Taking a Trip with a Special-Needs Traveler

March 30th, 2018

This article was originally published by in the Star Ledger on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

  1. Let reservation agents, gate agents, and flight attendants know that you or someone you are traveling with has special needs.
  2. Book early to get seats you want.  Seats in the front of the aircraft are quieter and you can exit sooner.
  3. When booking, consider putting a child with special needs in the center seat if traveling with two adults or the window seat.  Or, have one adult sit in front of the child in case the child kicks the seat.
  4. Check in with the gate agent when you arrive.
  5. Board last to lessen the time spent on the plane.
  6. If you’re traveling with another adult, have the other adult board first to set up a “nesting are” (iPad, blanket, snacks, etc.).
  7. Bring something new and exciting to give to your child once they get on the plane.
  8. For possible pressurization issues, have the child keep talking to you, swallow water, chew gum, or use a rubber oral sensory chewing tool while taking off and landing.
  9. During takeoff and landing, the engines will be loud.  For sensitivity to loud noises, use noise-canceling headphones or soft earplugs.
  10. Call the TSA Cares help line (1-855-787-2227) 72 hours before traveling to ask for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance during the security screening process.

For more information on traveling with disabilities and medical conditions, visit tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures.

- Tribune News Service