Airplane travel

What are your experiences with airplane travel? Does it work comfortably? Any preparation tips?

  • Hi Cyndie

    I had my ileostomy done in Sept 1968 in Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford so I was travelling between N.Ireland and London for checkups. In those days of "the troubles" you couldn't even take an umbrella on board with you so when I went for my first flight with "His Lordship" I carried my "Baby Bag" (a very small weekend case which held all the necessary for changing my bag)  I was not going to be allowed to carry this on board - so I made my case to the flight attendant. asking her if she would take a baby away without a nappy? Which is basically what I was being asked to do.  I subsequently was escorted on board by the Flight Captain and never had any other bother as I got my doctor to give me a letter explaining my position.                                                                                                                                                Roll on to 1980 and I was flying to Trinidad to stay for a month with my friends for Carnival.  The flight went via Antigua and Barbados.  I went to the toilet about an hour out of Barbados and discovered I had a hole in my bag - disaster what would I do - I'd only ever changed in my bathroom at home.  Time for a change? I went back to my seat and picked up the baby bag and explained to the flight attendant my plight because I noticed there was an out of order toilet and thought I could use it - I only needed to be able to sit to change.  I was told it was not available at all and to remain calm, get in line and take my time to change - don't panic.  I did exactly what I was told - isn't it quite disconcerting to be in a different place when faced with something such as a bag change.  But it went well and I felt so proud of myself - I almost wanted to announce it over the PA system - Look what I've just done!   As luck would have it I had changed to the Eakin disposable bag in the months before - which made the bag change so quick and easy - I had been using the old permanent rubber bags which took at least 30-40 mins to change.

    So for air travel- I have all my supplies in my baby bag for the duration of my trip.  I picked up a hidden disabilities lanyard -The Sunflower - a couple of years ago - suggested by the staff at Belfast Internation Airport.  I am quite happy for security staff to route through my baby bag and have never had any bother with them.  Stomas are so common these days and so public that no-one pays any real notice.  Be proud, be prepared, have all you need and a little extra - just in case!  Enjoy your travel!    

  • What a great story, thanks for sharing Paddy!  Do you still have your old rubber pouch?

  • No - Joanne that bag bit the dust!  Presently using Coloplast Sensura Mio one piece flat drainable bag and from time to time take part in trials as part of "Be the Change"  The greatest change was the original one - from the rubber bags to the disposable.  It took at least half an hour for those changes and I was terrified that the bag would fall off - I remained indoors for a few days before I got the courage to go out!! 

  • What about airport security when you don't get through security - it happened a friend of mine and the security officer did a body search - she told me she was so embarrassed when they asked her about her pouch , she almost cried and now she hates taking a flight she is so scared it will happen again.

  • Alba get the Sunflower Lanyard - Hidden Disabilities - you can get a card to wear on the lanyard to explain what the Hidden Diability is.  Tell your friend not to be embarrassed or ashamed about her bag.  The security people are the ones who will be embarrassed when they discover what is going on.  she can *** all over them if that is what it takes!! I do remember feeling like your friend the first time I was patted down at security.  Then I thought - to hell with this - what am I embarrassed about?  With the Sunflower you are immediately identified as someone with something to be aware of.  I immediately say at security checks I have a bag!  During "the troubles" here in N Ireland I had to go through a security checkpoint every day to get to my work in a bank.  On occasion the soldiers would pat me down and I just said I had a bag on  my side attached to my guts!  That soon calmed them down!  Make a laugh - if you don't  no-one else will.