Saturday, February 28, 2009

Possible Backup for Air Travel

Media Dis&Dat and Bad Cripple have recently posted on the terrible state of airline service when disability accommodations are needed or when wheelchairs are involved. Wheelchair Dancer's also posted on this topic in the past. The humorist in me wonders if airlines like to see how much mandhandling a wheelchair can take before damage occurs or how long it will take for someone's patience to wear thin when the wheelchair isn't forthcoming.

One possible backup is Scoot Around, a service that will deliver wheelchairs and scooters to the airport when there is damage, at the airlines' expense. The manual wheelchair featured is a hospital clunker, but it's possible they might have others. The availability of such services may not reduce ground crews' willingness to be careful with chairs, but it's good that backups are becoming more available. It might be worth keeping their information handy for an emergency.

For those who can get by with a transport wheelchair at the airport, they can have rented wheelchairs or scooters to be delivered to the hotel. I'd have some concerns about pain and pressure sores from bad seating with a brand I hadn't tried, but that could help with some of the airline hassles. Transportation's always difficult to figure out, of course, whether it's getting an accessible van or trying to get shuttles that will take a wheelchair or scooter (what law?). Without a wheelchair or scooter past the airport, I'd feel vulnerable. But again, at least options are increasing.


Lisa Moon said...

Well, I'm nervous about trying the relatively small, short trip from my large island home to the mainland - Vancouver, BC, Canada... preferably with my scooter.

We have a ferry service, which will be accessible and I even have a disabilty pass with them which allows me and my attendant (can be anyone) half price on our fares, not including a vehicle should we choose to take one.

However, it's getting from the ferry to Vancouver itself. One can take a coach bus (like Greyhound) but you cannot get a scooter on those, only a manual fold-up chair. One can take the city buses, which should accomodate scooters just fine as they do in my city (well, see my blog for those experiences!), but since I've only taken my scooter on the bus in my hometown twice, I'm hesitant to do so in a city where I'm not very familiar with getting around!

And that's just a trip 'across the pond' as some say!

When I think about taking a possible flight to, say, somewher warm for a winter vacation (ahh, to dream!) I wonder at the ease of taking along my wonderful new electric friend/freedom aid; would the airlines make things difficult as I have heard they do (ensuring the batteries are the correct type, handling it in cargo without damage, etc.).

Thanks for writing about this as I'll be looking into travel more - I hope in the near future!

FridaWrites said...

I'm hesitant to do air travel too, though there are many locations I'd like to go to--just too many variables. Traveling w/a wheelchair or scooter definitely takes a *lot* of planning. Most people have no idea.