Miracle Flights issues holiday travel tips for families with medical needs

Miracle Flights has announced it has issued advice to help alleviate needs created by traveling with special medical needs, the company said.

A medical flight charity, Miracle Flights provides more than 600 free commercial flights each month to help families reach specialized medical care far from home.The best booking practices can apply to anyone with a special medical need.

-Aim for direct flights–especially with wheelchairs. If a layover is unavoidable, allow at least an hour between flights, or look for a one-stop flight with no plane change.
-Give the airline a heads up. Let the airline at booking if traveling with a special medical condition, equipment or service animal.
-Airlines will allow passengers with food allergies to pre-board to allow for wiping down seats and tray tables.
-Wheelchairs: Advise the airline the chair is collapsible or motorized. If motorized, provide the chair´s dimensions, what kind of batteries it uses (wet or dry cell) and how many.
-Provide the airline with the brand name of any portable oxygen, rate of flow, and how it´s administered. Plan to bring a doctor´s note with you when you board.
-It is not necessary to buy a second seat for a service animal, but airlines do require documentation to confirm training, shots and medical necessity. Check the airline´s website to make sure you´ve got your bases covered.
-Feeding pumps, monitors and other medical equipment require an official doctor´s note handy as a safeguard.
-Arrive three hours early. During the holidays–especially during the peak daytime hours–allow an extra cushion of time to get to the gate. If possible, try to travel at off-peak hours–after 6 p.m. or on a red eye–to avoid crowds and save money.
-Avoid setting off security alarms. Let TSA agents know if you have any surgical implants, and say something before you put your bag on the belt if it contains liquid medicines, needles or other objects that may set off alarms.
-Be prepared for delays. Unpredictable winter weather can mean flight delays or even cancellations. Pack at least two days´ worth of medications in your carry-on, just in case.
-Ask for help when needed.

Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. The organization, founded in 1985, has provided 129,037 flights and currently books more than 600 flights per month.