How the Electronic Ban will affect Traveling with Autism

Much as been said in the past few days about the new reveal electronic ban that the UK and US have put into effect.
Since its reveal on  March 20th, 2017, many have spoken for and mostly against the new regulations. It even has a trending Twitter hashtag at #electronicban!
For the few people who have still not heard about the ban, here are the highlights and how it will affect traveling with autism.

How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism aisleWhat is the electronic ban?

The US and UK have put in place regulations preventing passengers from using electronic devices on flights from several Middle Eastern and African countries when flying into the UK and US. Though the concept is similar, the countries and airlines on each country’s list are somewhat different.

The UK list

Direct Flights on the following carriers from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia do not allow passengers to carry electronic devices in the cabin:

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • Jet2.com
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Pegasus Airways
  • Atlas-Global Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Tunis Air
  • SaudiaHow the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism boarding

The US list 

Direct flights from airlines on the list below from the Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia don’t allow travelers to have electronic devices in the cabin:

  • Egypt Air
  • Emirates Airline
  • Etihad Airways
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines

The US list also specifically named ten airports the ban applied to:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
     homeland tweet How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism

Does this affect any US domestic flights?

No! Flights within the US or originating in the US will not be affected at present.

Why was the electronic ban put in place?

Though no specific threat was quoted, the ban has been put in place due to gathered intelligence of imminent terrorist threats to blow up commercial jets using nonmetal explosives that may be difficult to detect by regular airport scanning.

In the past, there have been several attempts like this, the last one being just last year when a bomb hidden in a laptop detonated aboard a flight out of Somalia.

When is it going into effect?

In the UK, several airline companies are already implementing the new ban. In the US, it is about to start on March 25th. 2017.

electronic ban and autism travel pin

What does the electronic ban mean to travelers?

Under the new regulations, only small smartphones will be allowed in the cabin. Other devices will have to travel in the checked luggage, including:

  • Laptops
  • iPads
  • Kindle readers
  • Gameboys
  • E -readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVDs
  • Travel printers
  • Travel scanners

Medical devices will still be allowed after security.
How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism electronics

How long will this ban be in effect?

Hard to tell!

We were on a cruise in Europe back in 2006 when we were notified that we couldn’t carry anything but medicines and passports in our carry on luggage. Apparently, a plot to blow up an aircraft had just been foiled, and the alert levels were raised to the highest level. Soon after that the 100ml liquid restriction came into effect and never went away.

How will the ban affect passengers with autism?

Sadly, that will be a problem not only for families trying to entertain their kids during long haul flights but for those who are nonverbal and use an iPad to communicate. We all still remember the case of Carly Fleischmann back in 2012, who was told to turn off her iPad despite repeated pleas from her and her parents not to take her means of communication away.

Considering this ban came into effect suddenly it is clear that legislatures didn’t think of all possible ramifications and challenges. Hopefully, in time, nonverbal passengers with autism will be allowed to take their iPads onboard with an appropriate doctor’s note.

How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism phone

Helpful tips for traveling with autism

Try to reroute your flight

If you are slotted to fly out of one of the airports on the list you may want to reroute your trip to a different country and fly out of there a few days later. Alternatively look into flying with a more kid friendly airline like Etihad and Emirates that offers nanny service onboard to help entertain the kids.

Book a night flight

If possible try to book a night flight and make sure you tire out the kids with some physical activity before getting to the airport. This way they might sleep a few hours and wouldn’t need entertainment.

Prepare your kid!

Prepare your child for the fact that they will need to do other activities than play on their electronics when flying. Make sure you emphasize the positive on how exciting it is to fly rather than detail why electronics aren’t allowed which they may find scary!

Head on to the dollar store

Depending on your kids’ interests fill a bag with reading or coloring materials, Legos, board games, costumes or any other items that can occupy them for several hours.

Notify the airline

Call the special needs desk and let them know about the importance of seating and entertainment for your kid. If you are traveling as a family, you may want to book aisle seats in rows across from each other in case the entertainment system fails in an entire row.

