&#39Disabled&#39 travel and holiday insurance

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    Reposted by PainSupport Admin with more relevant topic title

    Di – Lancashire 09/08/2006
    After a horrible week’s holiday in Whitby where I couldn’t do a thing because of being on a mobility scooter.(OK it’s not the best place to choose because of the hills) I decided to bite the bullet and take my son to Norway before he goes off to University.. OK maybe I’m an idiot expecting to be able to do this in a wheelchair or scooter but he sure won’t want to go away with mum again once he becomes inderpendent.
    I decided on Bergen and the Fjords. First the plane company refused to take my scooter which is the smallest there is, so I tried the ferry. They wanted an extra £160 for a disabled cabin. Are they allowed to charge extra just so you can have the privelege of being disabled? Then most of the hotels I rang in Bergen, even those on flat ground near the sea, had steps up into the building and no ramps. So I changed ideas and looked at Oslo. The airline (Ryanair) will happily take my scooter and give me all te help I need, even offering a hydraulic lift up into the plane if I need it. BUT the coach transfer company from airport to Oslo had no disabled information on the website. I phoned them and was told I could just about take my scooter BUT only if my son could lift it onto the coach. Totally against Norwegian government legislation. I then discovered that although the trains have lovely special coached for wheelchair users, you can’t get them on most buses or trams or ferries.
    Does anyone know if there’s such a thing as a guide to travelling abroad in a wheelchair? Or for this country for that matter? Also does anyone have any idea about rules for taking class one pain medication through customs? I’ve asked my GP who has written a letter of authorisation for me but even he didn’t know the rules. If you hear of an Englishwoman being arrested for drug trafficking in Norway, it’s me LOL.
    Also has anyone any experience of having had to seek medical treatment while on holiday abroad?
    ady_mills@yahoo.co.u – norwich 07/08/2006
    Email : ady_mills@yahoo.co.uk

    Dear Di,

    Even though I am going through a personal chrisis of my own, there is nothing better than the feeling of helping someone else out.

    There is a site called “Youreable.com” which helps people. Not only does it help people out with with these sort of tavel issues from the UK to abroad but it also deals with other subjects as benefits etc.

    Good luck and I hope that you are able to find all that you need.

    Shelll – SE England 08/08/2006

    Hi Di,
    Sorry to hear you’re having such a bad time getting this organised. I got a link of a UK site that includes overseas queries, it might help – http://www.holidaycare.org.uk/

    I’ve often wondered about the meds bit too. Who knows what the future holds, so I too have an official headed letter from my gp, stamped, signed and dated, with my meds listed in it, and why I take them. I’d also take up to date boxes with chemist’s print outs, and book any trip through a travel agent. No doubt this would unfortunately mean possibly paying a bit of a sum for travelling insurance as you’d probably have to spill about what your condition is, which would be pigeon holed to certain prices…

    I was also told once, if ever I wanted to go to the USA, I should contact their embassy in this country, and they might be able to advise this end, before making any bookings.

    I hope some of this helps in some way, but most importantly, don’t give up

    Josette – U.K. 08/08/2006

    Email : JosetteMo@aol.com
    Dear Di,
    If you are thinking of changing your holiday destination I would suggest Amsterdam.
    Your son will love it and it is totally flat. I think Ryan air flies there (to Schipol airport – which has extensive disabled facilities and assistance). The train from Schipol has disabled access and when you get to Amsterdam you can “scoot” everywhere. If you go on a “package” and can afford a top class hotel (rooms are incredibly cheap compared to here) you may get a chauffer driven car to collect you from the airport and return you there afterwards. The cars are huge posh ones with loads of space for a scooter, or you could request a people carrier that has room for your scooter. I think I travelled with Amsterdam Travel once and with Travelscene once – however I think Travelscene no longer exist) and got a 5* hotel (once The Grand and once The Americane) they were as cheap as a


    Thank you so much for the website links. Hope you are feeling better.
    It’s something I hadn’t thought about, but,
    Youreable.com has over a dozen reports from travellers of having their wheelchairs or scooters damaged on planes by rough handling; bent frames, lost wheels, not just lost cushions and such. It set me searching for insurance which would replace it there and then because there’s no way I could even lave the hotel if it got damaged. Horror- it’s NOT covered on my household insurance and it’s not covered by the NHS. I am now searching for insurance for both my scooter and wheelchair (see post on scooter insurance).


