Air Travel and Senior Citizens

“Summertime and the living is easy…” Well, yes and no. Now that you are retired, you do not need to restrict vacations and traveling to peak season when most people have vacations from work. Being able to travel whenever you want opens up a lot of possibilities for saving on air fare, avoiding crowds of people, and traveling to off-season climates for a summer vacation even if it’s the middle of winter, and vice-versa.

On the other hand, flying is hard on everyone, and can be especially stressful for seniors, who could have trouble walking through giant airports to find their gates, or sitting for hours on end with little or no movement of muscles. There is also the issue of being in close quarters with several hundred people, many of whom could be carrying viruses or other illness, unwarily spreading their diseases to innocent bystanders sharing the airplane’s cabin.

The climate of the plane is also not in the passenger’s control. The cabin could be chillingly cold, or stiflingly hot, and there is very little to do about it except for putting on a sweater or pointing the little air vent directly at your face.

Solving the mobility issue is not difficult. All major airports have both wheelchairs and golf carts to get people with limited mobility around the airport with ease. All you need to do is ask. Seniors can also opt into the unaccompanied minors program, which will provide a companion for people who need such a service, request it, and pay a surcharge for it.

Worried about catching something from your fellow passengers? Bring a surgical face mask along, and wear it during the flight. This will screen out a high percentage of the contaminants that are likely circulating in the air of the cabin.

Get up out of your seat at regular intervals, and move those muscles. Even a short walk down the aisle will make a big difference. And don’t forget to also use the restroom as soon as you feel the urge.

Be sure to bring a sweater on board. Don’t rely on those thin, tiny blankets as a source of warmth on the flight.

Remember, airlines want to help, it’s good for business. So, don’t be afraid to ask.