View Full Version : Airline travel
03-19-2002, 07:53 PM
Sounds like a lot of you SCIs fly the major airlines. You know what a lousy hassle it is, with the aisle chair, getting an aisle seat, some of the armrests raise, some don't, etc. What would we need to do to standardize the procedure for all airlines? For instance, making the aisle seats in the bulkhead or first row of first class w/armrests that raise or can be removed for transfer. And speaking of transfers, how many of you have almost ended up in the hospital again because of some of those clods at the airport? What if they were to train some of these people in basic transferring procedures?
I suppose the FAA would be the place to start. Any ideas or suggestions? Is something like this already in the works?
03-23-2002, 04:15 PM
The Air Carrier Access Act defines the requirements for such things. Aircraft are required to have rows of seats with armrests that raise, but there is no provision mandating reserved bulkhead seating for folks in wheelchairs. People with guide dogs or "fused" knees unable to bend ARE entitled to bulkhead seating, however. People who assist you in boarding DO receive special training, although the competence of such individuals varies greatly. BTW, in many aircraft, the bulkhead row in coach also is the emergency exit row, so people with disabilities are not permitted to sit there.
My best advice is to know your rights under the Air Carrier Access Act, plan ahead and be knowledgeable about the airline and airport. When being transferred, describe what you need in detail. Be very proactive.
I won't fly unless I really have to. I have done it four times and find it extremely humiliating. Being carried up the stairs like a Hannibal-Lector Freak all strapped into the skinny little chair (that no one could fit in) by two guys saying "hahaha Good thing you are not as heavy as the last guy!" and "Whoooppps, haha just kidding" is not my idea of a good time. Ugh. I now know that I have to travel a day in advance to my destination just so that I can relax after the ordeal. It just about ruins my vacation every time and makes it not worth while.
The airlines have not thought things through well enough.
03-23-2002, 07:52 PM
It sounds like you either (a) fly out of a small airport that does not have jetways or (b) fly on small aircraft that must utilize stairs. If it is possible, I recommend checking on the aircraft type before booking your flight. Aircraft with 100 seats or more typically utilize jetways, which means no stairs to go up or down. You'd still have to use the aisle chair to get to your seat, however. I know this may not be possible for you, depending on where you live. It's unfortunate that your negative flying experiences are limiting your travel opportunities. Traveling with a disability takes a lot of planning, but it can be worth it in the long run.
03-25-2002, 10:33 AM
Got it right. Planning is the key.
Also, its sometimes easier to negotiate a first class seat if the flight's not booked solid.
It's really all in the preparation.
Onward and Upward!