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Assistance

Hastings, United...
Level Contributor
531 posts
6 reviews
Assistance

I was refused assistance by a member of the cabin crew last summer on my way home as he decided I was drunk, not disabled. It had been booked at check in on the way out. I phoned the airline when I got home giving his name and the flight number but was told that they couldn't do anything. I thought that this was illegal in Europe.This was with one of the major British Airlines and I was on a package trip so they were aware when I booked.

Neston
4 posts
1 review
1. Re: Assistance

I have not travelled alone but I always check in with the disabled travellers desk at the holiday airport. There seems to be so many agencies involved that communication gets lost. If you booked through a travel agency or other ask for info on disabled help at return airport and return flight. Good luck Alan

Nowy Sacz, Poland
Destination Expert
for Poland
Level Contributor
4,024 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Assistance

Sorry, but cabin crew have a lot to do and generally that does NOT include providing any/much help for disabled passengers. Most assistance ought to be arranged via the airline IN ADVANCE and provided by the airport - the airline's role ends with passing on the assistance booking and pointing you at the assistance desk, after check-in. In the air, they ought to help. But, again they have a hell of a lot to do and if you "just assumed" they'd be OK too help, you were (clearly) wrong.

I know how difficult this all is - I'm in a wheelchair - and sometimes airlines do drop the ball. Maybe that's what happened here, but your post does not read as if you did all you should in advance of your flights to secure proper assistance.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for TripAdvisor Support
Level Contributor
12,789 posts
28 reviews
3. Re: Assistance

So much depends on what you mean by "assistance" and also where your flight originated and terminated. (at least what countries)

Personally I would repost your question in the Air Travel forum, here on TA. That forum is frequented by many airline industry employees and very experienced flyers. Here is a link to that forum: tripadvisor.com/…first I'm sure you will get much discussion ingot question.

And if you do post there, they will need to know what you were asking for, like was it assistance with you bag, or down the jet way or just what.

Hastings, United...
Level Contributor
531 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Assistance

What happened was that there was no one to meet me at the aircraft at Gatwick. The flight attendent asked me to leavbe the plane and I told him that I was waiting for a chair/buggy. He then told me that they wouldn't help me just because I was drunk. I explained that the holiday company had been informrd when I booked and when I checked in at Gatwick on the way out. He repeated that he thought I was drunk and incinuated that I could be arrested.iif I did npot leave, which IO di with great difficulty and one of the airport staff phoned the assisstance desk once I was off the plane.

Edited: 11:06 am, March 31, 2013
Nowy Sacz, Poland
Destination Expert
for Poland
Level Contributor
4,024 posts
42 reviews
5. Re: Assistance

OK then, that clarifies and also to an extent matches an experience I had with Virgin Atlantic, returning from India to LHR 2 years ago. My wheelvhair had gone into the hold, so I had only crutches which I can use over very short distances. The crew waited till everyone else was off, as is normal, then said my chair was on the way and I could sit and wait at the top of the ramp. I exited the plane and sat watching all the crew leave. An airport staff member saw me and said what are you waiting for - I said my wheelchair. He went off and some time later returned with an a/p chair and took me to baggage reclaim where my chair had been dumped. No way could I have got there on my own, no way did VS help.

Which airline were you on?

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
13,627 posts
222 reviews
6. Re: Assistance

The airline crew always wants you to wait for your wheelchair, which is always "on the way" somewhere other than on the aircraft. This is because they cannot leave until you leave. The problem, as we all know, is that once you are off the plane there is no one around to insure that you re-connect with your wheelchair, and then you just have to depend on the kindness of strangers. If you remain on the plane the flight crew is motivated to make sure your wheelchair is delivered to you.

I generally just refuse to leave the plane until my wheelchair arrives. No one can force you to leave. If I have checked my wheelchair and depend upon wheelchair service provided by the airport I occasionally exit the plane and meet my wheelchair pusher at the end of the jetway. I do this only when I have a tight connection and do not have time to wait for the wheelchair to come to the door of the plane after all the passengers have left.

The airports I generally use have significantly improved management of wheelchairs in the last 12 months. I have never left the plane and not found my wheelchair waiting at the end of the jetway. I still consider it a bit of a risk, however.

As for refusing to make sure you were able to leave the plane because the airline employee thought you were drunk, I do not really understand this conclusion. Had you consumed alcohol on the plane? Does your disability produce speech problems? If you have difficulty communicating have you ever considered taking a small card that explains your communication problems so you can let people who do not know you read it and better understand your disability.

Personally I avoid drinking much alcohol when I travel. The last image I want to present is that of a person under the influence of alcohol.

London, England
Level Contributor
6,586 posts
72 reviews
7. Re: Assistance

I generally ensure I have the confirmation with me that I have requested wheelchair assistance. With low cost airlines this is normally printed on the boarding card. If I am travelling on a package tour (very rarely) I also make sure I have some sort of confirmation.

Surely the flight crew saw you had assistance when you boarded the aircraft at the start of your journey, so they would know you would need it at your destination?

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
13,627 posts
222 reviews
8. Re: Assistance

My problem has never been that the flight crew doesn't recognize my need for a wheelchair. My problem is that the ground staff either is very slow delivering my wheelchair to the plane or my request for wheelchair assistance has been messed up. I had a horrible experience in Amsterdam a few months ago. The wheelchair service was 60 minutes late. They use little electric carts and they only had room for one person. The young man driving the cart refused to call additional assistance for my 3 week post-surgical husband, but just ordered him to walk.

This rarely happens in the US, and has never happened to us in Istanbul, but does happen in foreign airports more frequently than it should.

Nowy Sacz, Poland
Destination Expert
for Poland
Level Contributor
4,024 posts
42 reviews
9. Re: Assistance

"just ordered him to walk" happened to us at Heathrow.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
13,627 posts
222 reviews
10. Re: Assistance

Yes. Everyone had raved about disabled services at Amsterdam. I was not impressed. We had an 18 year old nitwit practicing triage and using a set of criteria with no medical elements. It took my husband weeks to recover, and even though we had over three hours to make our connection he didn't arrive at the gate until after the gate agent had started boarding. I ask the KLM gate agent to send someone for my husband. He looked him up on his computer and said he could not help us because we were flying under a Delta flight number. Only a Delta representative could help us, but there were no Delta people at this airport.

Needless to say, I am going to avoid KLM and Amsterdam in the future. It is a pity because I think it is a nice airport if you do not need disability services.