and after the screening process if you need to. If you cannot remove your shoes because of your disability, then don't. Other screening procedures will be performed to clear your shoes through security. Inform the screener of all sensitive areas on your body before undergoing hand-wanding or a pat-down.

At no time during the screening process should a passenger be asked to take off a prosthetic device for screening, nor should a passenger volunteer. Expect an alternative screening procedure, which will include an explosive trace detection test. This will test your prosthetic for explosives and is required by federal law in order for you to proceed to the gate area.

Sometimes screeners need to be able to visually clear a medical device worn on the outside of the body. If this is the case, a private screening should be offered as a requirement by the screener. If this doesn't happen, the passenger should then request it if they want it. There should always be 2 screeners of the same gender as you (one being a lead or supervisor), you and your family member or companion. Ask for a supervisor or manager if there are only 2 of you going into private screening. You should never be separated from your family member, assistant, or companion when going through the screening process, unless dictated by you. Once your family member has been screened they can offer assistance or directions on the best method for screening if you are not able to communicate it to the screener.

Travel with less stress and be flexible with the changes that come your way with airport security.
About the Author
Natalia Ippolito, a former airport screener and author of: I MIGHT AS WELL BE NAKED: How to Survive Airport Screening With Your Clothes On.

Receive her FREE Tip of The Week, Sample Chapter Ultimate Packing List or Unknown Violations and Fines Report at http://www.airportbook.com
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