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Airport Assistance for Seniors

Written by OurParents Staff
 about the author
3 minute readLast updated April 20, 2023

Navigating an airport can be frustrating at any age, but it can become a huge hurdle for seniors. Fortunately, help is available. All you have to do is plan ahead and ask.

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Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Escort your loved one

Seniors and individuals with disabilities can be accompanied to their gate, or met at the gate of their destination, by an assistant, family member, or friend, even if the helper does not have a ticket. They just have to show their ID to obtain an airport gate pass (also called a non-passenger escort pass) at the ticket counter. That way you can be sure that Mom gets on her flight to visit your sibling. This is limited to just one person, so don’t expect the family to be allowed to see her off.
You may be able to contact the airline to arrange this ahead of time. There are even companies that provide this service, from helping check baggage at the curb and getting a loved one to their gate, all the way to taking the flight with them and helping along the way – for a fee. Professional in-home caregivers can even accompany an aging loved one on trips.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Breeze through the security line

Persons aged 75 and older can go through security checkpoints without removing shoes or jackets and may have a special line. If your loved one uses oxygen, check with their airline. Some airlines require a document signed by a doctor to allow it to be brought onboard.
Be sure that liquid medicines are kept separate from toiletries. More than 3.4 ounces of medically necessary liquids, medications, and creams may be permitted, but know that it will be screened separately.
Contact the Transportation Security Administration if you have questions about passing through security. Fliers with special needs can ask to have an airport contact meet them at the airport when they fly.

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Take advantage of mobility assistance

Don’t hesitate to ask for a wheelchair for your loved one. They may not need one every day, but if they have to connect with another plane in a giant airport, wheelchair assistance could come in handy. This makes it their responsibility to get your loved one to their gate on time. Let them know if your loved one is able to walk onto the plane by themselves. If they can’t, then this requires another level of assistance. Don’t forget to ask for a wheelchair at the destination and at any airports in between where they have to change planes.
Alternatively, if your loved one doesn’t want to ride in a wheelchair, ask about arranging a ride in an electric cart. They are cruising around almost every airport, but it’s best to reserve a ride in advance when booking. Calling at least 48 hours before the flight to confirm the arrangements is recommended as well.
A senior’s companion gets to ride along on the electric cart, even if they aren’t disabled. They get early boarding, too, for those who need extra time to get on the plane. Trains also allow early boarding. Even hotels sometimes have wheelchairs available to help guests to their rooms. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of these policies and services that can help simplify traveling with an aging parent.


Meet the Author
OurParents Staff

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom (of which OurParents is a trademark) and the reader.  Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site.  Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.