View Full Version : Has anyone done long haul flights of 11 to 13 hours ?

23rd February 2017, 08:08
Hi all,

Has anyone travelled on long haul flights, my other half is Sri Lankan and we would like to go and visit his family while I am still fit enough to do so but, I can see a few problems. I would just about manage to the toilet with help if I was allocated a seat nearby but also would need help in the toilet as sometimes I struggle with clothing when my hands are weak. The toilets tend to be tiny not sure if 2 adults would fit in them, has anyone had a similar problem if so any suggestions?

My breathing & lung function were normal at last appointment in January so hopefully that shouldn't cause a problem.

If I want to take my small power chair with me would I be able to use it up to seat then it could be stored somewhere so I could have use of it when we arrived?


23rd February 2017, 09:02
Hello Rumba...I have just returned from New Zealand which I managed ok. However I did travel business class and I can still just walk with two crutches. One leg of my trip was with Singapore Airlines which did have an extra large toilet which could take two people which would enable someone to help you. I hope you manage to go...it such a distraction from this awful disease.I had a wonderful time!

23rd February 2017, 12:43
Hi Andrea,

You have to check withe the individual airline re special assistance but power chairs are generally not permitted inside the aircraft, but are stowed in the hold for safety reasons.

They provide a narrow manual wheelchair to get you from the aircraft door to your seat. Larger, wide-bodied aircraft often have bigger disabled toilets.

Do your research before booking and think about going via Middle East if you prefer 2 shorter flights rather than 1 long flight.


24th February 2017, 15:16
Hi Rumba,

I did 12 hours from Tokyo last autumn and chose seats near the toilets. The airline-airport will transfer you to your seat in their own wheelchair and as Ellie has said the larger aircraft used for long haul have bigger toilets. Make sure you do some stretching exercises to avoid cramps.

Best wishes,

22nd April 2017, 10:09
Hello all

My first post on the forum!

I was diagnosed with MND last Feb, currently affecting my lower motor neurons. Can walk short distances with a rollator. I am hoping to go the US in the autumn to visit family. I am wondering about a very practical issue- how one accesses the toilets if wheelchair reliant. I assume airlines may have wheelchairs on the plane for that sort of thing? I will check with the airline beforehand but would be keen to hear about people's real life experience.

I am aware of and have used the special assistance at the airport.


22nd April 2017, 14:09
Welcome to the forum Esperanza, sorry you’ve had the diagnosis.

Good for you planning a trip!

People’s experiences differ depending on which airline, route and aircraft type they flew. So, the best thing to do is to check which airlines fly your route and then check which aircraft they use. Look on their websites. Does the aircraft have:
An on-board wheelchair? Most long-haul routes do but don't assume. Crew will assist you to/from toilet door only.
An accessible/partially accessible toilet.? Often the wide-bodied Airbus aircraft have better facilities, but it differs between airlines. This may not be important for you personally.

If you’re travelling alone, most airlines require you to be able to evacuate the aircraft independently in an emergency situation, or you may need a travelling companion. (which is why you need to check out your route)

Other points to note are insurance (vital for the U.S. and be prepared for a shock at the cost :mad: ), breathing ability and progression (you seem to have fairly slow progression??)

Ellie x.

22nd April 2017, 19:38
Hi Esperanza, and welcome to the forum;

Insurance for America is normally double that of most other places. Do you and Ellie mean that they allow you to stay in a wheelchair in the plane. I am not aware of that but they will normally carry a wheelchair or scooter in the hold.

Loo's can be a problem for us, it is easier for a man but I wondered if you could get a temporary catheter type thing that you could do yourselves.

Hope you manage to get out there.

Best wishes, Terry

23rd April 2017, 19:15
Thank you both.

Not sure about progression of illness, haven't been given a 'type' yet either. Will see how things ago.

I will check with the airline, I meant if the airline carries a wheelchair on board or people unable to walk to the toilet. I am not at that stage yet but wanted to know how people manage that sort of thing.

24th April 2017, 11:42
Hi Esperanza,

Yes, the "on-board wheelchair" is available to use in-flight from your seat to the toilet door.

They are fairly narrow as they have to fit in the aisles. I've used them in the past.

Ellie x.

24th April 2017, 12:29
Thanks Chimp;

I never knew that.

Love, The Cat

24th April 2017, 12:35
Thanks for this. very helpful. I am planning on flying to Cape Town shortly and my legs are worse. I can walk if holding onto things but the toilet might be precarious. Once at the door I could manage. very helpful indeed.