Bring autism-friendly items

Pack a set of kid-friendly headphones and a power cord to juice up your smartphone during the flight. Most aircraft have USB ports under the seat.
How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism watching tv

Allow ample time at the airport

Traveling after March 25th from the tagged airports to the UK or US? Pre-pack your devices in the checked luggage in protective bubble wrap and get to the airport as early as possible since chances are there will be queues, confusion and even chaos and some instances. Considering this was just sprung on the travel industry it’s hard to gauge what exactly could transpire.

So what should you do?

At this point, I would advise everyone to leave any devices they don’t need at home to prevent theft or hacking.
You may want to purchase an inexpensive throwaway laptop or tablet to use for traveling that you won’t regret losing. Alternatively look into renting an iPad for your kid in the destination you are going to –some hotels do it free of charge.

How the US Electronic Ban affects Traveling with Autism humor

Additional ways to protect your devices

  • Check with your credit cards and home insurance for electronic item coverage in case of theft or damage. Many times you may be able to recover the cost of your lost/stolen/broken device through their programs.
  • To prevent identity theft, back all your information and data the day before your flight and store it on a cloud or memory stick. In addition, you can store any personal information in password zip files or delete info from your device (I know – quite the hassle, but still better than becoming a hacking victim).
  • Make sure to fully turn off all devices and apply a passcode to prevent hackers from accessing your data.
  • Carve your name or at least initials on each device to make it easily identifiable.
  • Some hackers can trace particular devices via GPS tracking. Therefore, make sure to register all devices under an appropriate app like ‘find my phone.’We’ve found that the Tile system helps us keep track of our electronics.

Will you be flying out of the airports on the electronic ban list with your family? How are you planning to entertain your kids?

 

 

 

 

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

 

Our Plane Etiquette Tips

In today’s travel world, space on aircraft is extremely restricted. Therefore, people on the autism spectrum might find flying more challenging than other modes of transportation. Parents and educators should impart basic etiquette rules so that their children can interact better with their fellow flyers. Here are some situations we’ve dealt with while flying, and how we’ve managed them.

Armrest Battles

The dilemma of how to divide four armrests between three is hard enough to figure out between adults. However, it is even more difficult to explain to children with autism. These kids often have a different innate sense of appropriate social cues and personal space from a neurotypical person.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism seat

To bypass the conundrum, we’ve always tried to choose an aisle or window seat for our children. This way, they can use one complete armrest and get some extra space to lean against comfortably.

Kicking Seats

Many children with autism like to stim, and seat kicking on airplanes is one of the most common stim methods. Despite our many attempts to curb this behavior, our son tends to shake his legs on flights rhythmically. His leg shaking inevitably disturbs fellow passengers.

Our solution, which we recommend to other families, has been to book bulk seats when possible. When we can’t do this, we reserve two consecutive aisle seats, one in front of the other, so that we can sit front of him.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism seats

Headphones

Many travelers like our son enjoy the onboard entertainment channels. Our son can become so engrossed that he do not remove his headphones at any time during the flight. However, for a child with autism, this can result in speaking excessively loudly and disturbing those who wish to sleep or work quietly.

To prevent this, parents should teach their child to remove their headphones when they need to communicate.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism window

Trash

In the past, our son loved hoarding items like newspapers, napkins, and empty glasses around his sitting area. He often created a mess and obscured personal valuables which he later lost.

After years of training and several lost I-Pods our son learned the responsibility of keeping his seating area tidy. For other parents, it is important to teach children always to throw away what isn’t needed and keep an eye on personal belongings.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism red

Aisle Space

On many flights, passengers waiting in the aisle for a turn to use the restroom tend to slouch or lean over the seated passengers in the back rows. This situation can especially happen with children with autism due to how they typically understand personal space differently from those who do not have autism.

