A Tip to Make Traveling a Little Easier for Those With HD

Carlos Briceño avatar

by Carlos Briceño |

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Since her 2018 diagnosis as gene-positive for Huntington’s disease (HD), my wife, Jill, has made visiting family a priority. We drive together for shorter trips when we can because our 13-year-old dog, Baby Girl, travels with us. For the trips that are too far to drive, or when one of us is traveling alone, flying is our preferred method of travel.

But flying is stressful for Jill, especially going through airport security.

Several years ago, our daughter, Alexus, went through a process called TSA PreCheck with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. It’s essentially a pass to get through security a little easier. People who apply are given a background check and are interviewed to make sure they aren’t a threat. PreCheck travelers also don’t need to remove shoes or laptops when going through the scanners.

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Jill has been flying a lot over the past several years, so Alexus tried to persuade her to apply. But Jill said no because it was too expensive. As it was only $85, I tried to persuade my wife, but she declined again.

One morning, I woke up to get ready for work and found that Jill had texted me several times during the evening. She doesn’t sleep well, so she gets a lot done late at night. She jokes that she gets her best ideas, and her worst ones, at 3 a.m.

The texts were screenshots from Capital One, our credit card account, and from the TSA website. The first picture said that Capital One would credit the account that paid for TSA PreCheck — up to $100. The next picture said that the cost of PreCheck was $85. The last text read, “I can get this for FREE.”

Later that morning, I asked her how she found out that our credit card would essentially pay for her to apply for TSA PreCheck. She said she was feeling anxious about flying the next week, so she looked up if fees could be waived for those with a disability. Instead, she discovered an article about the various credit card companies that will pay for the PreCheck.

Jill was happy that she stumbled onto this information and wanted to share the news in this column. She knows that traveling is stressful enough, but traveling for someone who is gene-positive with HD can be anxiety-inducing, not only for the person, but also the caregiver.

Check with your credit card company or bank to see if you are eligible for this awesome benefit.

As time goes by, Jill knows that she may become too anxious to stand in long lines at the airport, so she’s hopeful that the TSA PreCheck program will help alleviate some of her worries.

Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


Teri Verduyn avatar

Teri Verduyn

Hi Carlos and Jill,

My husband also has HD. We travel a lot and have the TSA PreCheck. Depending on your airport and the time of your flight, you may still stand in line. Sometimes TSA doesn't accept the status and you still have to go through the regular check-in. Sometimes you will be randomly selected for extra screening. That being said, it is still a good idea.

But, I try to make sure we have only one bag to go through and I'm the one carrying it. I make sure he has easy shoes to take on or off and isn't wearing a jacket. I take his phone and watch and belt before we get to the check-in place so I have minimized as much as I can. I take off my watch and phone and store all of it before we go through the line. I also try to get there early so we have time and I don't get stressed. I bring easy snacks and an empty water bottle. I look for direct or only 1-stop flights and try to go during the day rather than early morning or late at night. Money is always important but an easy and stress-free trip is more important to me than a cheaper fare. Good luck.

Carlos Briceño avatar

Carlos Briceño

Those are some great tips! I have a tendency to get distracted when going through security, so Jill has had to help me remember all the things you have to do before getting to the screeners. Hopefully, we will both get TSA PreCheck so I won’t have to remember all the things I forget when I am standing in line. I hope you all have simple, uneventful safe travels. Please share any other great tips you have in the future!

Kathy Howell avatar

Kathy Howell

Thanks for the tip. I’m certainly going to look into that. I am also thanks for the smile this afternoon. Very hot or I live so we could lead me to be cranky lol. You’re positive outlook made my afternoon.😎

Carlos Briceño avatar

Carlos Briceño

Always happy to hear our column has made someone smile. Thank you for sharing and I hope you are able to take advantage of the program.

William Graham avatar

William Graham

You are such a nice person. Jill is lucky to have you.

Carlos Briceño avatar

Carlos Briceño

Thanks for your comment, Mr. Graham, but I have to point out that it is I who am lucky. Jill is the most wonderful, remarkable, beautiful, brilliant, insightful, inspiring, hilarious, courageous, fantastic, generous, thoughtful woman I know. Trust me, I am the lucky one.


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