My flights from Denver to Lynchburg on US Airways went very well. Last time I flew US Airways was some years ago, with a wheelchair, crutches and my three young children. We were pre-boarded, but when I asked to have my folding wheelchair stowed on board, I was left teetering on crutches on the jetway until every other passenger boarded, because the flight crew was annoyed with my request and made me wait for a CRO. In the meantime my kids, sans boarding passes, had to stand in the aisle because they didn’t know where their seats were (or where I was, for that matter). I’ve avoided US Airways strenuously ever since.
But things change. The loading by aisle chair in Denver was somewhat Mickey Mouse; the single gate agent who did it figured he knew more than I did, so he didn’t fasten the straps, then tilted me forward rather than back to get onto the aircraft. I fell forward but luckily not out.
In Charlotte I did the 100 yard (actually, considerably more) dash from the B concourse to the E concourse, and entered the goofy world of little commuter planes. I was directed to four different gates and eventually wound up in the right place. Scott Rains clued me into what to expect:
Here’s what I expect you’ll find at the turboprop. They’ll load you into an aisle chair and either take you up in a modified forklift use also for baggage and cabin supplies like food. Or they will roll you into a medeival battering ram-like thing (also built on a forklift frame) they call a sky bridge. It ends in this adrenline evoking “gangplank” that you take into the cabin where a well-muscled surfer dude jockeys the chair around a hairpin turn and into a slim-fit beauty parlor chair-with-a-view. Charming, really.
It was the latter, including the surfer dude, which I appreciated. On arrival at Lynchburg I was fairly mortified to see my friends watching the whole process in reverse from the large terminal windows. But there were no big surprises and no disappointments.
More to come.