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Wheelchair Help at the Airport!
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Wheelchair Help at the Airport!

Ok, this is more of a comment/rant, than a question.

Yesterday I was travelling home to Toronto, I flew Air Canada but I don't think it matters which airline I used,  I needed wheelchair assistance getting from the Gate to the baggage claim area.  This is pretty normal when I travel, since I can't walk distances, and at international airports you never know how far you have to walk.  Well I always ask for assistance when I book my flights, and it shows up on my boarding pass, so there shouldn't be any problems.  Well the whole plane had emptied, they always ask you to wait if you need assistance, and I went to the front of the plane. There were 2 of us who needed wheelchairs, and we waited and waited!  

The flight attendant said maybe if I start walking up the ramp I might find the "wheelchair person", so I started walking up the ramp and I had my cane so I was doing ok.  I did find the helper, who was extremely grumpy, and she had the most uncomfortable chair I had ever sat in? I explained to her that another gentleman was waiting in the plane for help.  She was obviously annoyed and called someone else on her phone.  She said "I thought there was only one on this flight" to the other person. I felt like a piece of baggage!  She left me sitting in the waiting area for another 10 minutes in the terminal, and basically just pushed me aside.  I sat and waited, by this time I was getting annoyed.  When she came back, she brought another chair and said sarcastically "hopefully you will like this chair".  Another person came to help, and they had put the poor man in the horrible chair! She pushed me to the baggage claim area and complained the whole way about pushing wheelchairs in the airport!!!! OMG

I have definitely had some great help at airports before, don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the help. It is great to have a kind person with a smile on their face push me to the baggage area, especially when I am travelling on my own.  But unfortunately the experience I had yesterday was not uncommon. I've had quite a few dreadful experiences like this one, where I felt like I was treated like cargo and not like a person! I have also seen elderly passengers, who need help, getting the same crummy treatment.

This time, I will write to Air Canada and complain. (i'm not usually a complainer, but I think I have to become one).
I am getting fed up of feeling inferior when I travel, and I think companies need to hire people who understand how to treat a disabled person with dignity.
And at the very least, the wheelchairs should be available as promised when the flight lands, that would be a start.

I would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences.
Thanks for listening, Sue
4 Comments
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Well, bless your heart..I  lived overseas for 18 yrs and last couple of yrs asked for wheelchair help when I was getting ticket..
This really helped as I traveled all over the world. I have chronic neuropathy pain and love to walk but Lordy these airports are getting so large!.. my unfortunate need was respected by most airports that could..sometimes I had to remind them..pointing at my watch or the clock or my ticket...that I had to go NOW..
In your case, vent! It never hurts to let an airline know that your needs were so rudly handled...
It hopefully will make them send a letter to that manager..requiring a review of competency and kindness...
Some employees in these settings vent their frustrations on others thinking they will never see the same person again..
I think companies should hire people with special needs to go to different places and report kindness or ineptness..
I know some places do this but you need to help all of us and vent..I think I went thru Thailand 20 times in1year..the employees that were rude found out that I was a person that did not tip well if not treated with respect.Fortunately, the managers saw me enough to realize my complaints were valid..
Blessings on future travels...

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3112530_tn?1342559764
Reading this post is hard....I know how big airports can be and how busy the people behind the counter can be. There is always an excuse.
I traveled with a friend many years ago but when I called for tickets ahead of time, I reminded them that I needed special attention for a patient who was in a wheelchair. I told them when I ordered the tickets and they told me that when I show up, the attention would be given. This was a small airport but when I arrived, the attention was given although I had to wait a bit. Not long.
As a disabled person, you have rights. If you need special accommodation, speak to a head honcho or someone in authority and get a name. Let them know your experience in the past and that you will complain to the newspapers, or the disabled association or even get a lawyer if needed. That will get their attention. You should not have to walk if you cannot and if you need special attention, be patient, but demand that you need assistance. Get to know names, it helps. Someone will snap to attention when you require assistance next time. They will know you are coming.
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139792_tn?1299416777
Misbehavior or negligence of an airline employee should be reported to the authority. For an airline point of view, this issue may be minor whereas for the passenger it becomes a major issue, making the traveling cumbersome.  Three times we went USA , each time passing through air ports. Luckily we receive good attention, help with custom and visa department and courteous attitude. This help made our journey smooth and trouble free.
I infer from their talks that probably wheel chair assistants are not their permanent employee.They are hired on daily basis. This is just my guess.I am sure your complain will get some result.
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1683709_tn?1370713201
Thanks so much Icannot, Madman, and Dalubaba, for the kind words of support.  

I will definitely follow through and send a complaint to the airline.  I know workers are probably overworked and underpaid, but to be treated like baggage is very demeaning. I always thank these workers for their help, and tell them how much I appreciate their service.

I have had some great help, but I have seen many people being treated poorly just because they are elderly or have a disability.  We just need a little  help when travelling.  I think they forget, that we are customers of the airline too!

I'm happy to be home.
We are having a beautiful snow fall today. It is soft and fluffy snow and looks gorgeous on the trees.  It really brightens up the long dark days of winter. Take care, Sue
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