Thanks to my on-going remission (hooray!), I flew last week with only crutches, no wheelchair, and discovered that this made me a second class crip.
Mistake #1: not getting an airport wheelchair. Despite my abhorrence of being pushed, it would have saved a lot of walking and standing around wear and tear.
Mistake #2: not insisting on pre-boarding. Pre-boarding was not offered or announced on either of my flights, I assume because I was merely using crutches. I’ve occasionally missed pre-boarding while using a wheelchair, but at least with a wheelchair I get to sit while waiting in the huge slow line on the jetway. With crutches, I just get to suffer. So I’ve invented post-boarding – wait for everyone else to board, then amble on last. This works for me mostly because I take hardly anything on trips with me, so I’m not obsessed about good overhead bin space.
Being a second class crip also meant that no one gave a rat’s ass about how far back my seat was – usually when I get assigned 27F, the gate agent is quick to understand that it’s a long hard trip back there. On one of my flights, I asked if there was a better seat. The agent looked at my boarding pass and said, “It’s a window seat, what’s the problem?” I clarified that “better” meant “closer to the front”, so he graciously (ha!) reassigned me to 25F.
I spent most of the flight thinking about reasonable accomodation versus favorable treatment, and about whether previous flights had spoiled me.
Very happy about your remission. What a good start to the New Year. Too bad that the Airline personelle were not as cordial to you as they should be. But the remission is great!
Makes me scared to even think about airport treks since…ah…gimphood..has struck! Your suggestions for how to avoide some uncomfortable experiences have been tucked away against the future. Thanks!