To help a child avoid an awkward or aggressive situation, parents should suggest they use the bathroom before meals are served and an hour before landing. This way, their child will not be taking up space where people are already traveling and will have plenty of room to lean somewhere other than over other people.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism space

Beverage Spills

Spills can happen at any time, especially if a child has poor motor skills and is trying to move around in a tight space. Children traveling on a plane for the first time might also not be used to maneuvering in the smaller quarters.

To minimize the chance of spills happening, we’ve taught our son not to ask for the entire can and only order a small glass of beverage each time. We encourage him to drink each glass as soon as possible instead of having it stay in the tray or cup holder for any length of time.

Overhead Bin

As our son grew older and wanted to help us with the luggage, we faced the challenge of teaching him how to do it safely. He would often misjudge where the luggage was going to land and hit other passengers on the way down.

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism bin

Instead of him trying hard to “guess-estimate” the distance between the suitcase and fellow passengers’ heads, he now provides a friendly verbal warning to make sure that no one gets hurt when he pulls his bag down from the overhead bin. We highly recommend other families teach their children with autism to do the same.

 

Have you flown with your special needs child? If so, what etiquette tips have you shared with them?

Our Plane Etiquette Tips for Parents of Children with Autism plane

 

 

 

Flying LATAM Airlines with Autism

 

bear pin

 


LATAM
is an airline that mainly flies to and from South America, so we hadn’t flown with them until we decided to visit Peru. One of the main reasons we chose LATAM was that I had British Airways miles that could be used to cover four tickets round trip from Los Angeles to Lima as well as four domestic round-trip flights. Our flight was a direct flight, which is always the best choice when traveling with autism.

Booking Latam Airlines

I booked our tickets online through the British Airways website in less than ten minutes for a total of 225K air miles and hardly any tax. Next, the airline’s customer service agent referred me to the Los Angeles office and was very helpful. A special thanks to Sharon and Mr. Caballero, the Passenger Service Supervisor at LAX!

After explaining that our son has autism and that he can’t wait in long lines and needs bulk seating on the aircraft, Mr. Caballero personally tagged our booking (four flights) with the accommodations and reassured me that everything was taken care of.
aircraft

At the Airport and Boarding

On the day of the first flight, we arrived at LAX 3 ½ hours ahead of time in the event we encountered issues that might need to be resolved. As we approach the ticket counter, we saw very long lines.

I asked for special needs assistance staff, and my family was immediately helped by an agent instead of waiting in the long line.Everyone worked diligently to ensure that we not only were seated together but that we received the bulkhead seats.

bulk seating

LATAM does weigh carry-ons, and we were two pounds over the limit. The airline was incredibly gracious saying that they understood we carried medicines and special hypoallergenic bedding for our son, so they let us carry them without any penalty.

LATAM has an excellent organizational system that uses lines for every ten rows so that the boarding process has a flow and is not too crowded.

At the gate, we pre-boarded using a wheelchair and were able to board each time quickly. It took some time to not only to settle our son but to store our carry-ons in the small overhead bins so were grateful we could do it without delaying fellow passengers. We found the bins on the Boeing 767  and on their Airbus 319  we flew to Cusco from Lima able to hold a 21-inch suitcase each and a small bag comfortably.

overhead bins

Our Seats

As we passed by the  Business Class (there is no First Class), we discovered that it was surprisingly small on the 767. There were 18 seats in all with the most legroom and pitch I’ve seen in a Business Class.

plane seating

We flew the airline’s Economy Class.With the plane’s configuration of 2-3-2, as a family of four, we sat in row 12 and 13. My sons and I got the bulkhead seats while my husband sat behind us on the way to Lima and back. All in all, both rows had adequate leg space and the seat comfort was average although it was a bit annoying when people crossed over from side to side and bumped into us.

 

We were glad to find that pillows and blankets were provided for the red eye flight and there were outlets underneath the seats,  to juice up our devices. There were also no air vents directly blowing on us which are always an issue for our son with autism that has sensory challenges.