24th April 2017, 12:57
Hi Charles;

For a man you can get condom type things that go to a bag. I used to wear one on long journey's although rarely used it as I could disconnect it and wee normally. Might be worth it for peace of mind. Ask to see an incontinence nurse or ask at the hospice.

Love Terry

24th April 2017, 13:14
Thanks. That is a good back-up plan. I am intending doing a few long car journeys so that might come in handy instead of unloading the scooter etc. I cant do the 'roadside relief' that I was adept at doing on long desolate stretches of road. Not that there are any of those in the UK. Good idea.


24th April 2017, 13:59
I cant do the 'roadside relief' that I was adept at doing on long desolate stretches of road.


And I had you down as a Gentleman, Charles!!! (I know The Cat would leave his mark anywhere :))

Ellie x.

24th April 2017, 14:12
Brilliant. Any self-respecting cat, domestic or wild, needs to mark out it's territory. And so it should be for the TerryCat.


18th June 2017, 22:08
Another question- anyone who has sdifficulty getting up from low seats or those without arms been on a flight? Wondering how I would get up from seat, I suppose I could take a wheelchair cushion to raise the seat so to speak?


I haven't tried it yet but have been told of something called try b4 you fly - half a plane at the QEF that you can try out a 'flight experience' in and get advice!

4th November 2017, 13:51
Planning a holiday overseas and been checking out this forum for advice.
Getting up from seats is very difficult for me too. I'm thinking my best option is to try and get a seat with extra leg room and my husband pull me up.
Does anyone have any recommendations for a 4/5star hotel somewhere warm , on the beach, no steps so I could take my scooter or maybe hire one?

4th November 2017, 15:44
Hi Newbie,

Good for you going away to get winter sun. It is bliss to feel the sun’s rays warming up those muscles.

You shouldn’t need to take a 12hr flight for heat – depending on your budget, consider the Canary Islands & Morocco <5hrs flight; Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) 6hrs; or even Dubai 7hrs. You can filter the search results by beachfront location, star ratings etc.

If you book a seat with extra legroom, you won’t be able to sit in an emergency exit row as one has to be “able bodied”, but many holiday flights have a premium section, at an extra cost, offering extra legroom.

You can either take your scooter with you, but do check with your airline before you book, or hire locally. It's probably better to bring it with you as you're used to it and how it drives.

I don’t have any personal recommendations for you but, with so many online reviews, you’ll get a good idea of what a hotel is like. Google Maps shows exactly where the hotel is located.

Happy hunting.
Love Ellie.

4th November 2017, 17:17
Thanks Ellie, good advice as always.
Going away used to be so simple, now everything is like a major expedition!
I'll keep you posted as to how I get on.
Love Helen x

4th November 2017, 18:49
We flew Sri Lankan airlines and they allocated me an aisle seat which they said would be easier to get in and out of.f.

I could still stand a bit to transfer at that point so Jay helped me into the seat but unfortunately 2 rather jobs worth insisted on helping me out of the seat and had me crying as they pulled my frozen shoulder.

I was allowed to use my own manual wheelchair right up to the plane door which was great.

Sri Lanka is not really set up for wheelchair users at the moment but a beautiful country all the same.

10th January 2018, 13:55
I thought I would let everyone know how my recent holiday to the Dominican Republic republic went. I was very apprehensive beforehand but did a lot of research and found an amazing hotel that was perfect for my needs. I took my scooter, we parked at Gatwick in the valley parking and I scooted right the way through check-in and security to the aircraft door. I had been concerned about getting up from my seat but needn't have worried as the British Airways stewardess and my husband together got me up with no problem.
I had booked assistance at the other end and it all went very smoothly. I was whisked in a wheelchair to immigration to luggage reclaim where I was pleased to see my scooter was waiting for me.
We had a private transfer booked, my scooter dismantled and fitted in with the luggage. The next hurdle with how to get me in as there were two steps up . It wasn't very elegant but somehow I was hoisted in!
We stayed at the Excellence El Carmen .The hotel couldn't have been better, all the walkways were flat, I was able to take my scooter into all the restaurants and bars . The staff were amazing and happy to give me a hand up from the chairs .
I hate a hiccup on day three when I fell by the swimming pool and cut my head. The hotel doctor insisted I go to hospital for a CT scan which turned out fine but I had to have three stitches . I gained celebrity status after that and I think all the staff were given the heads up about me and really did look out for me .
There was a board walk on the beach and by putting 2 sunlounges on top of one another I was able to lie down and enjoy the view. I ventured into the sea once wearing a life jacket and floated around .this was before my fall when I was feeling more confident.
The swim pool had wheelchair ramps so I was able to park my scooter at the top and held in the rail gingerly take a few steps into the water. We had a large float,parked two cocktails on it and walked around in the lovely warm water .
Yes the fall was unfortunate but it could've been a lot worse. I was hugely embarrassed, falling in such a public place and it really knocked my confidence but it didn't spoil the holiday by any means. We are even thinking of going back again in the spring.
The holiday was very different to what we've done before and it was very difficult watching my husband playing tennis without me and swimming in the sea .
The return flight went smoothly and the airport assistance at Heathrow was wonderful.
Anyone considering a long haul holiday, I would say go for it yes there maybe setbacks but youll cope and I'm sure it'll be well worth it.

