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Advice for flying and holiday

Hello all. RA finally diagnosed for sure last week and have had 2 steroid jabs since then which have helped as I could barely walk before them and am now more flexible etc and sleeping better which is so helpful. Start methotrexate in 3 weeks to add to hydroxy I am already on. Bit nervous but to be honest have expected it so long that it's not a surprise. A lot to take in at the moment. Aiming to feel optimistic though about modern treatments being good, being Rh negative and anti CCP negative, and as I like to eat very healthily anyway I can adjust diet (if it helps) without much drama.

In the meantime we fly to Florida for a long planned holiday and I am looking for tips on keeping comfortable flying (especially managing stiffness and swelling on plane) and coping when we get there - we are planning to visit Disney, Universal, space centre etc but all this was booked before I had RA and I am worried about not being able to do as much as the kids want to. We have got special assistance from Virgin at the airport to get to gate etc and renting an electric scooter for me in US as can't walk for too long. Any other advice from those of you who are much more experienced at this than me? Is humid heat good for RA?

Thank you in advance

12 Replies

Flight socks are a must and I'd ask GP as well. Lots of water, move feet around a lot and go business class for extra leg room. Get a leaflet on how to avoid DVT's and enjoy your holiday.


Try to book an aisle seat so that you can get up and move more easily (if business class not an option). Avoid alcohol on the flight and stick with water. Build in rest days during the holiday if you can alternating theme parks with beach/pool seasons. Have a great trip!


Be careful with the sun Hydroxychloroquine makes me more sensitive to the sun. Just back from Tenerife and some days Factor 30 was not enough. Use high Factor sunscreens take and loose clothing which will block the UV rays. Don't forget a sun hat.


take xtra flannels - light to pack and can act as coldcompresses plus ice for swelling. when in doubt feet up!! check your insurance - mine is ok but they need to know. [not much increased tho] ENJOY HOLIDAY X


Hi I go to Singapore a lot as my son lives there I normally have steroid injection before I go as flight is 13 hrs and take pain killers in the morning just to be in safe side also I found heat does help but the heat is different in Singapore as very humid have a nice time in use X

1 like

Just read the above i am going to australia all sounds good advice. I have an aisle seat too so that i can get up every couple of hours to move legs and have a bit of a walk. Nothing should stop us having holidays !


Hi, BlightyFS

You will have a great time...all the theme parks (& a lot of shopping malls) offer free wheelchairs & you will get to go to the front of queues...the kids will love that.

First essential....good travel now as if anything stops you flying that's too late to buy it.

I go to Florida economy.....Business class fares for 4 people from the UK to Florida would add around £10k to your holiday! Presume you don't have small change like that hanging around?

Apply for your ESTA forms early ( electronic visas needed for US) as no Visa no fly! Particularly with all the new flying rules being introduced..... ..check either on line or with Virgin. Make sure you use the official site...don' t get conned into paying over the odds by companies offering the service. I think I paid about £15 for mine.

Before you fly take whatever painkiller works for's a long flight so top up as often as you usually do. Don't get to the airport too want to get going not sit around at a noisy airport.

On the aircraft try to take a walk around every hour...being ex cabin crew I know not to try that during the meal service though! Try to drink plenty of soft drinks, & if you can take a nap that will help too. Depending on the age of your children take plenty of stuff to amuse them....after take off the novelty of flying soon wears off! The last thing you want is "Are we there yet"? every five minutes.

I have recently travelled with " assistance" due to a broken arm..... fabulous....front of queue again & my bags came off first.,even though I was off the aircraft last! I could get used to such service...but don't have the nerve to use it for no reason! But many people do!

If possible take a soft cabin bag that you can put under the seat in front of you to rest your feet on....cabin trolleys won't fit under seats! I find my knees get very stiff unless I often stretch out my legs & wiggle (!) my ankles....also aircraft seat headrests are notoriously uncomfortable so get an inflatable neck pillow that you can blow up as much as you find comfortable .....if you feel the cold take a shawl/wrap as aircraft are full of drafts.....especially on the return night flight.

As for humid heat...if you are going mid summer Florida humid heat is good for no-one, but if you take things steady you won't melt All cars have air conditioning as do apartments & hotels. If possible wear cotton tops/ them there - fab choice & still cheap even with the rotten dollar pound exchange rate. Shops like Walmart, Target & Sears are good places to start looking. Suntan lotion is cheaper there too!

Have a wonderful back how it goes - with photos!



Thanks for loads of detail! Are you sure the theme parks offer free wheelchairs? Travel agent told us we would have to pay to hire wheelchair at parks - which is partly why renting a scooter - as cheaper if rented outside park - also no one has to push me on that. But maybe she is on commission


I will email my friends in Florida & get them to check. Must admit I haven't been to the theme parks for a couple of years & things do change! Watch this space!

Also check about that bulk head will have a solid wall in front of you......whereas in another row you have seats in front & as I said I have a squishy cabin bag that goes under the seat in front & I can rest my feet on it..

Unless they are thinking of a seat adjacent to an exit, but they are only for use by people who can move swiftly in an emergency & you don't want to be moved to somewhere else once you are boarded.

Ask what the seat pitch is (distance from the front of your seat to the seat/wall in front) it's usually around 30", but on some airlines it's much less....see which is longest.

Ask if the bulkhead seat has more space.... I flew to Cyprus once ( I'm only 5'5") & I couldn't cross my legs, unless I sort of twisted side ways & it was painful. In fact I wouldn't be able to do it now!!

I'll get back to you on wheelchairs at theme parks.


You are a fountain of aircraft knowledge! Noted your comment about seating on bulkhead - good point about possible solid wall. Bit of a worry. When I called Virgin they said don't worry we will make sure you are somewhere comfortable. We will be a party of 5, so 3 will be sat away from bulkhead (if I am on it) and only 1 with me - so if we need to swap around we can - since among the 3 of them, one seat will be on the aisle. So somehow it will be ok I guess as will have option of aisle if bulkhead is worse for legs than normal aisle seat (if you get what I mean)


Also the bulkhead is where they position baby cots......10 hours close to a screaming baby is not much fun! Believe me after 25 years as cabin crew I know...& I only had to walk past the noise - not sit next to it.

If you look on Virgin''s website you should be able to pull up the seating plan of the aircraft your flight is operated by & see what the configuration is like.

You will be amazed at Disney & the other theme parks ....they are truly great fun. I stay further south, but sometimes we ( all adults) have a day at Busch Gardens & act like kids again! Bit Sad really......but we enjoy Ourselves!

Happy holidays...I'll get back to you on the wheelchair situation.


Thanks so much for all the helpful replies. Virgin have put me down to get a bulkhead seat if possible on medical grounds, also help at airport. Will wear compression socks and walk around etc. Really want to get away and have some fun after grim months of pain! Steroid injections seem to be helping at mo so hopefully that will last till I get back


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