 

ammenity

Entertainment

A plethora of movies and television shows both in English and Spanish were offered on the entertainment system. The caveat for the bulkhead seating was that the television was built in and fixed in the bulk area in front of you. While the screens don’t fall during turbulence, they are a bit too small and far which makes watching a bit cumbersome.

 

The 319 Airbus doesn’t have any entertainment on board, which was OK as the flight was less than an hour and a half each way and we had packed tablets to watch our own movies. The seats on the Airbus were leather and much more comfortable than most economy seats we’ve sat in on other flights and airlines.

supper

Meals and Amenities

The flight crew was helpful and attentive. They came around to check and make sure we were comfortable and had our needs met. They offered dinner meal choices of chicken with a salad and cake. Later the crew retired for several hours before returning with a light breakfast. We were disappointed to discover that they had no milk or apple juice for our kids and that coffee wasn’t going to be served due to turbulence.

 

When we continued our journey to Cusco on a domestic flight, we were surprised to discover that the company offered complimentary snack boxes and drinks (including alcohol), even in economy.

dinner

 

The bathrooms on both our long haul flight and domestic were kept clean and were continuously stocked with soap, hand lotions, even mouthwash.

Overall we had a great experience with LATAM that surprisingly showed a high and unexpected level of autism awareness and excellent customer service. We didn’t have to wait in any significant lines and were accommodated on and off the aircraft promptly.

 

 snack1

Autism Travel Tips

When traveling LATAM with autism, make sure you call ahead and tag your reservation as special needs and ask for the necessary accommodations (wheelchair assistance) or special diets that your family members may need.

Packing a tablet and power cord may be helpful as there might not be adequate entertainment on some aircraft.

It is interesting to note that while LATAM  does not claim to discriminate against passengers with disabilities, they are one of the few airlines who requires a muzzle for a service animal and they do have this additional statement on their website in regards to passengers with autism:

Passengers with autism who are accompanied by family or caregivers and who do not have a disruptive behavior do not require a medical certificate however if they travel alone, they will have to present a medical certificate.

 

 

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined

Some people say that the most surprise events make for the best stories, and in our case, our experience with Air New Zealand exemplifies exactly that!

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We had originally booked a flight from Lisbon to Zürich connecting to LA which ultimately fell through when our Lisbon to Zürich segment flight was late. This change of plans meant that we lost our connection before we even started our journey.

Booking and Airport Experience

A United Airlines ticket agent at the Lisbon airport took pity on us and decided to book us on the next available flight to London where we would then fly Air New Zealand from London straight to LA.

Needless to say, I was grateful that we were flying Business Class on accumulated points, so I didn’t have to worry about things like last-minute seating arrangements and accommodations for our son with autism.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined screen

Upon arrival at Heathrow International Airport, we got access to Air New Zealand’s quality Business Lounge which provided us with plenty of options to eat and drink. The lounge even offers gluten-free choices, not to mention free WiFi.

Boarding and First Impressions

We were able to pre-board first as part of the accommodation for autism and also because we had Business Class seats. Next, they welcomed us on board by the friendly and enthusiastic crew that helped us with luggage and offered us a glass of champagne or cider.

We then actually started to notice many of the subtle differences that make Air New Zealand a fabulous company, commencing with the continuous smiling staff and their charming Kiwi accents.

As frequent travelers, we have flown in all classes including First, Business, and Economy. It is safe to say that the seat on the Air New Zealand Boeing 777 300 that reclines into a full bed was, and is, the most comfortable we’ve experienced to date.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined seat

Amenities and Entertainment

We received two pillows and a hypoallergenic comforter. The Business Class TV screens are large and can be moved and adjusted to your position, and the recharging station is located directly in front of you (we love when you don’t have to bend down and search for it under the seat). Our son with autism couldn’t get enough of the entertainment console!

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined game

Air New Zealand has, hands down, the most engaging safety video we have ever watched. Everyone around us was apparently paying attention and even testing the different functions from the comfort of their seats.

