This summer we travelled once again to Portugal for a week of sun, sand and sangria. On our 2 previous holidays, Mum and I filled our suitcases, not just with the necessary sun-cream, hats, swimwear and shorts, but also with a supply of M-friendly foods to get us through the week relatively unscathed. I’ve previously always taken a more relaxed stance to M’s diet whilst away from home as it’s a great deal harder to ensure that his diet is as strictly adhered to as it is at home and we have coped with the resulting consequences, accepting it as our decision.
However, we decided that this year had to be different. M’s struggles over the last few months with his health have been well-documented on my blog and the accompanying emotional frustrations and challenging behaviour meant that I felt we needed to endeavour to follow his diet as much as we humanly could. This, of course, meant that we needed to take a lot more M-friendly foods with us – free-from spread, rice milk, cereal, bread, rice cakes and snacks to name but a few.
This increased amount of food, plus all the additional medicines M is now taking – he has increased to 7 medicines daily compared to last year’s 4 and the previous year’s 0 – meant that I needed to find an alternative means of carrying it all as otherwise I’d be leaving some essential clothes behind.
Fortunately, a tip from the “Special Diets” thread on the Dibb website suggested that it might be possible to carry all of M’s medical supplies including the food, as additional hand or hold luggage at no additional cost. I immediately contacted our airline, Easyjet, to see what advice they could give me.
Frustratingly, it wasn’t as simple as phoning a helpline, but rather I had to go through the rather convoluted route of e-mailing their customer services and waiting for a reply. However, the small amount of effort required was well worth it as I received the following confirmation from them:
“Easyjet would like to advise you that if you need to travel with any kind of medication or medical equipment you can do so, if you provide us with a doctor’s letter at the check-in desk, confirming the name of the passenger who needs them, the amount and names of each medication, doctor’s signature and stamp. You will be allowed to travel with the medication in a separate extra piece of hand or hold luggage without any extra charge. Please remember that in the extra piece of luggage you will be allowed to put only the medical stuff and nothing else.
Please also advise our Special Assistance Department about your need, so they will add this additional information to your booking to make the airport staff aware of your needs.
You can contact them by calling on a free of charge from landline number: 0800 998 1130.“
So, I did as I was told and contacted the Special Assistance department. They put a note onto M’s flight details to advise that we would be travelling with an additional bag free of charge and reiterated that I needed a signed medical note detailing all the medicine and foods we needed to carry with us and how much was needed each day. I then spoke to our GP, who agreed to list out everything we might possibly need during our holiday. The letter was duly written, signed and paid for and we were all set for the flight.
The ease of being able to take a dedicated bag just for M’s medicines and foods was a real godsend and I was impressed at how easy it was to successfully check-in with not a hassle in sight. There was no question about taking the additional piece of hold luggage through and even the return journey was simple, though I would recommend also having a copy of the actual prescription with you instead of just the medical letter if at all possible. Travelling with small children is difficult at the best of times and when you add medical needs into the mix, it becomes even more of a challenge, but Easyjet lived up to its name and made our life just that little bit easier.