Thanks to RAG for the luggage and Kuya Shigenori for the cane
Traveling abroad filled me with both excitement and anxiety. Making sure that every single detail of the trip is carefully addressed, including several questions that lurked into my sleep. Lucky for us, Bam and Johnny took care of the itinerary for the entire holiday. They also provided us with transportation, accommodation and food during our stay in Canberra. Yoohoo! So when I finally got a Visa grant from the Australian Embassy, I start to find answer to whether I can bring my white cane on board with me on the airplane. To do this, I send an inquiry to Cebu Pacific Air, the air carrier company where I bought my ticket to Australia, through their Facebook page. They instantly reply saying that mobility canes are for check in. So I send another message, this time, with a link to an article in Rappler stating that mobility aids such as canes are allowed in the cabin according to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). But I got the same firm response-adding that their check-in counters has stand by wheelchair attendants that can assist the guest from the counter to the aircraft. A wheelchair for me?! I have strong legs, thank you!!! Packing my cane in check baggage is no issue to me at all, but if anything happened (God forbid), having a cane within my reach would be helpful.
Unsatisfied by the information I gathered from Cebu Pacific Air, I also made an inquiry to the Office for Transportation Security-DOTr regarding the said concern. Below is the copy of the response I receive.
Response from the Office for Transportation Security[DOTr begins here:
Hi Jhon! As per the OTS Memorandum Circular 02 s. 2015 on the revised Prohibited Items List, Crutches, Walking sticks or aids can be carried in the cabin by person with reduced mobility or those who are visibly in need of such aid. However, this shall not be misunderstood / mistaken for Cane Umbrellas, as these items are not allowed in the cabin.
Also, please be advised that although walking sticks/canes are allowed in the cabin, this must be cleared first at the security screening checkpoints prior boarding the aircraft.
-Public Affairs Division
Response from OTS-DOTr ends here.
Gilly and I arrived Three hours earlier our departure time at the NAIA Terminal 3 on the day of our flight. At this moment, I am no longer worrisome of my white cane. After all, we have other things to worry about that only family and few closed friends were aware of the more important hurdle in this trip. The check-in counters are still close so we decided to pay the travel tax before cueing up to check our bag. While on the line to the check-in counters, I try to distract Gilly’s attention to lessen the stress he is on. After an hour of waiting, we finally reached the counter. He presents both our passports and a copy of the e-ticket to the attending ground staff and lifts the luggage onto the weighing scale. We are both quiet while the attendant processes the boarding pass. I lift the sunglasses and show him my eyes upon his request while I grip tightly to my cane using the other hand. He reviews the flight and boarding details before he hands back our passports, e-ticket and boarding pass. We thank the guy gleefully as we walk away from the counter.
As we lead our way to the Immigration, a lady calls our attentions from behind. “Oh shit!” I mutter. Is this because of the cane? or the other thing? We pause from walking and turn to the lady.
”Yes?”I said while stretching my lips to hid my confusion.
“Sir, would you rather like to be taken on a wheelchair? It’s a long walk to your assigned boarding gate.” offer the lady.
“No, but thanks! He prefers to walk.” Gilly answer.
She retrieves and go back to her station as we carry on.
We passed the immigration and the final security check in a breeze and immediately advise Bam and Johnny with excitement that we made it through. Hoorah!