Traveling by air can be a challenge! It is unpredictable and stressful if you are not able to keep up with sudden flight updates, changes, and delays. While there are visual cues, flying can still become a challenging experience if you are unable to understand the announcements in the airport. Below, I have outlined some tips on how to maximize your traveling experience.
Booking your flights
If you are traveling alone, it is a good idea to inform your travel airline that you may require accommodations. When booking your ticket, you can indicate the type of hearing loss you have and include accommodations you will require. This information will be part of the passenger manifest (document) and the airline will work to provide for your needs to make your journey smoother. This may include priority seating near the front of the airplane for easier visual access to flight attendants, such as speech reading. In addition, the flight attendants will know how to communicate with you in the event of an emergency. If you are unsure how to disclose your hearing loss, check out this pamphlet with information and tips on how to do so here.
Another handy tip when booking is to sign up for text or email alerts about the flight you are on. This ensures that you are receiving the most up to date information and are not relying on the airport monitors, which may lag, for updates.
When going through security checks, leave your cochlear implants and hearing aids in place. Your devices do not need to be taken off during this process.
When you arrive at the gate, go to the gate agent and introduce yourself. Ask the agent if they can approach you when they are ready to board. Depending on the airline, pre-boarding may occur before or after the first class passengers have boarded.
Pre-boarding ensures that you make it onto the aircraft safely, and lets the attendants know to provide you with safety briefing in a quiet, one-on-one setting. You also are guaranteed space in the overhead compartments!
The Safety Briefing is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about the flight and make any requests to the flight attendant. Requests that can be made include:
- Please tell me when safety announcements are made
- Please tell me if the plane will be arriving late
- Please let me know if turbulence is forecasted
- Can someone accompany me to my next gate?
- I communicate in writing and I can lip read.
- Please write down announcements and bring them to me.
- Please let me know when it is safe to use electronic equipment.
Typically, airlines have their safety information in writing as well. However, do not hesitate to ask the flight attendants if you have questions or require additional accommodations.
Make sure you have provided the attendant with your requests prior to taking off. The flight attendant should tell you when it is appropriate to use electronics, or if there has been a gate change, if turbulence is forecasted, and any other important information.
The Induction Loop symbol below is an important image to watch out for when traveling. The loop indicates that the airplane is transmitting signals that can be picked up by a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. Keep an eye out for it on your next trip!
It is important to advocate for yourself when flying to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable when traveling. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance when flying. Flight attendants are there to help and support you so you can arrive at your destination safely.
What other tips have you used when flying? Comment on the Forums page!