Making decisions about air travel when traveling for medical help?

Traveling by air can sometimes be stressful and logistically challenging. It can be even harder when you’re also dealing with a health issue.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester International Airport, and Rochester’s Destination Medical Center are interested in hearing about the decisions you make when you travel by air. Your input will help us make informed decisions about how we serve our visitors and community members.

Thank you for sharing your preferences and insights by taking the survey. The survey is now closed, but the discussion can continue.

Let’s talk and share in an open discussion here about what’s important to you and your travel experiences. To start us off, I’d like you to think back to your most recent air travel experience, or one you’re currently planning.

  • What would you like to improve about that experience?
  • What types of resources, information or assistance could have made that experience better?

Hi…GAP here…just made a res for a flight to Albany NY. I have a lung net, advanced, and my big fear is getting pneumonia. Crowded planes and airports are bad news for me but I have little choice in travel My first goal is to minimize exposure. First class, even though it is expensive may minimize who or what is close to me. Some perks are included in that like first boarding and access to overhead. I wish it was cheaper though. I will take a mask with me if my neighbor has any symptoms. Proximity to the rest room and availability is another hope in first class. As I think about it there may be other seats on the plane that may also be suitable,but the crowd….so maybe selective boarding is the answer without the designation of "handicapped". "Now boarding First Class and Select passengers would be the announcement"
Designated pickup areas for individuals who do not have obvious liabilities…perhaps an armband…to ease shuttle assistance etc. One of my Drs told me I pass the "V" visual test. I do not look sick. Lucky me!

Here are some pointers when traveling by air ,when you have medical issues. Coach or first class either section you could get sick. There was a case of a person with measles that exposed hundreds of air travelers at O'hare airport recently. So it isn't only the airplane where the exposure can occur. It can happen in the airport terminal as well.
Here are some tips from the CDC that if you have an underlining illness you need to be aware of when traveling by air.
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/conveyance-transportation-issues/air-travel
TSA also has a section for travelers with disabilites and medical conditions
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures

@gapsc

Hi…GAP here…just made a res for a flight to Albany NY. I have a lung net, advanced, and my big fear is getting pneumonia. Crowded planes and airports are bad news for me but I have little choice in travel My first goal is to minimize exposure. First class, even though it is expensive may minimize who or what is close to me. Some perks are included in that like first boarding and access to overhead. I wish it was cheaper though. I will take a mask with me if my neighbor has any symptoms. Proximity to the rest room and availability is another hope in first class. As I think about it there may be other seats on the plane that may also be suitable,but the crowd….so maybe selective boarding is the answer without the designation of "handicapped". "Now boarding First Class and Select passengers would be the announcement"
Designated pickup areas for individuals who do not have obvious liabilities…perhaps an armband…to ease shuttle assistance etc. One of my Drs told me I pass the "V" visual test. I do not look sick. Lucky me!

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Hello @gapsc

It has been awhile since you have posted. How are you doing?

Yes, the one comment my doctors give me is that I look great! That is an advantage, no doubt. Looking sickly has never been a good look for me!

Teresa

When my mom doesn’t rent a car. We fly into the Rochester airport. They have a shuttle service that can take you from the airport to one of the hotels near Mayo. My mom, and I just called them to make a reservation for when we come to Rochester on the 28th. It’s not GoRochester Direct that serves the Minneapolis airport. It’s another one. It has a similar name.

I'd like to invite you to join us today, Thursday, December 6 at 11 a.m. CT for a video Q&A with Dr. Angela Mattke, pediatrician, and Dr. Stephen Gleich, pediatric anesthesia and critical care, about medical transportation. You can participate in the Video Q&A on Connect on this page;
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/video-qa-about-pediatric-medical-transportation/

The video will be shown at the top of the page. Dr. Mattke and Dr. Gleich will answer questions live. Post your question before and during the broadcast.

@sheim

For those who have flown for your septal myectomy, how did you manage your luggage? My concern is the trip home. Did you take only carry on, did your spouse have trouble handling both your luggage…were you able to pull your bag or can one do NOTHING where handling things like bags? Also, even tho it's too late now, was it a mistake to fly in and out of Rochester from Minn ..I just found out how little that plane (jet??) really is.

