Archive for January 4th, 2012

Technical Aids Test Week Lanzarote part one

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

This time, the compatibility of my wheelchair-tractive “Minitrac”

with my leg orthosis should have been primarily in focus of this technical aids test week.

Well, this masterplan could not be realized hundred percent.

Following the freightage chaos with my Minitrac from Crete back to Frankfurt (see older post) in June I started a new attempt.

This time everything should have been organised better, I wanted to estimate all eventualities, the destination were the Canary Islands, Lanzarote to be precise.

The only plane that flies from Frankfurt to Lanzarote on Sundays already leaves the ground at five o’clock in the morning

And if it is Christmas day, to say December, 25th 2011, this case gets an extra kick.

My medical devices, the wheelchair and the Minitrac (a weight of roundabout 70 Kg) were registered at TUIfly by my travel agency. These medical devices are transported by airlines for free when you register them previously, but the Minitrac was not mentioned on the confirmation of TUIfly.

After an inquiry at the TUIfly Hotline they confirmed the registration, but only the IT-System knows why only half of the medical devices registration arrived at my travel agency in black and white (or: in writing).

Because I live nearby the airport (the sound of the new runway is an insistent proof of this outstanding infrastructure) I considered a pick-up time by the transport service at 02:45 o’clock reasonable. Therefore the giving time of christmas gifts on Decembre 24th had to be a little bit shorter…

Already a couple of months before I fixed this pick-up time with the wheelchair transport service. I repeat: Decembre, 25th 2011 at 02:45 o’clock in the morning. That’s a point…

Three days before departure I wanted to have a confirmation for this appointment again – I enjoy making phone calls often to chase things up.

Nobody could remember the date to pick me up at home for transport to the airport.

The wheelchair taxi that we have in our luxury city Frankfurt is at night on duty by direct call only, which makes sense when you have a flat tyre or are „flat“ in another sense while you are “on tour” in the middle of the night. Unfortunately making a reservation is not possible.

With assistance I can get on and off a normal taxi.

Heavy hearted I decided to postpone my planned Minitrac-leg orthosis-compatibility-test, because I won’t expect any taxi driver to heave my Minitrac in and out of the car boot, sniiif…

I almost wanted to discharge my technical aids test travelling, but then I hoped to get some cognitions about the accessibility on Lanzarote.

I explained to the employee at the taxi office my handicaps in an explicit way, and that I couldn’t manage the height of the seat of an Opel Zafira. With an extra ordered „Stuttgartian estate car“ (Mercedes Benz (translator’s note)) the fifteen-minute-expedition to the airport, leaving my Minitrac at home, should start.

Wonder of wonders, after having a sleep for minimum one and a half hours, the taxi arrived very punctual at 02:40 o’clock. I went down the stairs with my stair lift (sometimes I will introduce that thing too) and was struck dumb at the sight of that stuttgartian car…!!!

My estate car with the star turned out to be a bus named „Vitara“. Seat height – no comment…

Now I know that at taxis busses and estate cars are the same and that you have to specify your wish when you order one. Strange thing…

With push, tear, press and shoveI I managed to get in and out of the bus still alive at the airport.

At the desk of TUIfly it was, like in the whole airport, still quiet at 03:15 o’clock in the morning. Checking the IT my medical devices weren’t registered at all.

Why am I calling hotlines at all??? However, my wheelchair was then declared without further ado.

At the security check my wheelchair was tested for explosives by adhesive strips. My question what will happen when I come back on January 1st and there were residues of gun powder from new year fireworks on my wheelchair, was answered succinctly, that I have to explain that to the German Federal Police then. And I wanted to get back from Lanzarote sometimes even before I got there.

The lifting bus took us to the plane and I was transferred to the airplane-wheelchair.

For me it is a bit of cheek when the aircraft is already fully occupied and you as a wheelchair user, placed on an airplane-wheelchair, are as the last passenger torn by two airport-employees through the corridor of the plane and thrown on the window seat .

As a crowning conclusion that plane had a special painting. I don’t have anything against the Peanuts or the “Maus” (German TV-comic mouse (translator’s note)), but why did it have to be this football club from Hannover?!? For me as a citizen of Frankfurt an absolutely no-go!

I would never have entered a plane with a label of Bayern Munich!

To be continued!!!

Translator Teo