(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon / 8 years 9 months ill / Physical: Adv CBD – Mental: Advantage ED
For our recent trip to Canada and the USA, my airline bookings were made with the instruction that I would need wheelchair assistance. We did this because at the time of the bookings in January, we had no idea as to what my health would be like in June and it was also becoming increasingly difficult for me to walk longer distances.
So, we would need assistance at the following airports and I believe that assistance is provided by the relevant airport companies and not the various airlines:
Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, London, Vancouver, Kelowna
Kelowna, Vancouver, Denver, Dallas
Dallas, Washington DC, Johannesburg and Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth
Where our request worked, it worked well! Where it didn’t work, it didn’t work! And sometimes, the service was somewhere inbetween.
So where did it work? Try guesssing before you read further!
It worked well in London and internally in Vancouver.
It didn’t work in Port Elizabeth (outbound nor inbound), Johannesburg (outbound nor inbound), Vancouver (international to USA), Denver, Dallas (inbound nor outbound) nor Washington DC.
Where it worked well, I was taken from aeroplane to next aeroplane without a hitch, including going through checking in procedures, passport control and customs checks at the front of the queue (where applicable).
Where it didn’t work, a wheelchair just didn’t arrive. Where it partially worked, I was left at spots in the terminal buuildings with no guarantee of a further collection … indeed , on one ocassion in Vancouver i had to make a miraculous recovery and leave the wheelchair in order to walk to our plane before it departed!
It was my first trip using a wheelchair and was international travel from the perspective of a handicapped person.
It was stressful (how much more stressful can international travel become?!)
It removed the ability to enjoy airport shopping and gawk at fellow travellers. Often I was parked in lonely corners of the airport building and empty basements and bleak underground tunnels and corridors built in the bowels of airport buildings.
Passing other passengers at a rapid pace in the seated position left me looking at peoples’ navels and bums and legs and shoes!
I learned for the next trip that I should make sure in advance exactly what to expect, who to ask, what to ask and when to ask. No one is going to ask you if you do not ask them!
Make being an assisted passenger work for you … it certainly helps!