I am freezing, let’s get going!!!


I took the ad hoc decision to follow the established tradition as German retiree and drive around on the canary islands in the coming winter.
Because the journey with the boat would be “going” a little bit too slow (actually it wouldn’t matter, I would have time and could “sit” it out easily) I decided anyhow in favour of flying.

Because I have already gone through a couple of flight miles with a wheelchair and experienced some weird things here are some tips.

Flight trips with wheelchair made easy!

When booking at your travel agency specify already any required medical devices with indication of size and weight, and if required additional assistance at the airport. Medical devices will be transported free of charge anywhere.
It came to my attention that if you need to take along any hard drugs, especially at the entry of the United States, a medical certificate and a lot of time is required.

At the check-in, approach an airport employee and get to the check-in counter with him from the side without any bad conscience, independent of the length of the queue.
Alternatively there is a “handicapped meeting point” in the terminals with an assistance button, after pressing of which a professional wheelchair pusher is coming who will manage everything.

In Frankfurt it is allowed to sit in your own wheelchair until you reach the door of the aircraft. Usually you are the first passenger on the flight. Then you are carried by two “volunteers” in a small plane wheelchair which reminds a bit of a sack truck to your seat, and then the “dwarf tossing” to the window seat begins.

Now it is advisable to pray.
Will your own wheelchair find its way into the cargo bay of the same aircraft?
Will your wheelchair be available and navigable at the destination airport?

In order to avoid that your wheelchair will be treated like ordinary luggage at the destination airport, but hopefully will be brought to the exit of the plane instead there is a label:

Delivery at Aircraft.

This means for the luggage guys at the plane as much as: Please be so kind not to load the object adherent to the label on the luggage cart and leave it here!!!
Keep the labels, don’t throw them away, you might need them for the return flight.

Sometimes there are no more labels available, which might end up extremely annoying when you are still sitting in the plane, and the wheelchair is already lying on the bulky luggage belt in the terminal.

The airport employees around the world are trained so well, they even manage to fold a wheelchair with a rigid-welded frame.
Although I have a foldable wheelchair it has a cross bar to attach an electric wheelchair-tractive type Minitrac. What I have experienced with that, see older blog post.

When the luggage loaders tried to fold my wheelchair it ended with little crashes several times already. Meanwhile I have a reversible, bilingual label on the seat:

Wheelchair not foldable.

It helped the last two times.

I have another label to offer:

Handle with care!

It probably doesn’t help, but brightens the wheelchair up with its red and blue design.

You shouldn’t forget to remind a flight attendant approximately 30 minutes before landing that you are a wheelchair user.

The pilot then hopefully won’t forget the notification at the destination airport, and the probability to leave the aircraft in a reasonable time increases dramatically.

Have fun with your next flight trip!!!

When I think about it, maybe I should better take the boat after all!

Translator BL

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