"Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!" - Walt Disney
For Any young lad, navigating through the airport might be frustrating, but for senior travelers, it can be even more arduous. Whether you are traveling with your children, grandchildren, or solo— even the thought of standing in long queues and rushing through the crowd with that heavy carry-on, can give you chills. But don’t hold back your wanderlust— when you’ll be gone up there in the heavens, all that will be left would be how you’ve inspired people around.
For senior travelers, flying can be daunting with a plethora of questions going on in their heads— are the airlines safe? What if there is any medical emergency? What if I lost my luggage? What if I cannot get my clearance done at the passport counter? Every single thing that might be bothering you has a solution.
Let Your BODY nod, when your heart says Yes!
Before you feel like quitting, check out our senior travel tips that are relevant whether you are traveling alone or with someone accompanying you. Let’s make that daunting flight smoother for senior travelers. Here we go:
For senior travelers, their medication is one of the important things they cannot give a miss. You don’t want your health to take a toll for not administering them on time as prescribed by your doctor. Right? First of all, make sure that you are following all the guidelines and only carrying along with the personal travel bag that your airline allows. And, keep your medications in your personal travel bag that would be easily accessible. This would help you avoid struggling through the aisle trying to get your carry-on luggage from the overhead compartment every time you need your medicines.
Related Article: How to Pick Personal Bags for Air Travel - Your Handy Guide!
It would always be advantageous on your part to ask your airlines for senior travelers’ discounts but don’t get stuck with your plans for these discounts. While some airlines claim HUGE senior travel discounts, these discounts can be elusive. On the other hand, some airlines offer senior travelers discounts but they might not be advertising these discounts publicly. Take, for instance, Delta airlines provide discounts to senior travelers but you cannot avail these discounts online, it can be availed only by calling their support team. In a similar offer, United Airlines runs a discount scheme for senior travelers for only a few routes— and you have to call their support team to avail this discount.
Related Article: Interesting Facts You Never Knew About Top-Rated American Airlines
Regional jet lags can make you feel lethargic & drain much of your energy. To avoid that you should try to book a non-stop flight and avoid booking connecting flights. It will not help you avoid the possible jet lag, but will also reduce travel time and the chances of missing the connecting flights. Choose an airline that’s offering a connecting flight even when you have to spend a little more on your flight tickets.
Most airlines are designed to offer senior travelers wheelchair options— you can book one in advance. We cannot deny the fact that standing for hours in long queues can make youngsters impatient and for senior travelers, it can be challenging both physically & mentally. Be it domestic or international airlines, the wheelchair facilities are available for FREE. With this step, you would be able to roll your way easily through custom security up to the boarding gates.
Anyone cannot get through it without having the plan done ahead— but senior travelers have to be essentially specific in planning every part of the trip succinctly much in advance. A little research about the US airlines you are going to book your flight tickets with might help you navigate smoothly from flight booking to clearing the security checkups to make your way to your flight seat. You must know that according to the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines are bound to disclose flight details in advance to travelers with physical or mental disabilities. So, check about trivial details like the Type of lavatory, Aisle seat locations & Storage facilities. You can give a call to the airline’s support team to get these details.
Related Article: Top Packing Tips Every Traveler Must Learn
So if you can check-in online, you can save yourself from a lot of exhaustion, standing in those long queues. Most airlines offer the facility to complete the check-in process online within their websites or mobile apps, 24 hours ahead of the flight. In fact, some airlines also charge for getting the check-in done at the airport. With check-in done in advance, you can go straight up the security gate (of course if you have only carry-on you can take with you inside the flight) to the departure gate. And, another huge advantage of checking in online is that you will get the freedom to choose the seat of your choice— the earlier you check-in, the better the chances of getting a chance to avoid the middle seat you did not want.
While everyone should follow this step, for senior travelers, it’s an essential step. Health issues can completely ruin your wonderful vacation, you have been planning for so long. A prior health assessment would ensure that you have a safe air travel experience. So, before you have booked your flight checkout your doctor for availability and book an appointment to know about your current medical conditions & precautions you would need to take. Book your vacation package only if your doctor approves that it’s safe for you to fly. It’s always good if you could get a medical document from your doctor, which can help in case of any emergency during the flight. Keep this medical document with you always in your personal travel bag during your air travel.
Senior travelers are offered special services by most of the top US Airlines— don’t hesitate to ask for these services. Make sure you have reserved any of the special services much in advance, the advance reservation will ensure that you get the necessary support without any delay. Many airlines can help senior travelers with extra legroom on request and you can also request for early boarding so senior travelers can settle down in advance to avoid impatient passengers. If you have a long-haul flight, you can help yourself with your dietary restrictions by checking the specialty meals airlines provide.
It troubles everyone to take off shoes, belts, or jackets during the security, checkups— this could be even a more painful experience for the senior travelers. And, for seniors with mobility issues, or any medical conditions, it can be downright frustrating. There’s a way out for this, if you are a resident of the United States, you can get a TSA Precheck membership for $85, this will help you zip through the security checkups. This will save you from the trouble of taking off your shoes & belts & even from taking off your laptop from your carry-on. This is ONE tip every senior traveler (especially those with disabilities) must follow.
It’s pretty tough for the senior travelers to wait for the flight after the check-in & security procedures have been completed. So, if you don’t want to feel lonely, frustrated, with nothing left to do on a solo trip, the lounge access is going to be a worthy splurge. Get yourself a comfortable place inside the lounge area— relax, be comfortable, enjoy some free food, read your favorite newspaper, and enjoy some fabulous drinks. So, to get access to these lavish lounges, you can either sign up for a travel credit card that offers the perk of FREE lounge access for its customers or you can get an airport lounge day pass (which would cost you around $40 per person).
Related Article: Go the Extra Mile: Expert Advice on Redeeming Air Travel Miles
So you have this long haul flight, you never knew you are going to manage— but you passed over that anyways. And, the only thing you want to do right now is, go to your hotel room, switch on the air conditioner, take off the cozy quilt & enjoy some deep sleep. But then you see this long queue at the customs window with masses waiting to get their clearance done. Fortunately for senior travelers, there are ways to get through it easily. For instance, if you are traveling between the US & Canada, get the Nexus card— this will get you access to expedited lines so you don’t have to stand in long queues. And, nowadays, international flights are also made convenient for Nexus cardholders, who can use them at the Global Entry kiosks.
"Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!" - Ingrid Bergman