wheelchair at airport

October 30, 2008 at 1:32 am

I have flown three different trips since being neurologically affected and have contacted the airlines for assistance. The people have been really helpful and kind. I was really worried about traveling. I have a few pointers from my experience. Almost every airline has information on their website about traveling with disability and several link to the national information. I read this. The airlines also have information about what you can and cannot take on the plane in the post-9/11 times and what the charges are for checking luggage now. I was glad to read that the tiny fingernail clippers are no longer considered a threat to life on earth (or in the air).
The reason I would argue to use the assistance is that, for me, it is impossible to rush anymore. I can walk some, but not fast and I get really, really tired really fast. Save your energy for what you have to do. It takes a lot of energy to travel.
In almost every case, I got a wheelchair from the front check-in desk to the plane and from the plane to the luggage place. Once I tried to walk and it was a big mistake.
I use a rollator with a seat and I put my luggage on that to walk when I was walking. If you go through the airport in a wheelchair, however, you need to be able to carry everything including the walker and hand luggage on your lap in the wheelchair.
Walkers and canes and wheelchairs are not counted against you as carryon. They only allow one wheelchair on the top of the plane. Sometimes they might allow a walker, but each time I have gone, they took the walker from the end of the ramp boarding the plane and put it on board in baggage as hand carry and then brought it out for me to use before I disembarked the plane. This meant there was only a short bit to walk without the walker. I tied ribbons on my walker to hold my cane loosely so I can get to it fast and carry it on the walker.
This last time, they had a wooden cane for use through the security lanes which made it better to walk since I could not use my metal one!!
Some places have volunteers to help with special needs and Frontier declined tipping, but other places, the people that push the wheelchairs appreciated tipping. this confused me and one grumpy guy got all upset because I had forgotten to tip when trying to do the twelve things at once you have to do. He was really grumpy the whole time not just about this, but he has been the only person that has been so.
Even though I had assigned seats, the airlines moved me forward to not have to walk as far back in the plane when they could. I usually boarded earlier since I am really slow, but waited to last to get off just to be nicer to the rest of the travelers.
I booked non-stop when possible to minimize walking.
There are strange rules about taking a scooter because the battery is considered flammable or explodable so you absolutely have to check with the airlines if taking a scooter to make sure that they are prepared for the battery if your scooter has the kind that has to be special packed. I figured it was too much hassel and rented a scooter locally on one trip.
I hope something of this might help. WithHope