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January 26: Skip the Carry On Luggage if Wheelchair Assistance is Required
I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I’ve been on travel and it’s been difficult to get the postings done in a timely manner. Having said that, this is also exactly how I came to this particular recommendation.
Traveling with someone who needs wheelchair assistance at airpots can be very challenging, physically and mentally. Not because of the person in need of assistance, but because of how airport/airline personnel handle these situations. In the past few months, I’ve been flying a lot with my mom, who needs wheelchair assistance, and the sheer volume of headache each airport/airline has caused us (with the exception of Jet Blue) has been profound. Everything from forgetting to provide the service (even when pre-requested and confirmed), to not taking her all the way to the gate as requested, to making us wait on the plane because they forgot to have it setup on the arrival, et al has been a headache.
However, the last straw was most recently with Air Canada. Upon having my mom cart driven to the gate, they would not provide her a wheelchair to the plane door (as needed and requested). The staff member actually had the audacity to tell me “You’re mom can walk, I just saw her”. She based this on my mom going from the cart to the seat. After telling her for the second time that my mom could not walk downhill on the slope to the plane gate, she grudgingly obliged and this is the kicker, refused to take her carry on luggage on the wheelchair! Mind you, we’ve been doing it that way since forever! She said the wheelchair was only for the passenger and their coat. What? So, who’s suppose to take the carry on? Apparently, she expected me to take my carry on and my mothers’ – 4 pieces between our two carry on rollers and the two personal items (backpacks). When asked what would’ve happened if mom was traveling alone, she said “we would put it on her lap.” I just couldn’t deal with this woman anymore.
Since you can’t always control airport/airline politics or staff personalities, my recommendation is DO NOT CARRY ON A LUGGAGE! Check your stuff in and let it be dealt with behind the scene. It is just not worth the headache.