    Here are two insurance companies (not underwritten by my employer) that also do travel insurance for disabled people:
    Freespirit – http://www.free-spirit.com – 08452 601 590 quote “ATF1001”
    Travelbility – http://www.travelbility.co.uk 01992 566 924 quote “TIF”

    If we are unable to cover a risk we give out their numbers, and they do the same in return, even though we are competitors. The reason that we operate like this is because we all use differing underwriting criteria, so all of the companies will cover some cases that none of the others will, and since none of us likes to leave anyone without cover we give out competitors’ details so as to help as much as possible.

    So if you get rejected by a couple of the companies that I’ve listed in this posting and previously DON’T despair, you may well get covered by one of the others.


    The second website link doesn’t work.


    Dear Di,
    I don’t know if anyone has suggested this before, but have you looked at: http://www.dialuk.info/, they were recommended to me by Arthritis Care.


    Di, I do not know about insurance, but in response to places to travel w/ your scooter, in the U.S. we have the American’s w/ Disabilities Act (ADA). It is not perfect (I just added a topic of my own and mentioned job hunting in walking shoes and the ADA, but the laws re travel are followed, and I don’t think that a, e.g., hotel that is following the law is going to tell you you don’t qualify because you are not American. If you ever decide you want to visit the US, please let me know. There is an ADA tech support line, and the people who answer the phones there know, I think from personal experience, everything there is to know about the law. I could get answers for you or find out if you can call yourself. I would have to get the number for you because the only number they use is a toll-free which would, most likely , not work from another country.

    It sounds as if you’ve been thru h e double hockey sticks as Radar used to say on MASH.I Don’t know about this, for foreigners, but many places in this country are required to have handicapped accessible ‘set asides’. When I made a hotel reservation for my son’s wedding, I asked if they had a discounty for those w/ disabilities. They didn’t. And to my surprise when I arrived I had been put into a handicapped equipped room. I had a lovely (NOT) discussion (NOT THAT EITHER) w/ the desk clerk because I had requested a smoking room, and none of the handicapped rooms – which I don’t need, at least not yet – allowed smoking AND all smoking rooms elsewhere in the hotel were booked. I had been traveling a good bit of the day and then speding the evening w/ an incredible bunch of loud bigotted group of people (the family my son married into) not to mention that I’d had bi-lateral foor surgery five weeks earlier and could travel only by being totally zonked on pain killers. So by about midnight when I finally got a ride to the hotel, believe me, I was NOT in the mood for talking, never mind arguments. LOL

    I have to take an hour’s train trip to my dentist (also in my earlier posting) and train fare is half price + there’s a $5 penalty for not having your ticket when you board the train – but it doesn’t apply to those w/ disabilities.

    Re prescription drugs: just today, because of all the reporting on travel after the terrorist threat, I saw a report on travel w/ prescription drugs – and it sounded just like the advice I was given years ago. Make sure all meds are in their original bottles w/ their proper labels on them; i always carry a note from my doc saying I need narcotic drugs on a permanent basis because of chronic pain syndrome, and then he lists the narcotics. If I was traveling at this moment in time I’d ask for another note listing the drugs of lesser importance also.

    When I was nine my mother and I were visiting her sister in Boston. When my mother (a legal junkie) traveled, she dumped all of her meds into one bottle. During this trip, a cousin a bit younger than I asked my mom if she (the kid) could have some M$M’s, too. I think my mon separted her drugs after that, but not necessarily in the bottles they came in. There were too many to take in her purse, and she didn’t want to put meds in shipped thru luggage. I always remember these things whem I travel and as a result always put things in their real bottles.

    Most public buildings in the US are handicapped accessible, tho some opinions of accessible leave a lot to be desired. However, the law says if someplace that is required to be accessible HAS to find a way to make things accessible: e.g., they’d have to lift the scooter for you.

    In MAssachussets they’ve gone TOO far in my opinion. Any restaurant – including little neighborhood joints w/ ONE TABLE and everybody else stands around talking – that has ANY seating is required to have accessible rest rooms. So many little neighborhood ‘mom and pop’ diners had to go out of business because they not only couldn’t afford to add the new rest rooms, but they didn’t have sufficient space to put in the accessible necessities.

    Anyway, if you want to come to the US (tho you might want to think that if you’re traveling very soon), or if you’d like the info for future info, please let me know and I’ll see what kind of info I can dig up for you. I’m pretty good at stuff like that; I used to do it for a living; and I do not mind at all. I often have a lot of time on my hands.I shall check the email slot and contact me w/ the specifics you want and I’ll dig them up for you.

    I hope you get to go SOMEWHERE!

