Thursday, January 5, 2012

Traveling With Disabilities and Medical Conditions

Hidden Disabilities

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

* Pacemakers, Defibrillators, Other Implanted Medical Devices, & Metal Implants
* Medical Oxygen and Respiratory-Related Equipment
* Diabetes
* Medications

* Persons with a hidden disability can, if they choose, advise Security Officers that they have a hidden disability and may need some assistance, or need to move a bit slower than others.

* Family members or traveling companions can advise Security Officers when they are traveling with someone who has a hidden disability, which may cause that person to move a little slower, become agitated easily and/or need additional assistance.

* Family members or traveling companions can offer suggestions to Security Officers on the best way to approach and deal with the person with a hidden disability, especially when it is necessary to touch the person during a pat-down inspection.

* Family member or traveling companions can stay with the person during a public or private screening; however, they may be required to be rescreened if they provide assistance to the person.

* Notify the Security Officer if you need to sit down before and/or during the screening process.

Pacemakers, Defibrillators, Other Implanted Medical Devices, & Metal Implants

* If you have implanted medical device, that you would like to remain private and confidential, ask the Security Officer to please be discreet when assisting you through the screening process.

* It is recommended (but not required) that individuals with a pacemaker carry a Pacemaker Identification Card (ID) when going through airport security. Show the Security Officer your pacemaker ID, if you have one, and ask the Security Officer to conduct a pat-down inspection rather than having you walk-through the metal detector or be handwanded.

* It is recommended (but not required) that you advise the Security Officer that you have an implanted pacemaker, other implanted medical device, or metal implant and where that implant is located.

* Security Officer will offer you a private screening once it becomes known that you have a metal implant or implanted medical device.

* If your Doctor has indicated that you should not go through the metal detector or be handwanded because it could affect the functionality of your device or the magnetic calibration of your device, or if you are concerned, ask the Security Officer for a pat-down inspection instead.

* Security Officers will need to resolve all alarms associated with metal implants. Most alarms will be able to be resolved during a pat-down, therefore clothing will not be required to be removed or lifted as part of the inspection process.

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Medical Oxygen and Respiratory-Related Equipment

Supplemental personal medical oxygen and other respiratory-related equipment and devices (e.g. nebulizer, respirator) are permitted through the screening checkpoint once they have undergone screening.

Any respiratory equipment that cannot be cleared during the inspection process will not be permitted beyond the screening checkpoint.

Persons connected to oxygen:

* Inform the Security Officer if your oxygen supply or other respiratory-related equipment cannot be safely disconnected.
* Only you can disconnect yourself to allow for your oxygen canister/system to be X-rayed.
* Check with your Doctor prior to coming to the checkpoint to ensure disconnection can be done safely.
* If your Doctor has indicated that you cannot be disconnected or if you are concerned, ask the Security Officer for an alternate inspection process while you remain connected to your oxygen source.
* Infants will remain connected to their apnea monitors throughout the screening process. Apnea monitors will be screened while remaining connected to the infant.
* Oxygen equipment will either undergo X-ray screening (only disconnected oxygen equipment) or physical inspection, and explosive trace detection inspection.

Oxygen suppliers or persons carrying oxygen supply:

* An oxygen supplier or personal assistant may accompany you to the gate or meet you at the gate once they have obtained a valid gate pass from the appropriate aircraft operator.
* Persons carrying his/her supply must have a valid boarding pass or valid gate pass to proceed through the security checkpoint.
* Oxygen being carried by the supplier or person will either undergo X-ray screening and explosive trace detection sampling.

Oxygen and Arrangements

Passengers are responsible for making the arrangements with:

* The airline(s) for supplemental Oxygen onboard the aircraft.
* Local providers for oxygen use during any layover stop(s) and at the final destination.
* The airline, friends, relatives or a local supplier for removal of the canister from the originating airport's gate area immediately after you leave the gate area to board the aircraft.

You must make similar arrangements for your return trip. Please, check the procedures outlined below for details. More information on airline accommodations for oxygen users can be found at the National Home Oxygen Patient's Association web site. You can also download the "Airline Travel With Oxygen" brochure. This publication provides valuable information on traveling with oxygen, including airlines that do and do not provide in-flight supplemental oxygen.

When You Make Your Reservation:

Arranging for Supplemental Oxygen (O2) Aboard the Aircraft

* Neither the Air Carrier Access Act nor the Americans with Disabilities Act require airlines to provide oxygen service. Consequently, airline policies, procedures and services on accommodating passengers who use supplemental oxygen vary widely.
* Notify the carrier when you make your reservation that you will need to use supplemental oxygen aboard the aircraft(s).
* Ask about the airline's policies on the use of supplemental O² onboard. Federal regulations prohibit airlines from allowing passengers to bring their own oxygen canisters aboard to use during the flight. Passengers who use oxygen canisters must purchase canisters from the airline for use during the flight. However, some airlines do permit passengers to bring aboard oxygen concentrators, which do not contain oxygen, and use them during the flight. Policies vary from carrier to carrier, so be sure to check with your airline well in advance.
* Keep in mind that not all airlines offer supplemental oxygen service, or may not offer it aboard all their aircraft. Inquire whether: 1) the airline provides oxygen service, 2) it is available on the flights you wish to take, and 3) you must provide a doctor's letter, or permit them to contact your doctor directly to verify your medical need.

Arranging for Supplemental Oxygen during Layovers or at Your Destination

* Notify the carrier(s) you are traveling with that you will need oxygen at the airport(s). Let them know that your O² supplier will be meeting you at the gate with an O² canister.
* Ask about their policy for allowing O² suppliers to meet you at the layover airports and/or at your destination gate.
* Contact your O² supplier and request that they make arrangements for your O² at the city or cities you'll require. The supplier will need to know the airline(s) you'll be using, departure and arrival dates and time, departure and arrival gates, flight number(s), arrival time(s), and the equipment you will need. Make all these arrangements as soon as possible.
* If a representative from the oxygen-providing company is going to meet your flight with an O² canister, arrange for your flight(s) to arrive during the supplier's normal business hours, if possible. Also, have a local phone number and a contact person in the event of any unforeseen situation(s), such as if their representative is not at the arrival gate when you get there.

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