According to one flight attendant, elderly travelers most often forget this thing when they travel and it can have serious consequences. It’s so obvious, too, and easy to fix!
According to Miguel Muñoz, a flight attendant for over 10 years, elderly travelers often forget several things when they travel, but one item in particular sticks out to him.
In tips shared with the Express, a UK new source, Muñoz, describes a scenario he’s seen all too often: a senior passenger boarding the flight late in the process and thus not having room to stow their luggage in an overhead bin. As a consequence, the passenger then has to gate-check their bag which contains their ID (e.g. passport or driver’s license).
“We always tell them if they have important documents, passport, medication, or lithium batteries, to take them out and keep these with them in the cabin,” Muñoz says, “People always forget something.”
It seems that in particular, passports and medicine are most often forgotten in this scenario leading to a potentially complicated situation on the other end – especially if the flight is international and the bag you gate-checked is going through to baggage claim now. Or worse, the passenger needs their medicine mid-flight or during a stopover but can’t get the medicine because the bag has now been checked.
Muñoz and his crew have started to offer passengers facing this situation a plastic bag to stow any personal items they may want to keep with them, along with reminding the passengers multiple times.
In fact, passengers of any age would do well to keep their critical items like ID and medicine in a single, easy-to-remove bag inside of their luggage. A simple Ziploc baggie will work, or travelers can buy more exotic purpose-built bags from any major retailer.
Muñoz also reminds his elderly travelers to grab a jacket as planes are known to get cold. The tips this flight attendant has shared equally apply to travelers of any age: If you have to gate check your bag, make sure you grab your ID, medicine, lithium batteries and something to keep yourself warm.
Better yet, try not to find yourself in a situation where you need to gate-check a bag. This could mean paying extra for a ticket that gives you priority boarding or earning status on the airline through credit card offers (or frequent travel). Or simply checking most of the luggage you are traveling with except for a small personal item that you could always stick under the seat in front of you…and then be sure to keep your ID and meds in that small item.
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