Travel SOS: travelling with limited mobility

Bill wants some advice on how and where to travel with limited mobility.

Travelling with limited mobility

Bill has limited mobility but that doesn’t prevent him from wanting to travel. In Travel SOS, he’s asked Leon for some tips on how and where he can tour with his walking frame.

Q. Bill
My knees are now shot and I have to use a walking frame to get around. I still want to travel with my wife, who also uses a walking stick. Do you know if there are any tour companies that specialise in trips for people with limited mobility? And how do I go about getting my walking frame on a plane?

A. It’s great that you’re not letting limited mobility stop you from getting about. Most airlines are usually quite accommodating with passengers who have limited mobility. As you can imagine, each airline has its own rules and guidelines. I suggest you figure out the airline with whom you’re flying, then google its mobility assistance guidelines.

For instance, Qantas will allow collapsible walking frames in the plane’s cabin, but not non-collapsible frames. It will also allow your wife to use her walking stick until she’s onboard, then it will need to be stowed until she lands. I’m unsure as to what happens if you need to move about the plane during a flight, but the disability laws should ensure that you’ll have the access you require onboard. Again, I suggest you contact the airline to find out exactly how you’ll be treated. Also, CHOICE has a great resource for knowing your rights to accessible tourism.

Here are a few places to start:

Airlines will also require you to contact them beforehand to book in any special assistance you may require.

As far as where to go, well, that’s up to you!

However, there are a few organisations that specialise in assisted travel. This can range from people with disabilities to people with limited mobility. A couple that come to mind are:


And most city tourism websites will show you all the places you can visit. NYCGO is a great resource, as is Visit London and Accessible NZ. Check wherever you’re going and google ‘accessible Paris’ or ‘accessible Singapore’ and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

I hope that helps. Happy trails, Bill!

Do you have any advice for Bill? If you have limited mobility, can you help Bill with some travel ideas?



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    19th Aug 2017
    Do make sure you book Special Assistance for flights. This has made travel for me possible. Brilliant. I found that in Europe, in particular, people would go out of their way to help. Same in New Zealand but Australia and USA not so much. Book for both of you too
    19th Aug 2017
    I've travelled from Victoria to WA and back and then another trip from Victoria to Queensland and back, I use a walking frame and there is no problem with booking travel PROVIDED you let the airline know ahead of time that you have special needs. On each trip I could use my frame right up to actually getting on the plane (on the last trip a group of people all requiring special assistance was lifted to the plane on a mobile lift, but that was at a regional airport) and then our frames etc were loaded into the cargo bay. Usually people with disabilities are allowed on the planes before others, then disembarked after others, if the plane is not continuing to another airport. As the staff on the plane will know that you have special needs, they will assist you to get to the toilets etc during the flight, just press the call button on your seat, but try not to do it during meal service times on longer flights, it gets a bit squishy then!
    Make sure that your needs are recorded at the time of booking and the rest of your trip should go unhindered. Your walking aid will be ready for you when you leave the plane.
    19th Aug 2017
    Just try getting through security. I have watched "Granny" going through every check they have. The poor old dear can scarcely stand but she is probably a mule with a convertible walker that James Bond would be proud of.
    On the left hollow cylinder stuffed with heroin and on the right you push a bottom and it snaps into an AK47.
    Her nephew is leading her by the arm. He has a laptop. That's OK though. He is dressed in a business suit and no one suspect the laptop also has a dual purpose.... and the little baby with the bottle milk... we can't have that either!
    Good grief - poor airline staff. Why don't they travel on a train sometime and see what high risk is really all about.
    19th Aug 2017
    Yes Rosret recently I travelled from Victoria to Queensland, I was holding my water bottle (clear ) BUT no no no can't have that, water was tipped out bottle handed back to me and I was told I could re fill at a drinking fountain on the way to board my flight, Oh and by the way I am dissabled too
    Ageing but not getting old
    20th Aug 2017
    Similar to missmarple: I took my CPAP machine with me on my last flights/holiday to the US in 2014.I had a note from my doctor about needing the CPAP. I told them I routinely used distilled water with it as it is the recommended way to keep the machines clean (no mineral build up in the mechanical bits as well as the tubes/mask etc. On the way back, I'd taken photos of the 2 litre bottle of distilled water (which I couldn't carry on board), with the smaller (600ml) bottle I'd transferred the amount I needed for a modest sleep on board. WELL: I hardly think a 65 y.o. woman who needed to walk with a cane (and assistance in a wheelchair for the longer distances) was smuggling explosive water aboard, but they tried to prohibit it. I offered them to smell and/or taste it (which they declined) - I then offered to taste it in their presence, which they ALSO declined! It took a lot of persuasive conversation, but they finally allowed me to. What a production, just to use a bit of 'clean' water for my four hour sleep on a 14 hour flight!
    20th Aug 2017
    Princess Cruises is ideal for anyone with walking difficulties

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