Published on Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:00
Written by Renée Duggan
Travelling with Andrew was fun as a baby but as he grew it became more daunting. Travelling with 2 children one with was very hard. As Andrew grew older and could no longer sit in my lap on the airplane, they then had to put a harness on him. It was very funny as nobody really new what to do and now I tell them how to attach the the H harness and the best way to thread the seat belt so the person behind can still use the fold down table.
I have travelled with all 3 major Airlines in Australia and they are all helpful and will go out of their way to help you and settle you into the plane. You need to let the airlines know that you have a person with a disability travelling with you as they have to make arrangements for you and your child. Qantas will let you take the wheelchair until you board and then come and get the wheelchair just as you are boarding. They met me at the front and had me done and dusted within 10 minutes. I can still carry Andrew onto the plane as he is still manageable but this will change as he gets older.
All airlines will offer an alternative wheelchair to use , but the wheelchairs are not good for Andrew. You need to board before everyone by at least 5 minutes. This stops you and your child from being the centre of attention and it gives you time to be settled before take off, also gives you time to get all the stuff food,drinks, bibs and so on, so it's ready and within reach after take off.
Andrew loves the take off but gets very unsettled when we are about to land as the air pressure in the cabin does not agree with him. The longest I have been on a plane with Andrew is 2 hours and for me at the moment this is long enough. It's also best to be the last off the plane so you won't feel rushed and you will be heartened by all the offers of help from strangers to carry bags and help with any toddlers that you have with you as well.
We have never had anyone whinge if Andrew has had a couple of screams in frustration. And I have had a quite a few lovely compliments in the way I have managed Andrew while on board.
Don't be scared to travel you will get plenty of help.
Renée Duggan writes for Scene Magazine
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