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Thread: San Francisco trip review

  1. #1
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Philadelphia, Pa

    San Francisco trip review

    Hi all, I'm finally getting around to doing a review of my recent trip to the California area, which included San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, and the Big Sur area. Unfortunately, the trip started off about as bad as it could. We had an early flight out of Philadelphia, leaving at 6 AM. We made it through security without a hitch and checked in early to remind the airline of my special boarding needs. Unfortunately when it was time to board, the airline sent three individuals who were not equipped to lift someone of my height, nor did it seem like they were properly trained on how to lift an individual with a disability, period. I was subsequently dragged from my chair, to the aisle chair, to the airplane seat, nearly being dropped numerous times. The flight itself went smoothly, but the same mishaps occurred when being unloaded from the plane upon arrival in San Francisco. It was not until later that night when I discovered just how much my body had been battered and bruised. I literally had bruises and abrasions from my neck down to my feet, with large bruises covering my back and hip. Worse yet, an incision from a previous skin flap had been opened up. Needless to say, this put a severe damper on a trip that I had planned for 11 months. I submitted a complaint to united airlines, but have yet to hear from them. A learning experience from all of this that I used on the flight home was to insist that the airline provide me with larger people to lift if possible.

    Back to the trip itself:

    When we arrived in San Francisco, we used a baggage delivery service that delivered our bags to the hotel directly within four hours of our arrival. This allowed us to use BART, which was completely accessible. We took BART to the Powell Street Station, and walked the couple blocks to our hotel at the Grand Hyatt. The hotel itself was very nice, the only downside is they are currently doing construction in the Union Square area which resulted in very loud, sleepless nights.

    I had brought our Hoyer lift with us, and upon arriving to the hotel room, discovered that there was not enough clearance under the bed. A quick phone call to the front desk and maintenance quickly brought blocks to place under the bed for additional clearance.

    After settling in, we took the F-line trolley to the Ferry Market Building for lunch at Hog Island Oyster Company. From what I had read prior, the trolley will only stop at the wheelchair loading area if there is enough room on it. Fortunately, we were able to cram on it for the ride down to lunch, however we did not have any luck any other time during our trip. After a quick bite to eat, we took the public bus (1 bus) to the Cable Car Museum. Unfortunately, I confused which street to get off of which left us several blocks from the museum, and left to navigate some very steep hills. The museum is an interesting, working museum, although it was extremely hot inside. We decided to stroll back to the hotel, and relax until dinner. From the hotel we took the 45 bus to Hyde Street for our dinner reservation at Frascati's (delicious), and then walked over to Lombard Street in the hopes of getting some night pictures of car trails going down the street. Unfortunately although being aware of the sudden change in weather, we still were not prepared for what seemed like a 20? drop in temperature within minutes, so we ditched the idea of staying around after sunset, and grabbed the bus back to the hotel. That is where things got even more interesting. When we got to our stop, the bus lift would not work. The San Francisco fire department had to Come and lift me out of the bus. What a way to end our first day!

    The second day, the morning started out cold and foggy so we decided to try our luck with an accessible cab, and to our surprise one was at the hotel within 10 minutes. We did not have any luck the remainder of our trip, however, with getting an accessible cab. We were told by the taxi dispatcher that there was only one working accessible taxi in the entire city. Anyhoo, we took the ferry over to Sausalito to sightsee a bit, and to grab a bite of lunch (Napa Valley Burger Company), before returning on the ferry to fisherman's wharf. Because of the medical issues resulting from the flight, I canceled our evening plans so that I can get some bed rest. We had an early dinner at Tadich Grill, and then off to some bedrest I went.

    Friday we rented a wheelchair accessible minivan, which we had for the remainder of our trip. Today was the day most impacted by my aches and pains, as we had to scratch much of our itinerary. We drove to Fort Point to get a good vantage point of the GG Bridge, strolled a bit along the bridge itself, and then drove to Baker Beach. After an early dinner at Nopalito, off to bed I went again.

    Saturday morning started with our drive along Highway 1 to Monterey, where we checked in at the Monterey Plaza Hotel/Spa. I can't say enough about this hotel?top notch in every respect, and absolutely beautiful. We strolled down to Monterey's Fishermans Wharf, then back for an early dinner at Chart House, which has beautiful views of the bay. From there we drove to Bixby Bridge for sunset pictures, and were not disappointed. Then back to the hotel.

    Sunday we began the day at Asilomar Beach, where they have a beautiful accessible walkway. We then drove 17-mile drive, another beautiful scenic drive, before then driving Highway 1, stopping for a late lunch at Nepenthe. We found our way to McWay Falls for sunset pictures, before making the nerve-wracking drive back to the hotel in the dark.

    Monday, we spent the morning at Point Lobos Reserve, which was very accessible, and beautiful. From there we drove to Carmel, stopping for lunch at Casanovas. We then headed back toward our last hotel near the airport, first stopping at Henry Cowell State Park. We had a wonderful time, only wishing we could have our first few days back.

  2. #2
    United Airlines has contracted its passenger assistance services to a independent corporation called AirServ.
    These untrained and terribly unprepared AirServ workers could not safely lift my husband from aisle chair to seat and vice versa during our SF trip last month.
    Your care in their hands sounds like it was much worse. I hope you took pictures of the bruises and the flap scar because what they did is just completely unacceptable.
    United Airlines disability services office took a "not our employee" approach. I have still not gotten a response from AirServ's local or Corporate offices.

    It sounds like you had a great time while you were there. What a beautiful city.

    Take care of that flap scar.
    Last edited by 2drwhofans; 10-12-2014 at 03:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Thank you for that info. I submitted a formal complaint with United when I returned home, but no response to date. Fortunately after several weeks of bedrest and missed work, my wound has healed.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Domosoyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thank you for the great review for future reference. It is so frustrating after all your best efforts of planning a great trip that these airline beasts start things off in such an awful way. (Also, I have to say the fire department was kind of funny but probably not at the time...)

    Best of luck with your complaint. Since you haven't heard anything, might you consider help from a local media outlet or legal?

    Happy you still managed to have a good time!

  5. #5
    Keep complaining, you deserve better treatment than you got.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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