View Full Version : Getting anxious about flying/airports

04-25-2007, 02:17 PM
I'm flying to the UK in 6 weeks, and the closer the day gets, the more anxious i'm becoming. From what my ticket says, the first leg of my journey will be landing at terminal F in the Philadelphia airport. I'm to make a connecting flight at terminal A. (at the complete opposite end of the airport!) I worry that i won't be able to walk that distance while lugging my carry-ons. I've contacted both the airlines and the airport and one says the other is responsible for assistance. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I also worry about the metal in my back setting off alarms and being able to convince security that i'm not a threat, but i've been reading on another thread here how you've all had different experiences in that regard. Do you think a note from my family doctor will suffice about my implants?

Any tips on surviving a long transatlantic flight for someone who is usually too shy to get out of her seat more than once?

04-25-2007, 02:31 PM
Hi JoAnn,

I'm wondering the same thing about setting off the alarms at the airport. I can tell you though that I didn't set off the alarms with the first set of rods that I had. They were about a foot long each and I was fine. But I have new instrumentation now that is the same length but thicker. Has anyone set the alarms off before? My doctor printed out a copy of my x-ray on just a regular sheet of paper and gave me my post-op note to take with me just in case. He didn't know for sure because of all the new security they have now. I'm crossing my fingers when I do fly for the first time. It would be a pain to have to stop and explain EVERY time you fly.

As far as getting to your connecting flight, just talk to the people at your airline counter right when you get off the plane. They have to be able to call you assistance to either drive you on a cart or wheel you in a wheelchair if you feel like you can't walk/carry your things that far. I had to do that one time when I had a sprained ankle. It can be a long walk so definitely ask for that if you need it. Don't feel bad about it. They have people there just for that purpose.

04-25-2007, 08:12 PM
Hi JoAnn,

When you are at the ticketing area, or unloading from the car, ask for a wheelchair. They will get you one, push you to ticketing, take you through security, (Don't worry about setting it off, I have so many times!!!) Usually I warn them before I go through that I have metal rods. If it goes off, you just move to the side, they'll call a female agent over and she will pass the wand over you. When the wand gets to my back, it beeps like crazy the whole length of the back. They can also do this from the wheelchair if you don't feel like you can stand the whole time. Just be truthful with them and it'll be no problem. Even if you have a note, they will still wand you. After that is done, the skycap will then push you all the way to the gate, and set you in line for pre-boarding. They'll wheel you down the walkway then they will help you get up and into a seat. Ask the ticket agent and flight attendant to call ahead and they will have a wheelchair there with someone to push you to baggage claim. Try to get a "squishy" roll pillow for the small of your back and a "dogbone" shaped neck pillow for your head. Have a great trip.

04-26-2007, 08:34 AM
Thank you Sarah and Theresa. Some good advice there. I just dread causing any sort of problems or drawing attention to myself. I can walk, but just not a long distance and especially not while carrying something. And standing still while holding something is even worse...

I also want to take my cane to help with the walking at the airport and to use if i have a 'bad' day while on my 3 week visit... The cane is a metal one... will that cause problems? I have a wooden one too, and if necessary i can put a new rubber end on it and take it instead, but the metal one is a better height for me.

04-26-2007, 09:49 AM
I would call the airport about the cane to make sure first. Hopefully they would allow that but security is pretty tight these days.

04-26-2007, 10:10 AM
I agree with everything Theresa said. It's seriously no big deal if you do set off the detector. I travel quite a bit and do it everytime I fly, including when I flew internationally last Spring. Just be sure to allow yourself the extra 10-15 mins is can take to get through the additional screening and you'll be fine.

As for assistance on the ground between flights, again, I second what Theresa said. When you get on the plane, tell the flight attendant that you have had major back surgery and that you will need assistance getting to your next terminal upon landing. They will call ahead and have assistance waiting for you at the gate.

The squishly roll pillow is great for travel!!! I have one and love it! Be sure that if you do get one, you get one without the back massager in it.

Here's a link to it: http://www.abackrubco.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=139

04-26-2007, 03:56 PM

My cane was also metal. Once again, no problems. I have the same issues with walking. Put anything in my hand that has any weight at all, and that is almost impossible to walk. Do the wheelchair thing and enjoy your trip. Don't complicate it or make it any worse on yourself by trying to walk the airport. Any kind of travel for lays me out the next day for a few hours or even the whole day.

04-29-2007, 09:00 PM
To survive a long flight, I book an aisle seat. This gives me room to stretch my legs and wiggle around to find a comfortable position. With an aisle seat, I am able to get up and walk around the plane approximately every three hours. Sometimes I will just stand near the rest rooms and stretch. Sometimes I will walk to the back of the plane, get a glass of water and talk to the flight attendants, then slowly return to my seat. A long as you are not unduly disturbing anyone or breaking airline regulations, feel free to get up and stretch on a long flight.

Have a great trip.

Shelley (Tel Aviv to Newark - 11 hours - Feb. 07)

04-30-2007, 11:17 AM
Thanks so much for the suggestions and advice!

I guess it seems silly to some to be worried about these kinds of details... but i've found it really unsettling to no longer be able to rely on my body doing things that i was always able to do before with no problem. Walking and carrying things for instance. I had five children, including a set of twins, wagging them around while i did housework and cooking was just second-nature.... but now it's a different story with the grandbabies...lol.

I'll be traveling alone and have decided to take advantage of any assistance offered, wheelchair or otherwise. I've always asked for a window seat before because i thought that being able to look out and orient myself with the horizon helped prevent airsickness. But i was reluctant to get up and move around often because of disturbing my neighbor. However, i won't sit that way this time... I've learned the unpleasant results that sitting virtually motionless for such a length of time can do.

Thanks again!