Like shopping malls, airports come with open spaces, corridors, noise, queues and generally lots of people. Then there are baggage check-in, security checks and x-ray machines. Curiously I have never been queried about travelling with a walking stick as carry-on. Flying back from Alice Springs once I was not allowed to take a bamboo didgeridoo souvenir on board as it could be used as a ‘weapon’ – it went in the hold and arrived on the carousel with a split in the side. However, when flying with ‘Nemo’, my solid, carved walking cane that would inflict more damage than a baseball bat, I wasn’t questioned. The attendants even stowed and retrieved it from the overhead lockers.
A couple of tips:
Firstly, allow plenty of time, both to get to the airport and to check-in and get through security. You don’t need the stress and there’s always a bar or coffee shop to occupy your time.
Secondly, don’t request an exit row seat for the extra leg room. They are there for people who can assist other passengers in the event of an emergency.
Instead, request an aisle seat at rear of the plane – don’t be shy to say you have MS and a bladder condition – they will be more than on your side! Then you get to board first, get off last (or first at some airports like Port Vila), you are first fed and watered BUT most importantly you are close to the toilets! This is a ‘just in case’ thing for me at this stage (I can usually do a four-hour flight without a bathroom break), but it relieves the stress of wondering how quick you can get there if there is a case of ‘urgency’. I can’t think of a worse situation than busting with limited sphincter control, hanging in the aisle off Row 14 and staring down the rear end of a bathroom queue located the other side of the drinks trolley.
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