Passengers can create their personal playlist of movies they want to watch during the flight as well as order whatever food and drinks they wish.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined questions

 

Furthermore, the airline has added informative clips about your intended destination including immigration forms and a concierge service on board to help with your vacation plans. In fact, you could even provide feedback about the service from the comfort of your seat—not that we had reason to complain.

Sleeping in Comfort and Class

Maybe the reason we felt so pampered on Air New Zealand was the fact that this airline, unlike many others, actually makes your bed when you’re ready to sleep.

The cabin staff members come with bed linens and make your bed. When you’re done with the linens, you can press the call button and have them whisked away.

Our son with autism had a stomach ache, and the flight attendants couldn’t be nicer. They made him chamomile tea and even offered him an over-the-counter heartburn medication.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined spray

The aircraft we were on also featured the famous Skycouch in the Economy Premium Class cabin. The Skycouch is a perfect choice for families, especially those with younger kids, and provides comfort at budget pricing.

Impeccable Customer Service

At this point, I should mention that this is the first airline that didn’t scold me for taking pictures, but instead mentioned how they enjoy working with bloggers.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined burger

The Airline Amenity Kit features Clinique cosmetic products and the flight attendants also distribute a kid-friendly coloring kit to entertain children the old-fashioned way.

The special touches are visible everywhere starting from the largest cabin galley up to the whimsical bathrooms with a window view.

Everything about the Business Class on Air New Zealand was top-notch, starting with the entertainment and continuing with the wine choices and food (don’t skip the dessert; it is heavenly). And, of course, there was the gracious and punctual service provided by the crew.

Business Class on Air New Zealand is Luxury Defined snack

Overall, our experience was excellent and needless to say we were sad to leave the plane once we landed in LA. Parents with kids with autism should definitely put Air New Zealand on their radar, as they are so incredibly accommodating and polite. 

Flying Virgin America with Autism

We recently flew Virgin America out of LAX. Overall, the experience surpassed our expectations in accommodations, entertainment, comfort, and compassion for autism travel. 

Booking Process

I booked our flights on the Virgin America website, though I ended up having to fly a week earlier than my husband and my son who has autism. All three one-way tickets purchased were for Economy, but I couldn’t get the bulk seating for my husband and son directly on the website.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Ticket Counter

So, I ended up calling the 1-800 customer service number and spoke with an agent who specializes in disability. The representative was well acquainted with autism and immediately proceeded to put my husband and son in their flight’s Economy Premium section in order to make them more comfortable.

At the Airport

Check-in was a breeze! I had already checked in online, so I only needed to zoom through security with my Global Entry pass and head straight to the gate. My husband and son relayed a similar experience.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Airport

In LAX, Virgin America uses Terminal 3, which tends to be a bit more crowded at security than other terminals. If you are also flying out of this terminal, you may want to arrive earlier and allocate enough time to pass through this process.

I had heard about their newly opened Virgin Atlantic travel lounge, and I was mildly curious to check it out for myself. On request, the staff allowed me a sneak peek. The facility sported an uber-modern look and had several seating areas, a bar, and a modest breakfast buffet table—the room decor compliments the company’s logo in hues of reds and pinks.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Lounge

Passengers wishing to dine before their flight also have the option of choosing from a fast food joint or a sit-down venue at Gladstone’s, which is a sister restaurant to the one in Malibu.

At the Gate

On both Virgin America flights (a week apart);  pre-boarding went relatively smoothly. My husband was happy the crew had given him ample time to board before the deluge of passengers came through. On my solo flight, I was approached by a team member and asked if I needed help putting my carry-on in the top compartment, which I appreciated.

Both flights on Airbus 330 were punctual, which is noteworthy in the middle of the day at a busy airport like LAX.

