Really scared of my flights

Finally using my flight credit from June this Friday (!!!). First flights since 2018.

Since then I have developed a neuralgia that requires I sit on a special cushion and I’m realllllly hoping they don’t challenge me on this. It’s a big cushion I have to carry like a purse. I have a letter from my dr saying that I need it and why, and to let me get up and walk around a lot on the plane (of course, not when required to be sitting). This is so embarassing. I’m supposed to show the letter to the flight attendant. I usually never talk to the flight attendant. I don’t like to call attention to myself. I’m also worried that when I get up and walk around my cushion might disappear. I have specifically booked 1st class (first time ever) and aisle seats so that getting up should be easy. Also, I’m just plain worried that flying will make my physical issues worse. I also have scoliosis type problems that are being greatly exacerbated by trying to pack to move. But, this was the best timing for my trip before the credit expires. I am really hoping that the week long trip will help my problems b/c usually vacation helps a lot. Not doing dishes, driving kids around, making dinner etc takes a huge load off my body.

I’m also still worried about covid. I definitely don’t want to get sick while traveling solo, and I don’t want to make my friends sick. I’m planning to mask on the plane as much as possible, although on the longer flights I’ll need to eat at some point.

Thanks for any advice. Trip is IAD to SAT, SAT to LAS, then LAS back to IAD. Longest flight is 4.5 hrs. The first flight is just under 4 hrs. The day I had to have a connection I have two 2 hr flights with a 3 hr layover in the middle, which I specifically chose so that I would have time to move around between flights, and in hopes that my checked bag makes it to the 2nd flight.


I really don’t think you need to be worried. I can understand why you would be, but if there are problems you have the letter. You could also call the airline and speak to them if that would make you feel better about things. Ask to speak to someone about your medical needs whilst on board.

Firstly if this cushion fits on your airline seat it can’t be that big. I assume you mean it won’t fit in a bag so it’ll be an additional carry-on item? Which is fine.

Many airlines provide those silly little pillows / cushions and it isn’t a problem whether you sit on it or put it behind your back. Sitting on your cushion should be absolutely fine.

And it is unlikely to go missing, truly. I used to worry about getting up to go to the bathroom and leaving my iPad - but it has never been an issue. If you are really worried, you could put it under your seat when you get up, or lay a jacket or scarf over it.

Have a wonderful trip! And please try to stop stressing. :blush:


I hope you have a great time! I also hope that everything will go much more smoothly than you imagine.


I started seeing these on smaller bags years ago, maybe there is a way to tag your special seat too? I know that medical devices are not counted against your carryon allotment so having it identified will be important.



You should be fine! It’s a big plus you are flying in first class as you presumably (depending on the plane type) have more space on the seat, more room to walk around and less people around. It’s also good considering your covid worries - less people, bigger spacing.

I have some back and leg issues, particularly sciatic nerve pain for which sitting is the worst possible thing so I was worried on my recent 10 hour flights. I flew one way in economy and it was uncomfortable, I stood up to stretch every 30 minutes and was constantly squirming in my seat, but eventually I made it fine with the help of some painkillers and pillows. The other way I was able to upgrade to business class with my points and it made a huge difference. I had much more room in the seat and felt much more comfortable standing up and walking around because there were maybe 20 people in that section as opposed to 80 or whatever.


I’ve brought my own large inflatable seat cushions on airplanes for years - makes the seat much more comfortable - and nobody has batted an eye or touched it. As long as it fits on the seat, you’ll be fine :slight_smile:


The original plan behind buying a first class seat (for June 2022 flights) was to help me not catch covid. I didn’t have the other issues at the time.


I just returned from WDW on Alaska Airlines. Most people’s carryons were much bigger than the size on the airline puts on its website and a few had more than one carryon. The flight attendants didn’t bat an eye.

DH took his CPAP machine on board the plane for the first time during the trip. Going it was his carryon. He also had a personal item. I only had a personal item. Coming home, because of all the shopping we did, we each had a carry on and a personal item. AND he had his CPAP machine. The flight attendant didn’t say anything.

If you have a medical note, that will solve any questions they may have.

We are a 5.5 hour flight from WDW. People were walking in the aisle. The flight attendants didn’t say anything. It shouldn’t be a problem for you to get up and walk as long as you don’t get in the way of the carts and any emergency that may arise.

Be aware that only a few people wear masks on the planes. I’ve flown a number of times in the past 12 months. Mask wearers have decreased each time I’ve flown. I still wear a mask on the plane; I still wear a mask in some indoor places at home because the majority of the people do but I hardly wore one in WDW last week! :smile: For the most part, I will wear a mask if the employee serving me is wearing a mask.


