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  • deann-r

    February 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Interesting.  Still doesn’t change the biggest drawback for me with traveling, not being able to stay in my wheelchair on the plane.  Progress is progress though, so kudos for that anyway.

    • kevin-schaefer

      February 18, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      I hear you there. It’ll be interesting when I fly this summer for the Cure SMA conference. Fingers crossed they don’t mess up my chair.

  • kelly-miller

    February 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    The last couple of times I flew things were not very good. On 1 of my trips, the head stewardess would not let me board because I didn’t have someone flying with me to accept responsibility for me. Accept responsibility? I was fuming and refused to leave the gangway until she changed her mind. Fortunately for their flight time schedule and the other passengers on the plane, a very nice pilot who was flying to his next assignment volunteered to sit next to me, keeping me from doing God knows what. You can bet I wrote a very long letter to Delta on that one!

    The 2nd episode was when I went from Atlanta to Minneapolis with my wheelchair soccer team for a week of playing in exhibition games. I took 2 wheelchairs, my regular one I used for the past 10 years and my brand-new one that I was trying to get used to. After the flight home, I waited in baggage for Delta (yes, it was them again) to bring my new wheelchair to me. I waited 30 mins before they finally told me they could not find it. I spent the next 3 days on the telephone with many different reps and supervisors trying to figure out exactly where my chair had gone missing. When I was about to admit defeat, the baggage supervisor called to tell me they had located my chair. It had mysteriously turned up at the Minneapolis airport undoubtedly because it never actually made it on the flight home. All I could do was be thankful I had 2 chairs, so I wasn’t stuck with no way to get around, and we had been on the way home instead of on the way there.

    I realize this article is about the progression of accessibility in airports, but I don’t think we can let it cover up the fact that the airline companies have made no advancements in dealing with power wheelchairs on their airplanes. Although my stories were episodes that happened 20 years ago, they could’ve easily been situations taking place in 2019. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy not to have to be laid down on the floor in the Chicago airport restroom (if I was flying thru there), but I also feel we have to continue to fight for better accessibility on airplanes and hold the airlines accountable for not progressing in their attitudes toward customers that use wheelchairs. Until we can sit in our chairs, have clamps in the floors to secure us just like in automobiles, we will not be treated with the same respect and importance as any other airline passenger.

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