Today I’m traveling to California (from Connecticut). It’s been a while since my last flight, since last August when I went to Miami. That was my first post-amputation flight. This is the second.
I give high marks to the Hartford, Connecticut, Bradley International airport. All of the staff were courteous, friendly and helpful. I got a wheelchair ride right away, no waiting, from the ticket counter to the gate. The Delta Airlines gate agent came over, introduced himself and offered his assistance. I visited the rest room (in wheelchair) and was happy to find a commodious handicapped stall. It took a bit of maneuvering to get the door closed (ultimately I used my cane), but once situated in the stall I had plenty of room to move around.
At the security checkpoint, I asked the TSA officer to be gentle. "My balance isn't very good," I explained, "last time, in Miami, I was almost knocked over by the officer." She smiled and agreed. The gate agent helped me board even before early boarding was announced.
The airport has free wifi throughout, so I was able to download email and even do a little bit of writing while I waited. On board, the flight staff were friendly and helpful. I loosened the pin and slipped off my leg. I was wearing a dress, which made doffing my leg easier. It reseted under my skirt for the flight. I also brought a light shawl with me, planning to drape it over my lap if I needed more privacy.
All in all, I found that by allowing myself extra time, asking politely and giving people big smiles, it was not at all difficult soliciting help from others. Of course I hope that I always treat others kindly, but for this trip I was on my best behavior. It's true: a smile is contagious. Pass it on.
POSTED ON AMPUTEE EMPOWERMENT PARTNERS 26 AUG 2011, 02:30 PM