Will Handicapped Travelers And Those With Children Be Allowed To Board First?

Will handicapped travelers and those with children be allowed to board first? If you are a handicapped traveler or are traveling with small children, you may wonder if the airline has measures in place to assist you in boarding your flight.

If you are a handicapped traveler or are traveling with small children, you may wonder if the airline has measures in place to assist you in boarding your flight.

"Yes, defiantly," says Milena Garita, Reservations Sales Representative with Continental Airlines. "The gate personnel will make an announcement before general boarding. They will always give preference to people needing assistance and people with small children."

If you require help in boarding your flight, it is imperative that you do everything you can to arrive early to the airport. You need to get processed and through security quickly so you are waiting at your gate as early as possible.

"Boarding is started thirty to forty-five minutes before take off, this will depend on the size of the airport," says Garita. "If you have a disability or if you have children, you should take that in to account as you decide when to leave for the airport. This is so everything will run more smoothly for everyone."

It is also helpful to arrive early if you require a wheelchair to get around. Depending on your mobility, there are several options for you.

"If it is someone who has a wheelchair but they are still mobile, they can go ahead and check the wheelchair with their luggage," says Garita.

Don't worry about an extra charge for this, though you should ask your particular airline in advance about their policy.

"If you check your wheelchair with your luggage, most airports will not count that against your luggage weight limits," explains Garita.

If you want to check your wheelchair, but still need one to get around, you can ask for assistance. It's important to think ahead in these situations.

"You can request the airline to loan you an wheelchair," says Garita. "It is best if you let them know you will be requiring one in advance."

"Another very important thing is, if they have checked their wheel chair with their luggage at the ticket counter, it will be treated as luggage and dispensed on the carousel," explains Garita.

This may cause a problem for you if you have very limited mobility. The luggage carousel is usually quite a distance from your gate.

"Remind your flight attendant you will need a wheelchair once the plane lands. A flight attendant call make sure one is waiting for you when you land," says Garita.

If you don't feel comfortable checking your wheelchair with your luggage, there is another option.

"You can keep it with you and gate check it," says Garita. "What that means is that you check it at the gate when you board the flight. They give you a tag for it, and you keep the stub so you can claim it when you get off the flight."

If you are completely dependent on your wheelchair to move, there is one last option.

"There is another type of wheelchair that will sit in the isle," explains Garita. "If you can't walk the length of the airplane to use the restroom, you should have one of these. Make sure you request an onboard wheelchair. These will not be on the plane unless they are requested, so be sure to do so in advance."

Not only will the airline allow you to board the flight early, they will do everything they can to assist you with your needs. Arrive early and let your airline know ahead of time so they are ready to assist you.

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