Flying Disabled

Flying Disabled


Being a holiday week, some of you may be on the go, so I thought it would be fun to revisit a travel experience!  Enjoy… 




Did you know November is National Aviation Month?  And here at the My Odd Sock household, we are busy celebrating!

While I am frantically addressing my Avaition Month cards, our home is decorated with tinkling aircraft landing lights and filled with the sweet aroma of jet fuel.  It is a special time indeed!

Being Aviation Month, I thought I would give a flip of the tube sock to Southwest Airlines, who made flying with a wheelchair extremely easy!

Southwest logo

Southwest Airlines allowed me to “roll” all the way to the plane where I adeptly transformed from a skilled wheelchair driver into my uncoordinated, baby giraffe taking its first few steps, awkward scuffle-gait to my seat—any seat I wanted!

You see, Southwest Airlines, like most carriers, allow people who need assistance with screaming babies (or those with more walking aids than Ironman) to board the aircraft before others.

Funny thing, Southwest doesn’t have assigned seating, so flyers are put in “priority groups–A, B, C” and then are boarded in that order.  Well, chums in wheelchairs are given higher priority, so as we roll to our designated holding corral, I find myself in the middle of about 50 people in wheelchairs!  I had never seen so many in one place.  It was like the freakin Wheelchair Olympics!  I checked the calendar to see if it was Labor Day and time for the MDA telethon.  There were more wheels than a Goodyear Tire store!jet engine

Suddenly, a Southwest Airlines rep waded through the sea of chairs and approached ME for some polite chit-chat.  He thanked ME for flying with Southwest.

I asked my wife what that was all about—why did he only speak to me?

She replied, “Look around.  All these wheelchairs belong to the airport.  You are the only one with your own chair.”

Ahh, I see.

Being smarter than the average disabled bear, I surmised these people used “wheelchair assistance” so they could get higher priority and board the plane first.  First to board–first to get the complimentary bag o’ snacks.

My assumption was correct when we landed.  These people bolted from the plane like they were descendants of Jesse Owens.  If you looked close you could see little puffs of smoke behind each of their footfalls.  They put the NFL’s 40-yard dash times to shame!

It was so sad—yet, it was hysterical!

A sad reflection on how society circumvents policy to improve one’s own situation (pretty good for something written by an idiot, right?).

Oh well, what are you gonna do?  You can only laugh.

So, happy Aviation Month to all and thank you for flying with Southwest Airlines (figured maybe I could get a free ticket…. or a bag of snacks).


3 Replies to “Flying Disabled”

  1. Oh so true. This reminds me of the amusement parks and how they used to allow quick access. Of course, now you get a # and have to wait until what would have been your spot in line to arrive. It’s sad when people try to take advantage of any loophole they see, and ruin it for those of us who really could use it. I know I can’t stay in a 2 hour line for a coaster without being on the ground from the heat.

  2. I am hesitant to fly because I would have to check my power chair. My daughter had a job where she often flew. Every flight her luggage was either lost or damaged. I’m afraid of what would happen to my chair if I had to check it. Also I’m not sure how I would transfer to the seat of the plane since I use a lift to transfer in and out of my chair. Has anyone in this situation flown and can offer advice?

  3. I flew to Boston on Delta just last weekend and used wheelchair service for the first time. It was a good experience in the airport (I liked getting whisked to the head of the security line) but the plane was a different story. They took my cane away from me and stowed it! The call button was beyond my reach, I struggled to get up and push it to to have my cane handed to me so I could use the bathroom. Thank goodness I didn’t have a spastic bladder/bowel or incontinence that day!