    Good luck.


    p;s; I don’t usually sound quite as ditsy as this. We have had a VERY long hot spell, and I sometimes sleep for 16=20 hours a day. Having had a lot of appointments this week, today was one of those days, and I’m always


    Sylvis you are a star. I am hoping to go to the USA but not yet. 2008 is my goal for a special event. Who knows what it’s going to be like travelling by then!
    But I won’t want to take my scooter with me because of possible damage on the plane and during transfers so I will need to hire one over there. I hope they do the tiny ones that will fit in teh trunk of my friend’s car. I will be staying with friends most of the time but will have to share a hotel room with them for at least a week.
    Your diability laws sound a bit better than ours, particularly re travel. Travel doesn;t come under the DDA here until the end of this year but even then they are only required to make “reasonable” changes.
    Where I live, only one train company serves the area and they are diabolical. Three out of the four possible stations are totally inacessible; especially the ones that have discounted travel; you can’t book a seat so if you can’t stand and the two carriage train is full, you are stuffed and there isn’t even any assistance to get your wheelchair on board. I was steaming at the ferry company who said “Our only disabled cabin is booked but you can pay £160 extra for one that you can fit your wheelchair in!” That’s their get out. They do have ONE disabled cabin but if it’s full, they can legally charge as much as they like for a bigger cabin.
    Finally I have my insurance sorted, my wheelchair covered and everything booked. Now all I have to do is pray the security will let me stay in my own chair because using an airport chair will definitely make my condition and pain level worse. I also have to work out how I can take my liquid narcotic pain relief without it getting broken in my suitcase. I’m allowed one labelled bottle on board only. (yes I got the doctor’s letter and list of medications|). It really does make you feel you shoudln’t be even trying to go away.


    Hi Di, which web-site link are you having trouble with? I’ve just tried all 5 that I’ve put up and they all work for me. If you have a problem try doing a google search on the main part and then selecting the appropriate web site.


    Di, have you ever been to Scarborough, save the hassle !!!! (joking) I hope you get everything sorted and you have a great time.

    Best wishes XXXXX


    The websites are working now. When I tried travelbility yesterday all I got was a site index.

    Katie Marie

    Sylvia – I know this is a bit off topic but you mentioned an online grocery that delivers – does it deliver to there in just your area? Can you send me the name of it? None of the grocery stores in my area of the US deliver – insurance is too high they say – and I haven’t been able to find an online that does deliver. Thanks.

    Jan Sadler

    Katie Marie, I suggest you contact Sylvia using her email as I don’t think she visits the website very often.



    Just a quick update. I got my insurance sorted through Sainsburys, cover for everything except one thing for which I’m waiting to see a specialist. It also covers my wheelchair.
    I got a doctor’s letter about the medication along with labelled bottles from the chemist.
    Now all I have to do is pray that the new security measures won’t take my liquid oxycodone off me and that they don’t wreck my wheelchair. A friend just came back from his 30th trip to the USA with his wife in a wheelchair and it’s never been damaged.


    I ;am going to France in September, despite all the chaos at Heathrow and British Airways. After I had booked the flight through Airmiles who were very helpful, and mentioned I would need wheelchair assistance, I had a problem with the insurance they offered. They said it would be £42 but when I made the necessary description of various problems I have, they wanted to add £122 plus to the £42. I think the complication of having had a double coronary bypass a year ago was what sent this sky high. I was amazed, and after getting quot from Saga for about £80 I cancelled the one offered by airmiles… So far that is the cheapest I have found. Once you have had a double coronary bypass you are in a much fitter state than you were before and very unlikely to have more problems on a two week holiday… I also have late onset diabetes, controlled low thyroid, gout and cholesterol. I am expecting problems about the drugs at the airport as I must take a two weeks supply in my hand luggage, as I had a very bad experience of losing my luggage on a flight via Paris to the same area a few years ago, and all my drugs were in the suitc ase ! I have just heard on the radio that a wheelchair was lost between Nice and Luton !!!! I hope the guy had travel insurance, and wonder how he managed ?


    Go onto sainsburys website and click the link for insurance. It will give you the phone number and they will give you a quote over the phone. I just rang them back with a medical problem I had forgotten; vitreous detachment. They couldn;t even find it in their list so they just added it and said I would be covered. They were much cheaper than Saga.
    I too am going to insist on taking all my painkiller in hand luggae just in case. I do have a list of all medication with dosages so I could get some from a doctor over there but I’d rather not waste the time when I’m only there for 6 days.
    As to the wheelchair loss. Did you hear the news tonight that BA have already lost 5000 cases since this scare started. A friend’s wife’s chair got damaged when they flew to Chicago but the airline accepted responsibility, hired a far better one while they got the original mended. Put them up in the Hilton with free lunch while it was sorted and on their return, upgraded them to business class! Not bad. I can;t see Ryanair doing that! However if the airline loses or damages a wheelchair, it is their responsibility to get it mended, provide an alternative or a replacement.

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