The Seats

My aisle seat in Economy 12D was covered in leather and better padded than other airlines I have flown. I even had a few inches between my knees and the chair in front of me.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Economy Seat

My husband and son found their wider, more padded, leather seats in 3E and 3F (main cabin) even more comfortable to relax in. We were all thrilled to use the outlets to plug in our phones; the outlets worked well and were placed in an accessible spot, unlike other carriers where we have had to look for them somewhere in the abyss under our seats.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Main Cabin

As seasoned frequent flyers, we all immediately noticed the small—but significant differences—between this Virgin America and their competitors. Highlights ranged from the engaging emergency procedure video done with rap music and the relaxing blue-hued lighting to the positive attitude of the crew asking multiple times if we needed any additional help.

The Food

Let me start by saying that Virgin America offers superior food and entertainment choices that cater to please anyone. They provide an ample free and paid-for drink and snack menu that includes a gluten-free option as well as for purchase meal options.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Food

The fact that you can place an order from the comfort of your seat is so helpful! No more waiting for the traditional cart to come around while everyone else dines, just to be told they are out of your food choice once they reach your seat.

On my flight, I was very happy with my reasonably-priced, healthy breakfast choice that didn’t leave me hungry like some do. The meal was served with coffee that tasted like it was freshly ground.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Menu

The following week my husband and son loved the food offerings too. When our son with autism discovered food is complimentary in the main cabin. He ended up ordering everything he could off that menu. Unlike what has happened to us on European carriers, he was not reprimanded.

Much to my husband’s surprise, the staff was courteous and smiled with each order!

The Amenities

In comparison with other airlines, entertainment is another area where Virgin America gets it right.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Entertainment

The personal touch-screen TV in front of you is so much fun to play with!

You can not only order meals but also watch movies, listen to music; you can even chat with a fellow passenger in a different seat, which is a great feature if family members are separated in-flight.

As you can see from our pictures, the choices are ample—whether one wants to watch movies, TV shows or play games, there is something there for everyone. The entertainment system even features an area for kids with a PG content control making it stress-free for parents.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Charity

Perhaps the most refreshing feature on that screen was the fact there was a section dedicated to charities, encouraging passengers to donate money to several organizations like “Make a Wish Foundation” and one that is close to our hearts, The Special Olympics.

But there’s more.

Forgot your headphones at home? Do you want to nap for a few hours and want a clean pillow and blanket? You can purchase these items right on board. I selected a pillow/blanket set and love the high-quality blanket so much I use it at my desk at home.

Flying Virgin America with Autism Cagtalog

The restrooms, though unimpressive and similar to other airlines, were kept clean throughout the coast-to-coast flight and replenished with paper towels, tissues, and soap on a continuous basis.

Autism Travel Tips

Make sure you mention any special needs at booking and follow up with Virgin America before flying.

On our flights, we found nothing went wrong, and the staff was all very attentive and well rehearsed in helping families and individuals with autism.

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Flying Virgin America with Autism Pin

Flying on Delta Airline’s Economy with Autism

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Pin
We recently flew in economy class on a Delta 757D aircraft. Our original plans changed in the 11th hour; here’s a review of our autism travel experience with Delta Airlines without any advance coordination or accommodation. 

Booking Process

Our flight with Delta began with a booking on United and due unforeseen circumstances we were transferred at the last minute. Even though airlines work together in an unofficial capacity, once passengers are transferred to the second carrier, they are at the mercy of that airline. In essence, this is what happened to us. Because we were moved, we didn’t have the opportunity to contact Delta in advance to request seats and accommodations for our son with autism, so we were concerned.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Gate

Despite the extended assistance line in terminal five, a customer support officer named Donna helped us secure seats together for our segment. She also coordinated wheelchair assistance in Atlanta, as it is a busy airport and we only had forty-five minutes between flights.

At the gate, another customer service officer (who was both polite and well-meaning) managed to seat us together in row forty-four, which is the second to last row. We were grateful to sit together, though dreaded the seats in the back of the plane next to the lavatory.

