Traveling for the holidays? Know this before you leave.


Whether you are traveling near or far for the holidays, there are things that people with seizures should consider before and as they travel — from questions and concerns about types of travel, safety issues to consider, and how to manage seizures safely. Consider and heed some of the helpful tips, accessible on the links below, as you prepare for your holiday travels. 

Statement: The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, and our national organization, Epilepsy Foundation, stand with all people with epilepsy as they travel with their loved ones during this holiday season. We are disappointed to hear that a person from our epilepsy community had an unpleasant experience while traveling on a Southwest flight. We understand that Southwest Airlines tries to be mindful of, and accommodate, people with disabilities, so we hope this was a rare occurrence.

Travelers with any medical condition may require reasonable accommodations and may have unique concerns regarding their travel to ensure their wellbeing. We have always encouraged all members of the epilepsy community to speak freely about their seizures and teach others what to do to help those experiencing seizures. We applaud Chelsea for doing just that in order to ensure her safety and alert the flight crew of the situation.

We have reached out to Southwest Airlines to gather additional background about the incident and offer seizure first aid training to their flight crew.  – November 21, 2017

ADAPTING PLANS FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Inform flight attendants and travel companions about what to do if you have a seizure: talk to doctor about the need to adjust when you take medication if you are changing time zones; keep your medication on your person or in your carry on; and more.

MAKING TRAVEL PLANS: Assess your needs and risks to determine where best to travel, whether or not to travel with others, how to travel, and more.

TYPES OF TRAVEL AND VACATIONS: Traveling by car, plane, or train? Think carefully about how you are traveling so you can recognize potential problem areas and come up with creative solutions ahead of time. 

PREPARING FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF SEIZURES: Think carefully about your seizure activity and how likely you are to have a seizure while you travel. 

MANAGING MEDICATIONS WHILE TRAVELING: Managing medicines safely will involve making sure you have enough medicines with you, can take medicines at consistent times while away, and have a plan on when to use ‘as needed’ or rescue medicines.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR VNS AND OTHER TREATMENTS: People with a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) or responsive neurostimular (RNS) may have their own questions about traveling. With enhanced security equipment at many airports or other locations, concerns about possible problems with implanted devices or other electronic equipment arise. 

USING SEIZURE PLANS AND OTHER RESOURCES: Seizure Response or Action plans will help you organize information about yourself and your seizures in one place so you can have it with you at all times. It’s important to have this with you while traveling away from home, since others may not know what is going on or how to help you. 

TEACHING OTHERS: While you, the person with epilepsy, need to know how to manage your seizures, you’ll also want others to know what to do. This is most important if you have seizures that affect your awareness or memory, or that lead to falls or injury. One of your most important jobs will be to teach others what to do and how to do it. 

AIR TRAVEL FACT SHEET: Read for more information on your legal rights, tips and how to file a complaint if you feel you have been discriminated.