Travel with my disabled husband long thread @Tanni_GT 1) pre holiday: despite years of travel with no issues or claims insurance for a two week trip: £3k! The difference: having to have oxygen. #NearlyGaveUp & 2 out of 3 airlines wanted fit to fly forms filling in. Expected that
2) despite signing in previous years, GP decided they didn’t know enough about his condition so wouldn’t! As airlines want forms signing no more than 14 days before flying had to beg v busy consultant to fill in forms ASAP & GP sent him details of other condition #NearlyGaveUp
3) consultant agreed to signing off both conditions. Phew. These were finally complete 4 days prior to flying. Meanwhile had to source O2 for US. Had prechecked we could get husband’s regular O2 bottles and been sent pictures. Only to find out when sending in booking we couldn’t!
3) & if they had they’d be £500 per bottle (one a day!). He has used an O2 concentrator before but not worked well enough. #NearlyGaveUp Search for a higher powered one. Found. £1k for hire! He wanted to try it to ensure fit for purpose. They don’t allow visits! #NearlyGaveUp
4) so do we take a chance for a 12 hour flight? No he battles on & they finally let him go try it 7 days before flying. It works. Phew. Has to be pulled not carried but we’ll cope. So ready to go? Nope 3rd airline @Delta decides it does want a form signed by Doctor! 4 days to go
5) too late to get consultant to do new doc. #NearlyGaveUp Finally they agree to accept form for other airline! (Please can there be one form for all airlines that can be signed off sooner for long term stable chronic conditions @AirCanada @VirginAtlantic @Delta.) So good to fly?
6) @VirginAtlantic still provide bottled O2 for flights hoorah. But we need the concentrator for US and other flights, which has to go hand luggage and we prechecked that would be OK with Virgin. Get to Heathrow, ground team pass us to go on board with it all. Begin to relax...
7) until @VirginAtlantic flight team say can’t have 6 lithium batteries on flight only two. But @Delta won’t let us fly home with less than 6! Nervous 10 mins while pilot makes final decision. If he says no, we can’t go as Delta wouldn’t let us fly back. He says yes. Phew.
8) Arrive at SF and wheelchair waiting for us (husband struggles with long distances walking in airport as have to carry the equipment between us too). Unfortunately no carrying space in wheelchair so I carry what I can and he has rest piled on him, resembles Where’s Wally.
9) @flySFO @HeathrowAirport @FlyEIA @mspairport you need trolleys for passengers with medical equipment. As carer, it was tough to carry so much and humiliating for husband to be piled high. It is heavy. We don’t want to be confined to the Gate for hours. We shop & eat too!!
10) we cannot fault the wheelchair support we got from @AirCanada & @Delta at @FlyEIA to and from gates. The helper from Delta at FlyEIA takes the prize for getting us to a restaurant then coming back to get us to gate and helping me carry everything on board. #thankyou.
11) in other airports I had to push husband in loaded wheelchair with one hand, carry other luggage on shoulders and pull a contractor #juggling #packhorse. One last struggle to come on our return, though.
12) Assistance team @LHR is very understaffed and lost the ability to communicate with its disabled passengers as humans. The guy who arrived with wheelchair didn’t communicate, was clearly harassed and we felt like annoying packages. When we got to the border control...
13) 8 passengers in wheelchairs ahead & 1 behind & 1 harassed woman to manage who was struggling & ignoring us all @LHR I kept everyone moving forward!! Other side, 10+ waiting to be taken to baggage claim. So I set off with wheelchair luggage & concentrator...again. Tough slope!
14) The holiday was worth the stress. But @Tanni_GT should it be this tough to travel with disabilities? Less determined & savvy travellers would not have set off. Every airport and airline claims to have equal access but need to really look at customer experience. #NearlyGaveUp
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