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OUR PERSONAL HORROR STORIES
We travelled first class from Hawaii to Los Angeles. We had carefully arranged for a wheelchair “at both ends” of the flight, I believe the airline people were upset with us because of the number of times I called to remind them each time asking for reassurance that the request was in our record.
When we arrived at LAX at 1.30am there was no wheelchair. The flight attendants asked us to wait on the jet way near the door which we did. The flight attendants and the captain locked the plane and left us standing on the jet way just outside the door of the plane. I reminded them as they left that we needed a wheelchair. Several said they would be sure to get one. NO ONE EVER SHOWED UP. I was frantic. It would be difficult for my wife to walk uphill on the jet way to the gate. I was afraid to leave her alone, but had no choice. Fortunately, the door between the gate and the jet way was unlocked, possibly for the expected wheelchair. I ran through the deserted area and found a wheelchair which I commandeered and took back to the plane where I got my wife and I pushed her and the chair up the ramp and the deserted terminal to the street where there were cabs (we don’t check luggage).
On a flight from Boston, the wheelchair attendant took us to the wrong gate and left us there taking the chair with him. When we realized the gate area was empty, we learned that the gate had been changed and we learned of the correct gate. Without a chair we could not get to the correct gate. I ran to the correct gate and the plane was still at the gate, but they had given away our seats to someone else and declared us “no shows” because they called our names at the new gate but not the old gate. We had to cancel the 4 day balance of our trip, but the airline allowed us to trade our tickets for an immediate return flight to Los Angeles.
Generally the airlines do care about selling their seats to seniors who need wheelchairs to get to and from the plane, but they typically contract out to other companies, sometimes resulting in wheelchair pushers who sometimes neither read or understand English. In both cases, if we have had our own wheelchair we could have resolved the problem.
The cruise line met us at baggage claim, took our claim checks and told us to "START OUR VACATION" our luggage did not get to the ship for 8 days. The airline and the cruise line blame each other, but we did not have luggage.
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