I’ve been on two flights since I’ve been disabled and both were horrendous experiences. One was in 1998 from Providence to Orlando and the other was in 2002 from Providence to Orlando. The flight attendants were kind and accommodating but I believe the airlines have a long way to go regarding the disabled flying. I was very uncomfortable that I had to leave my wheelchair at the gate and was told it was to be placed in cargo area. This was very scary to me for if anything happened to my chair, I wouldn’t be able to get around at all. Then I found it very humiliating to get me on my seat. I was placed on a very small aisle chair with tiny wheels which I barely fit in and wheeled down to my seat which I was transferred to. Once in my seat, I felt very trapped for I could not get to the bathroom or move about.
I’ve heard that now there are some airplanes which have wider aisles and accessible bathrooms and a folding wheelchair on the plane. I think this would make a trip easier so maybe one day I’ll fly for there are so many places I would like to visit that are only reachable by plane.
Our main recommendation is that airlines have an empty space in the front row of plane which would fit a wheelchair. The wheelchair could then be strapped in place for safety as it is in a van, a handicap accessible taxi, a bus or a train. This way I could stay in my wheelchair feeling safe and secure!! If a wheelchair space was not needed on the flight then they could snap in place some regular passenger seat so that the airline wouldn’t lose money on an empty seat.
We give the Airlines THREE STARS for making some planes more accessible. They could earn the other Two Stars if they had a space for a wheelchair on the plane so a disabled person can remain in their chair.