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Travelling abroad with a wheelchair

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi Everyone,

Hope your all well

I recently went on holiday to Portugal with my family, I'm going to be talking about how we got on in Portugal.

We flew from London Gatwick to Portugal Faro with TUI using a Norwegian airlines plane. We drove to Gatwick and parked it in the carpark while we were away. I have no way of getting out of my chair other than my Mum lifting me so we got upgraded to seats at the front of the plane. This was easy to arrange as my Mum just had to phone the airline and they upgraded us for free. They also upgraded our bag allowance so all my feed milk could go in the hold and that I could have all my machines as hand luggage in case I needed them while in the air. When we flew out to Portugal we had an early flight so had to leave during the night. At Gatwick we got on the plane first so they had time to put my chair in the hold before everyone else got on. I drove up to the plane door then Mum lifted me into my seat. We were not at the front but we were just behind in the second row, me, my Mum and younger Step Sister Ellis got to sit there but my Step Dad and older Step Sister Kacey had to sit further back. They then drove my chair down to the hold where they had to lift my wheelchair onto the conveyor belt it took about 5 people and it was a bit scary watching in case they dropped it, because my chair is tall they had to take it apart for it too be able to fit through the door to get on the hold. I slept for most of the flight so it went quite quickly. When we arrived in Portugal we had to wait for everyone to get off the plane before they could bring my chair up, they bought it up in a lift where all the disabled people went to be transported to the airport. Once we got through the security etc. we went to collect our loaned WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle) which was the same as our car at home that my Step Dad had found to make it easier for us to get around. Our villa was mainly wheelchair accessible except for stairs to get upstairs but my room was downstairs so it didn’t matter. The villa had a really nice view which overlooked some fields. It had a private swimming pool but I got burnt a few days in so didn’t want to get in after the first couple of days, but when I did get in I had a float. This meant I could go in without having to be held, but my Step Dad and Mum did hold me sometimes so I had more movement. There was plenty of disabled parking around Portugal so it was easy to get around. They also look after the disabled very well. The only bad thing is that the paths are very bumpy but it’s not a massive problem. While we was out there I got my first tattoo done which is a Star in memory of my Great Grandad, I had it on my wrist there is a picture down below. When we went home we flew from Faro to Gatwick, Faro was accessible for wheelchairs and they had separate paths for us so we didn’t have to queue and wait for ages. They let my family come through with us too so they could help with my machines and other equipment and also so we didn’t have to be separated. Faro did it differently to Gatwick as we were the last to get on, my Step Dad and Step Sister had to get on before us then all the disabled people get a separate bus to the plane to get on they nearly went without us because they thought everyone was on the plane. Once everyone was on we had to wait for all the wheelchairs to be put in the hold before we could leave they also had to lift them only the conveyor belts it was harder for them as they didn’t really understand what to do, so it took a while. I feel that the way Gatwick load their disabled passengers first is good so we don't hold the plane up waiting for them to put the wheelchairs in. Once we got back to England we had to wait a while for them to get my chair off before we went back to the airport because they wanted me to sit on a really thin chair which isn’t possible so we had to wait about 30-45 minutes for them to do it. Once we got out the rest of my family had already collected the bags so we just went to collect our car and went home.

I tried to add some videos to this but it wouldn't let me so I will post them on my 'Ellie's Blog' Facebook page. - where we hired the car from.

If you have any questions feel free to message me to ask.

Thank you for reading

Ellie X

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