Summertime Air Travel Tips for Cancer Patients!

Cancer patients may have special needs when traveling through busy airports, especially during the busy summer travel season!

Whether you are recuperating from recent surgery, or are lacking the marathon strength stamina often required for current air travel, you and your caregiver (spouse/family member) may consider the following options for flying comfortably and safely this season!

1. Read the TSA guidelines for disabled passengers as posted on

2. Request "curbside" wheelchair service when you make your plane reservation. The airlines do not charge extra for “curb to gate” wheelchair service.

3. When your cab/car service drops you off at the terminal curb, a porter will bring a wheelchair for you to the curb for you.

4. The porter will take you, in the wheelchair, with spouse/friend accompanying you as your caregiver, directly to Security (the porter will push the wheelchair.)

5. You and caregiver will receive expedited screening at the security station.

6. Via priority check in with the wheelchair, you won't have to wait in line for security check in; you'll get to the head of the line with the wheelchair porter.

Expedited security screening may require taking you aside to a private area for a pat down or bringing you straight through "regular" Security where you may also receive the pat down, in front of the public and be scanned.

Advise the TSA attendant if you have an Ostomy, prosthetic, feeding tube or any other medical apparatus.

Be prepared to show all carry ons, including those for medical supplies to the security agent.

You may also consider bringing a letter or note (written on a prescription letterhead) from your physician to confirm your need for particular apparatus.

7. Following security screening, the wheelchair porter will take you directly to the final check in for your plane (and will take you make "pit stops" at the food court or restroom along, if need.)

8. The wheelchair porter will leave you and your chair at the final check in. It is appropriate at this time to tip the wheelchair porter who has been so helpful during the check in procedure (and who is earning minimum wage!)

9. The airline staff will take you, in the wheelchair, with your caregiver accompanying you, into priorityboarding, regardless of which class of ticket you are holding.

10. When you arrive at your destination, another wheelchair porter will meet you, take you to baggage pick up and finally take you to the curb where, where your family or cab can retrieve you.

Anyone reading these steps can follow them whenever you or a loved one is flying with a temporary (e.g. recuperating from surgery) or permanent disability!

For more travel resources for cancer patients, visit the TRANSPORTATION page




Articles posted in PMP Pals and on are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. Individual should seek counsel from licensed professionals regarding their specific needs. Copyright © 2012 by PMP Pals' Network/All rights reserved. Visit us on the web at