This is what I expected re: masks on planes now. I’m actually kind of worried about going to Texas b/c I think there may be people who will comment on my mask, but I’m willing to deal with that to feel comfortable about preventing illness. I’m also expecting little mask wearing in Vegas but I really have no idea what to expect there.

People won’t comment in Texas. Masks are rare, but they are still seen sometimes. A friend noticed that her pollen allergies were less of a problem, so wears them outside but not inside.

Also, medical items don’t have to count as a personal or carry-on item. Even then, if it is obviously something you’ll have in your seat with you like a pillow or lunch, they won’t worry about it.


I’ve had three people comment on my masking in 3 years. Two made comments under their breath and while one yelled/swore. While rare, it can happen so prepare yourself. I ignore it and don’t let it bother me.

Seems like about 5% masking on planes now. It surprises me a bit because among my circle of friends, most do not mask when indoors around our town and do plenty of indoor dining, but all of them mask on planes.

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I hope your vacation goes smoothly and you have a great break from everything!

We’ve taken 3 trips since October and the only real change since pre-covid is the airlines are a mess. It would never occur to me that someone would take something from your seat, especially not a cushion.

I would really like to fly Alaska since every flight we’ve taken has been super strict about carry on allowances. As in DD12 had a fanny pack that was separate from her backpack and they made everybody wait while she put it in her backpack so she only had one personal item. The flights on airlines where we didn’t have status we had to check our carry-ons that were, in fact small enough to fit in the measurement bins. Since you have your letter and it’s true that medical items don’t count - you should be good on that count though.

Anyone who feels the need to comment on your choice to mask is not worth listening to or taking into account in any way. I’ve only had one person comment - ever - and they accused me of child abuse. They were also actually required at the time. Whatever. Masking is low on flights but rather than being harrassed, I’ve seen people seated next to masked passengers who were not wearing one when they sat down but asked the masked passengers if they would be more comfortable if they put one on. More than once. We’re not all doomed.

I don’t want to worry you with something different, but we have had significant delays, and missed connections. 10 hours in fact on Monday but it wasn’t connecting. Hope it doesn’t happen but it would be good to have a plan for that too.


I have a bruised tailbone and have carried a (relatively large) special cushion on many flights in the past year. I didn’t talk to anyone about it, didn’t have a Dr note, and no one blinked an eye. I really don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about on that front.


Update: all my flights were fine. I do regret making very early morning flights b/c that messed up my sleep all of the 3 nights before, but my plan was to get flights that would actually take off b/c the planes would be in place, and that happened. There were no delays or cancellations of any of the 4 flights. I did seriously regret not taking the much later nonstop flight yesterday, but then saw that that one had a delay. And I was flying the Fri and Mon of Presidents Day weekend, so there was a holiday, albeit a small one. I was underwhelmed with United first class (surprised for instance that the first class bathroom is the same matchboxed size as the others) but it did provide a very good sized seat and not having to worry about finding space for my carry on since I got to board early. I had no issues at all with my neuralgia on the flights, and nobody ever asked me for my dr letter. I saw others with seat cushions as well. I did have some issues with neuralgia the 2 days after the big flight day with 2 flights, but I think that was more about walking around a great deal. After that I took is easy more and had no trouble. I needed more room breaks than I had expected. But, I went into this trip already exhausted from packing to move, so in future trips I should be in better shape. I loved seeing my friends in San Antonio and seeing Las Vegas for the first time!


I totally understand why you would be feeling scared and anxious about your upcoming flights, especially with your physical condition and concerns about COVID. However, it’s great that you’ve taken steps to prepare and make the journey as comfortable as possible for yourself, such as booking first class and aisle seats, carrying a cushion, and getting a letter from your doctor. I recently came across, which has tips on a private jet charter guide. You might find something there for your future. I don’t have any specific advice on your concerns, but I do want to offer some words of encouragement. It’s totally normal to feel nervous about flying. Flight attendants are there to help you, so don’t hesitate to show them your letter and ask for assistance if you need it.

Thank you for your thoughts. The flights went very well. I was actually surprised at how well. My one wish is that I’d booked later in the day flights, b/c I lost a lot of sleep each night to have 8 am ones. I’m a night owl and would definitely prefer afternoon flights. Since things went so smoothly I wish I’d given myself more sleep time (although being in the early Am may be why things went so well…).

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