When flying, mention to your travel agent that you're using a walker or wheelchair and need extra time to board the plane. DON'T BE SHY! I've actually worked in airports pushing wheelchairs from the ticket counters to the gates and to baggage claim or their cars in the parking lot.
In SOME airports, like Milwaukee or Philadelphia, that distance can be a VERY LONG WALK. In Milwaukee, for example, from the gates to baggage claim, its all UPHILL. You're not allowed to take walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs on moving sidewalks in ANY US airport.
I've walked past people who were about to have a coronary because they chose to make the walk rather than be escorted. Yes, the pushers work on tips, and they greatly appreciate it, but every once in a while, I didn't mind helping somebody out because Karma usually comes back with a big tipper later on, so it balances out.
When you're going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Screening:
It's always a good idea to bring YOUR OWN earbuds or headphones to listen to your music or watch the TV or movies. Some airlines have started CHARGING FEES for their little cheapie earbuds.
If you need to be placed INTO your plane seat from an "Aisle Chair", that means YOUR chair will be stored underneath, and that at least 2 people will be lifting you up and GENTLY placing you in your plane seat. It also means you will be the first one on the plane, but also THE LAST ONE OFF, so keep that in mind if you have a connecting flight, and let the flight crew know when you board.
It's ALWAYS better to buy your in-air wifi BEFORE you board, if you need it to watch TV or movies. That way there's no need to expose your credit cards to prying eyes in the seats around you. Most US airports have Boingo or some other generic wifi available inside the terminals, BUT IT IS NOT SECURE, so use at your OWN RISK.
The seats over the wing will be OFF-LIMITS to you, even if you THINK you'd be able to assist others in an emergency situation. The TSA assumes that people who are disabled would NOT be the optimum choices to be in those seats. I didn't say I AGREED with the policy, but it is what it is.
Be careful about just grabbing a wheelchair for a loved one at the airport. All chairs are owned by the specific airlines, and their contracted agents are the only ones who are supposed to be using them. If you are taking a Delta flight and grab a Southwest wheelchair to use for a loved one, just be prepared for a potential challenge by an agent, who may or may not have an attitude. I'm just saying....
Share this post