Flight Travel with a Prosthesis
Ahhhhhh that overdue vacation. Tickets booked, bags packed, dreams of the soothing ocean waves running through your head. But wait….
How do you go through the airport with your prosthesis?
The rules of traveling with a prosthesis can seem unclear. Below are some tips for smooth sailings from Scheck & Siress experts:
1. Smart packing is important to preventing any vacation prosthetic malfunctions.
A good rule of thumb for any trip is to have all the items you need packed in your carry-on bag. Airlines sometimes lose luggage. When possible, carrying on all prosthetics components or gate-checking large items is best.
- Smart packing checklist:
- Prosthetic socks
- Donning sleeves
- Extra liner
- 4mm Allen key
- Extra sealing sleeve
2. Airport security is your first concern when traveling if you wear a prosthesis.
“How do I take my prosthesis through a metal detector… it has a metal pylon?” “Can I take my wheelchair?” are probably some questions crossing your mind. Take a deep breath. As long as you are not one of “those people” with a full water bottle, jumbo shampoo, and three laptops, you will be good to go. As long as the item is medically necessary, all canes, wheelchairs, and crutches can go through security. The item will need to be sent through x-ray line and will be swab tested. The swab test will also need to be performed on your prosthesis. To perform, a TSA agent will run a cotton swab over your prosthesis. At no point should the prosthesis be removed. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always ask for a private screening.
3. Check-in with the flight attendants prior to boarding.
This gives you time before the flight to arrange an aisle chair or any other assistance needed. Bonus: If seats closer to the front of the plane are available, you can ask to be moved up. The closer to the front of the plane means less distance you have to hop, crutch, or roll down the aisle. All flights offer pre-boarding to persons with disabilities who may need more time. Take advantage of this! Not only will you ensure overhead bin space (for that fully stocked carry on bag), but you will have a few extra stress-free minutes to get settled.
4. Swelling is a very common problem with anyone on a flight.
What is worse than sitting by a crying baby for 4 hours, not being able to get your prosthesis on at the end of the flight? The concern for an amputee is how that swelling will affect your prosthetic fit. Standing up and walking the aisle a few times during the flight is one way to help reduce swelling. If you are someone who prefers to take the prosthesis off when flying, you can wear a prosthetic shrinker to help control any swelling.
5. Last but not least… Enjoy your trip!
For more information on security checkpoints and accessibility, check out TSA Cares.