Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Too good to be true…

The biggest concern (for my mum anyway) about going away on holiday was the plane journey. She absolutely hates flying and used the excuse that there always problems for disabled passengers. Although there have been nightmare stories of parts being damaged in the hold, I’ve spoken to many people in wheelchairs who fly frequently and have had no difficulties. Last time we flew anywhere was Cyprus (as you know) when I was still managing to walk, albeit like a drunk. So my mum took some convincing to accept that an aeroplane was equipped to take a ‘Wheelchair Boy’.

The next decision was whether to fly Ryanair or easyJet. The two powerhouses of budget airlines (I watched a documentary about their rivalry). Both flights cost about the same but in the end, it was an ‘easy’ choice when deciding what ‘Jet’ to fly with if you get my drift. Apparently they lost a lawsuit recently so the way they treat disabled passengers has changed but when I read they charged people for having a wheelchair, I was put off them forever. This is just an example of the way that Ryanair have discriminated against people in the past and it’s why I think that they’re a company that lack an ounce of class.

Getting in and out at both ends was simple, which lead to me questioning my mum as to why she had put it off for so long. The assistance staff were second to none and done everything they could to help, even if the Spanish ones did have B.O. At Luton, I went out on the tarmac, got a lift up to the plane door, and transferred into an ambulance chair before being assisted into the seat. The same happened at Alicante but they had one of them tunnels straight onto the plane so it was even quicker. The only thing I didn’t like was on the outgoing flight, I was the last person on so everyone was staring. I turned the corner and rows of people were just looking back at me. A bit embarrassing.

However, that wasn’t major. Just made me feel a tad image conscious. Apart from the turbulence, both flights went without a hitch and the service was perfect…well almost. We touched down in Luton at about 1AM. A man came on and asked if my wheelchair only had one footrest. When I said no, he said that it was missing but not to worry. I was slightly irritated and confused how they lost it. Hopefully, it wasn’t still in Spain. We went to the baggage collection desk and asked for help. She immediately rang through so the hold could be checked again.
I was getting more angry reading signs saying we are not responsible for lost straps, foot plates, equipment etc. Basically, easyJet don’t do responsibility. Should be their new tag line.

Just as my mum was about to say “I told you so”, the original man came round the corner saying that he found it on the conveyor belt. What? Are baggage handlers morons? Surely when assembling a wheelchair, you’d realise one footplate is missing and the piece of plastic you put in with the bags might be it. Common sense.

The message for disabled passengers flying is the people are very helpful but take off all the parts that could go missing and just leave the bare frame to go in the hold. That way, idiots won’t be able to lose things and it should go smoothly.

Bye for now!

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