Double Standard in Airline Travel
The last time I traveled by air was when I was in junior high. Dad could still shloop (it’s a real word isn’t it?) me into a regular seat. We opted to take my manual chair. It was rather difficult back then, I won’t even attempt it now. Unless and until we can stay in our chairs, I won’t be flying.
Here’s a great article that points out the double standard airlines have when it comes to safety. Although they know it’s unsafe, they allow infants to fly unrestrained on their parents lap. Yet, airlines don’t allow wheelchair users to remain in their chairs citing safety concerns. Big double standard. Studies are showing that in all reality it can be quite safe to stay in our chairs with proper restraints.
My suspicion is that it all boils down to money. It’s too expensive to modify the planes to accommodate a wheelchair. Airlines are probably fearful they wouldn’t be able to maximize capacity if they have to make wider aisles, bigger bathrooms and loose a seat to make room for a wheelchair. Citing “safety” in my opinion is a total cop-out. It’s the easiest way to shirk the responsibility of finding a real solution.
It’s difficult to express how vulnerable an individual feels when separated from their chair. No analogy I’ve come up with even comes close in comparison. The only thing I can think of is boarding the plane naked. I’d love to see how comfortable the airline big wigs would be if they were required to strip down to their birthday suit before getting on the plane. Then having to sit there the entire flight butt naked. I’m sorry, is the seat scratchy? Is there a draft? Well that’s too bad.
Furthermore to risk your chair being damaged or heaven forbid be lost is something I can’t even fathom. Airlines seem to shrug it off like it’s no big deal. In my analogy imagine getting off the plane expecting your clothes. Oh sorry, the conveyor belt shredded them. Here’s where my analogy falls short. You can just stop and buy new clothes. A wheelchair, not so much.
Do you fly? How have your experiences been? Would you travel more if you could remain in your wheelchair?