Long haul travel

Q. Johan
My mother is 81 years old and wheelchair bound as her left leg was amputated some years ago. We are emigrating to Australia and want to take her with us. How will she handle a 10 hour flight and how will she manage to get to the toilets etc. There will be a person flying with her but is it possible for her to get on and off the toilets?

A. All airlines will offer assistance through airports, and for getting on and off flights, if booked in advance and many airlines will allow for a carer to travel with your mother, however, they will be solely responsible for her wellbeing, i.e. making sure she gets to the toilet, is comfortable during the flight, etc. Also, she will not be allowed to take her own mobility aid onboard, the airline will provide a cabin suitable aid.

Depending on the size of aircraft, there may be disabled toilets onboard, though she may have to cope with standard aircraft sized toilets.

With regards to how your mother will cope with the long flight, that really depends on how well she is physically, notwithstanding her disability. Long haul flights are tough on even the most able bodied and active passenger, so perhaps a discussion with her physician is required before you consider making the trip.

Before booking anything, you really need to contact the airline and explain your mother’s situation as you know best her abilities and the airline will be able to advise you accordingly. SAA require you to complete a medical questionnaire prior to travel so they can assess how best to cater for a passengers medical needs.
We hope that she is fit enough to make the journey and you all can get on and enjoy your new life in Australia.

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