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My husband had septal myectomy last October at Rochester. We live in San Diego, we flew into Minneapolis and the small plane was fine. The shuttle service to and from Rochester was great and inexpensive, I checked the bags, there is a wheelchair service at the front of the terminal if you need it. The journey home was fine but really tiring

For those who have flown for your septal myectomy, how did you manage your luggage? My concern is the trip home. Did you take only carry on, did your spouse have trouble handling both your luggage…were you able to pull your bag or can one do NOTHING where handling things like bags? Also, even tho it's too late now, was it a mistake to fly in and out of Rochester from Minn ..I just found out how little that plane (jet??) really is.

Hi @sheim,

I moved your message to this existing discussion as I thought it would be beneficial for you to connect with a few members who’ve also discussed traveling by air for surgery or medical needs.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

I’d also like to invite @jtaylorl @ronitb and @markjones to join in with their insights as they’ve written about flying to Rochester, MN for HCM surgery.

Liked by sheim

@sheim

For those who have flown for your septal myectomy, how did you manage your luggage? My concern is the trip home. Did you take only carry on, did your spouse have trouble handling both your luggage…were you able to pull your bag or can one do NOTHING where handling things like bags? Also, even tho it's too late now, was it a mistake to fly in and out of Rochester from Minn ..I just found out how little that plane (jet??) really is.

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Hi Sheim, there are several resources available that you can use to help you navigate the challenges you have just described, especially luggage handling. If you get a chance call 507-568-8438 and speak with one of the Mayo Clinic Concierge. They will give you some valuable insight on how to go about it. You can also get assistance at the airport, both Rochester and Minneapolis airports have employees who can help you with luggage even disembarking the plan fi need be. You can make a request for help upon arrival at the airport or when you make your flight reservations.

@lmindela

Hi Sheim, there are several resources available that you can use to help you navigate the challenges you have just described, especially luggage handling. If you get a chance call 507-568-8438 and speak with one of the Mayo Clinic Concierge. They will give you some valuable insight on how to go about it. You can also get assistance at the airport, both Rochester and Minneapolis airports have employees who can help you with luggage even disembarking the plan fi need be. You can make a request for help upon arrival at the airport or when you make your flight reservations.

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My apology, I mistyped the phone number for Mayo Clinic Concierge Services; it's 507-538-8438

I flew round trip from my local small airport to Minneapolis (connections in Atlanta) a few weeks ago. I only fly Delta so I can only speak of my experience with them. I booked my tickets online and then called their disability assistance line. I told them that I had mobility issues and that I would need wheelchair service from the time I arrived at the airport until I got to my rental car. I told them I had someone flying with me to help me on the plane and to drive, but that she couldn’t handle my luggage and hers. They said no problem and meant it. There was some one waiting to help me get in the airport, through security, to my plane seat and waiting with a wheelchair for connections. They took care of my carry on and everything. Everyone was super nice and I didn’t have a single problem. I would suggest not waiting until you arrive at the airport to book wheelchair services. It just speeds everything up to have it noted on your booking in advance of your arrival. I also highly recommend signing up for TSA-precheck. It makes the airport experience easier to handle for those with mobility and disabilities (keep shoes on!).

@tnraemae

I flew round trip from my local small airport to Minneapolis (connections in Atlanta) a few weeks ago. I only fly Delta so I can only speak of my experience with them. I booked my tickets online and then called their disability assistance line. I told them that I had mobility issues and that I would need wheelchair service from the time I arrived at the airport until I got to my rental car. I told them I had someone flying with me to help me on the plane and to drive, but that she couldn’t handle my luggage and hers. They said no problem and meant it. There was some one waiting to help me get in the airport, through security, to my plane seat and waiting with a wheelchair for connections. They took care of my carry on and everything. Everyone was super nice and I didn’t have a single problem. I would suggest not waiting until you arrive at the airport to book wheelchair services. It just speeds everything up to have it noted on your booking in advance of your arrival. I also highly recommend signing up for TSA-precheck. It makes the airport experience easier to handle for those with mobility and disabilities (keep shoes on!).

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It's good to know Delta is so helpful. We are flying Delta and when I booked my flight I also got the wheelchair for the return. Knowing they will also help with the carry on is GREAT to know. We will travel as light as possible for for 2 weeks we both will need carry on and personal bag (backpack). TSA precheck would be nice but not for $85 each. Maybe if we flew a lot TSA does have someone that will help us through but it sounds like it depends how busy the airport is.

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