Pre-boarding was a delight as they gave us about ten minutes to re-group. This is the longest I’ve experienced, and we even had time to chat briefly with a very attentive and knowledgeable global gate attendant.

The Seat

We were pleasantly surprised at the clean, comfortable, leatherette seats which were some of the best we’ve ever sat in. They had moderate padding, and the leg pitch was adequate. The adjustable headrest included a feature to pull it higher for taller passengers was a bonus.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Row 25

The overhead bins were the most practical we’ve seen with a slightly little opening at an angle and deeper which meant suitcases fit well when put on their side. The design was smart, and we liked the fact that there were instructions as to how to place the suitcases to maximize space. The distance across the aisle was quite reasonable, so people didn’t brush against me even though we were sitting in one of the least coveted seats on the plane.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Overhead Storage

Temperature Control

Having been on Airbus planes that don’t seem to regulate their temperatures accurately, as I’m always too hot or too cold, this one had its temperature set just right.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Overhead

The WiFi was relatively fast and didn’t quit on us, which is mentionable enough, but what we liked even better was the fact that each seat had two separate outlets to charge electronic devices; one right in front of you under the screen and the other next to the headphone plugin.

Refreshments

Apart from the usual alcoholic beverage selection of wines, spirits, and beers ranging in price from $6 to $8, Delta has included three featured cocktails: The Jack and Joe at $10 or the Sky Breeze and Blue Chair Bay Island Punch at $8 each.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Menu

For meal selections, we had roasted turkey sandwiches and fruit and cheese selection for breakfast followed by sliders and wraps for dinner.

They also have two types of snack boxes; one with Beef Salami Slices, Wheat Thins, Peppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread, Cheddar Goldfish, Crackers, Fruit Snacks Mixed Fruit, Oreo Cookies and Tic Tac Freshmints. The other has Pita Chips, Hummus, Pepper and Artichoke Bruschetta, Multi-Grain Crackers, Pitted Greek Olive Mix, Apricots, Roasted Almonds, Lemon Cookie Nibbles and Dark Chocolate.

If your child is particular about food or has food allergies and restrictions, you should purchase food at the airport ahead of time; especially if you are sitting in the rows at the back of the plane.

Complimentary

I’m afraid that on most domestic airlines these days, there isn’t much for free. However, Delta still offered hot or cold beverages along with a choice of salted peanuts, pretzels or sweet biscuits.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Peanuts

The disadvantage of long-bodied planes with two hundred and more travelers is that the hot food seldom reaches you if you are sitting all the way in the back; especially if you are on the afternoon flight.

Bathrooms

The first thing I noticed about the lavatory was the fact that taller people can stand without needing to stoop down. Compared with other airline toilets, there is reasonable space to move around so you won’t trip and fall onto the commode if and when you need to change your clothes; which is something that happened to me.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Bathroom

As you enter the blue-lit room, the sink is on the left while the commode is in the center. There is an enormous full-length mirror in addition to one over the sink to put on makeup. It seems that someone thought of the ladies! There’s even a changing table over the commode for parents to change their babies’ clothing.

Entertainment

Delta has movies, old and new releases as well as TV shows and cable shows. Be aware that some of these are pay-per-view. You can also listen to albums and the radio or learn more about the company fleet and flight experience.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Movie Screen

The company offers a unique Sky Club Kids program with movies, TV shows, and an exclusive Disney section. Our son was mildly disappointed in the fact that some of the new releases were six dollars each. It is just as well that they also had plenty of Disney oldies that were free.

The play section caught our eye since our son with autism loves video games. Strangely enough, this flight, he got a kick out of the mini -language courses world traveler offers—passengers can learn numbers, dates, words and even phrases in different languages.

Flying on Delta Airline's Economy 757D Screen

Overall we thought the entertainment selection was balanced. We also liked the parental control feature that helps parents decide what they want their kids to watch.

Delta seems to be very focused on superior customer service, which is reflected in the fact it boasts an in-flight questionnaire that travelers can complete from their seat on the screen.

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