General Etiquette > general

Airlines and "Invisible" disabilities

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My daughter is on the autism spectrum so this is an issue close to my heart.

Were the airline attendants rude for not noticing the man's distress?  Or would the polite thing be for him to make arrangements in advance to seek whatever accommodations he needs, to avoid possible issues?

What is the polite way to cope with these disabilities that may not be evident at first glance?

I'm not really sure what the poster was looking for in those examples. Security and general policies dictate what they can and cannot do with luggage and missed connections. He missed his flight and had to stay overnight somewhere he was accustomed to which I understand is much more stressful to someone with autism, but how is the staff supposed to know he can't understand the standard directions unless he states what he's not understanding?

I think he should have made arrangements before he booked his flight. Airline staff are NOT mind readers. They can't be expected to spot someone with autism - could you imagine the trouble they could get into IDing the wrong person. He needs to be proactive. I realize that he has a communication problem - maybe a card explaining is difficulty communicating and how people can help him would work.

Also after years of traveling with my Dad, who never had a flight go off without a hitch, I can't imagine traveling with layovers and not having a back up plan of what to do when we get stranded in X.

(Seriously Dad would go over our flights and say Ok,  We have a 5 hour layover in Boston, when we get stranded, we will X, Y, Z. Actually making a connection was a pleasant surprise- but it meant our luggage probably got shipped back to Houston. )

I alert the airlines about my peanut allergy and that I'm carrying an epi (looks like a tube with "mystery" liquid in it when it is in its case). I'm glad I did Air Canada suggested that along with the Rx info on the case, I might want a note from my doctor on stationary explaining why I had to have it on the plane. That was a lifesaver when a TSA agent insisted I had to check it because there were no bees on planes.  ::)  Fortunately his supervisor had a little more common sense. 

Another time, after being rerouted, delayed, and having a full on massive airplane headache from the pressure changes I was given some forms to read to get a voucher for the hotel. I told the representative - I am dyslexic and have a massive headache I can't read these the letters are doing flip flops across the page. She laughed and read the information to me.

I think people are willing to help. The difference between being seen as a SS and getting help is honesty. Give me accommodation Sounds SS. I have x (condition/problem), can you help me by accommodation sounds reasonable.

Not just with staff. You know those monitors with gate information on them in the airports. Many have dark background with light letters - or at least I'm told they are letters they look like ants doing a marching band routine to me. I can't tell you how many times I've asked a fellow traveler, "Sorry but I'm dyslexic and can't read that screen because of the color contrast does it say were Air Canada flight XYZ is departing. I can tell you that every time I ask I get a polite response - and often a quick question about why colors are the problem.

There is a card you can download from the TSA, I believe, and present it whenever you need to let someone know of a disability, invisible or not. I've used it for an "invisible" disability and never had to say a word.

It is up to the traveler (or their caretaker) to inform the airline ahead of time if the person has any form of disability.  Airline workers see thousands of people a day and there is no way to just look and see autism, or peanut allergy, or cilliac...and they should not have to diagnose either.  Who's to say the person having the meltdown at the counter over a missed flight is a SS or mentally ill, or autistic.


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