10th January 2018, 14:13
Absolutely thrilled for you Helen !! And you missed the storms, snow and freezing weather - well, it's still cold, I'd say it was quite a shock to your system arriving home to these temperatures :eek:

Here's to the next holiday...

Love Ellie.

10th January 2018, 14:14
How wonderful, not just for you but also your husband too! I hope that you will be able to repeat your trip elsewhere. If you do, please do send us another report. You ccould become the MNDA's Holiday reporter. In fact it would be useful if others could recommend suitable holiday resorts.

10th January 2018, 15:00
How lovely Helen;

Go for a month or two next time.

Love Terry

10th January 2018, 16:28
Hi Helen,

From one intrepid traveller to another, it’s great to hear you had a great holiday excepting the fall. It would appear the Dominican Republic has come a long way since I was there 20 years ago. I do hope you manage to get back there in the spring. I’m impressed that your scooter made it there and back without damage as I was reading a holiday magazine with horrendous stories of the way airport crew throw wheelchairs and scooters around. I shall be putting this to the test this year starting with a trip next month to the Red Sea.

May I ask did you use a specialist agent to book or did you research yourself?

Best wishes,

10th January 2018, 17:29
Great to hear back from you all!
I love Ann's idea of being a roving MNDA holiday reporter.
Barry, I came across the hotel by googling accessible Caribbean hotels. I needed a pool with easy access and came across a video blog that a young lady in an electric wheelchair had made. So I had a guided tour!
We booked through Tropical Sky and the holiday was with BA.
I rather fancy the Red Sea in February - bit nearer than the Caribbean. Where are you staying? Look forward to reading your blog��

10th January 2018, 23:50
Helen we are staying at the Sheraton hotel in el Gouna. This will be our 4th stay at this hotel and 7th visit to the resort. The hotel is accessible for wheelchairs and scooters and the resort is in conservation area.

Look out for my posts from February 17th.


11th January 2018, 15:59
Thanks Barry. Hope you have a wonderful time.

19th February 2018, 15:38
Hi all,

Travelled to Hurgada, Egypt on Saturday from Birmingham. If anyone plans to use this airport I can recommend parking in the multi storey car park 1. It is right outside the departure entrance so no getting on buses and the lifts are plentiful as are the disabled spaces. Check in was painful as Thomas Cook doesn’t have a priority queue like many airlines and we registered to meet the assistance personnel at the designated meeting point. Nobody came and it was 20 minutes after the appropriate time. My wife had called via the helpline twice to summon assistance and meanwhile they were calling for the last remaining passengers to check in at the gate. We decided to set off for the gate which we knew was the furthest away with my wife jogging and me and my walker waddling in the distance. I eventually got there and a very sympathetic TC representative explained this happens regularly as the ground crew are stretched. Another lady in a wheelchair with her partner joined us and we boarded the ambulift (this is a term I discovered last year). Again unlike many airlines TC do not reserve forward seats for disabled so with my rollator stowed in the hold I had to struggle to row 15 using the headrests as supports. A 6 hours flight and I am equidistant from the forward and rear toilets. Don’t these people understand disability!
Strangely enough all went well in Egypt since they are a culture of tipping for service and we were whisked through for a couple of pounds. I can report that after 2 days on the beach in the sun I am totally relaxed and I even managed a swim, although in the year since I was last here I find my legs won’t coordinate, however the bonus is I’m better in water than I am on land.

I hope everyone is okay back home, wherever that might be.


19th February 2018, 15:57
Trying sooo hard to summon up pity for you Baz babe ;)

OK then, I admit that the airport and flight were stressful!

Enjoy the 26 degree heat...

xxx Ellie.

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