Flying with a wheelchair is very strenuous especially if like me your legs don’t work at all. It leaves you exhausted and sweating so connecting flights are very strenuous. Additionally some flight staff at small airports aren’t really prepared to help you. So please take this article into account before traveling if you’re wheelchair bound. There is some critical information in here that just might save you from having to take a later flight!
We walked up to the check in counter as usual to get our tickets when the Delta employee asks “is that Oxygen you have?” since I had my nasal Cannula in as I sat in my wheelchair holding my carry on and my O2 concentrator. He told us we need to have a form filled out to bring that on our flight, ridiculous why is it considered a bludgeoning device? My doctor wrote me a prescription for constant low flow O2 because I need it not because I enjoy the sound of the concentrator or because it’s a cool fashion accessory! I don’t see why the FAA or any airline should have ANY say over what prescribed items I take on a flight. I mean if I wanted to harm people I could go around giving them 4 dilaudid each saying it’s for nausea and they’d all die. However they let me take that on my carry on, see what I mean here I had a case of lethal medications on board and much more than I needed for a flight yet I couldn’t have the very same O2 they drop down in the event of an emergency anyways in the silly airplane.
I didn’t argue though I just got frustrated and accepted the situation. Then they took me through security I put all my usual carry on items through the x-ray machine then they rolled me around since I cannot stand. I figured they were giving me a break since my legs don’t work…nope mandatory pat down and a pat down of my wheelchair as if I was trying to smuggle cocaine to the damn Mayo Clinic and I told the officer I was in severe pain with a potentially termina;l illness and where I was headed. He was kind but very rough with his pat down and due to my allodynia I was nearly ready to cry by the end of it all. No privacy either this was done right in front of everyone embarrass the guy in the wheelchair great, make him look like a drug dealer or something.
Anyway after a thorough pat down I was finally released to my mother who was waiting with all of my stuff. We get to our gate and they’re waiting with this small chair that fits in the aisle so they can load up my wheelchair. The problem is my legs don’t work at all so I needed help moving to the new chair. This transfer was great at LaGuardia 6 people helped pick me up and move me and position my feet on the rests. It was very kind of them and they also picked me up again to drop me into my seat all very helpful. At our connection and Rochester though they expected me to transfer myself they sent old men and women. I understand people need a job but hire people who can actually do that job. None of these people even helped lift me or even position my legs I had to contort my body to lift my 255lb frame out of the seat and onto that small chair the next 3 times I had to do this, I can barely lift my dog so imagine how exhausted I was after lifting myself 3 times and throwing my whole body into a tiny chair making sure I didn’t fall off. My arms still hurt someone needs to change the way this is done I could’ve easily broken my arm or fallen doing all of that.
So travelers keep in mind 2 things to check for any forms you may have to fill out to take your medical devices on flights, and if you use a wheelchair call each airport give them your name and flight and tell them you NEED to be picked up literally, I had never flown in this condition so I didn’t know but I do now and that’s why I am sharing the information with all of you! This article should help a ton of people become better prepared for their travels. Enjoy you flights in the future and I hope your experiences aren’t as miserable as mine was.