Heed advice from a recent air traveler



Planning to fly to a far-off destination with your wife and/or child? Prepare and clear your mind for impending searches and chaos at airports.

Pack only the most necessary items to be used at your destination, including gifts to be checked in your roller bag. A small carry-on bag should have two transparent plastic containers -- one with your clearly marked medicines, and one with toothpaste, shaving utensils, etc. -- identifiable without having to open.

At Atlanta's airport: Check your bags at curbside. If one of you is disabled, be sure you reserve a wheelchair at this point. Tell the attendant, as we did, your airline and destination. The attendant with my wife in the wheelchair started walking and weaving thought the crowds, with me following close behind. Don't lose contact, because they know how to get where you are going -- train and all. The attendant will weave you ahead to security.

Close your mind now. Put your belongings in a box -- your wallet, watch, pen, etc. -- with your shoes in another box. I prefer the body scanner to this insulting pat-down. Be sure to grab your belongings and get back with your wheelchair attendant -- a nice person who will be worth a fat tip by the time he or she gets you to the departure gate, because he or she has saved you frustration, aggravation and a ton of headaches. Also, a good idea is to identify your bag with little red or pink ribbons.

Flying out of Atlanta's airport was a bearable experience.

Returning from London's Gatwick Airport: This was much more frustrating and disorganized. Be sure to have reserved your disability assistance when confirming your return flight or standby. You don't even have to prove that you have a disability. But the center that distributes wheelchairs or electric golf cars was undependable, and then going through security was chaotic.

It was very annoying, with security personnel and other military around. You had to keep a sharp eye on your belongings coming through the body scanner and while putting your shoes back on. If you have any metallic objects in your body from surgery, make sure to take a certificate from your doctor with you.

Common sense such as profiling is not used by our governments.

The flight itself was fine, and Delta Airlines was friendly and gracious.

S.G. von Schweinitz




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