140. Airport Wheelchair Service

Airport Wheelchair Service

When we went to Florida recently I managed to get off of the plane on my own steam in Orlando.  I congratulated myself on being so amazingly mobile and then promptly fell against the wall outside the plane door.  “Just kidding, just kidding!” I told the couple of wheelchair handlers who were waiting on the walkway’s platform (or maybe they had just dropped people off).  The consensus between them and my parents was that I should be seated immediately, so I meekly parked myself in the nearest wheelchair (secretly relieved).  We then zoomed around the airport, got our bags and rental car, and chatted with our chair handler, who was very nice and also knowledgeable about the town (he’s studying Hospitality in college).  I peered at someone in front of us who was wheeling two (occupied) chairs simultaneously.  I was impressed at this level of skill and asked my handler if they had received training in this sort of thing.  No, he replied, you learn most things on the job.

I shouldn’t be too surprised at that, but then again, I think one could be confronted with lots of safety scenarios in the airport wheelchair corps, and it would be great to have some training under your belt to deal with them well and keep clients from harm.  I’ve encountered only nice/helpful handlers but I know one story that makes my blood boil, so let me take a moment to help crew members out and clue them in (in case they received no or inadequate sensitivity training on the subject):  If someone is in a wheelchair, it is the safest and most advisable assumption that (s)he is not sitting in it by choice.  You should always have an air transport chair (the skinny chair on wheels that fits up the aisle) around and should know how to use it properly (don’t wing it).  In the absence of a transport chair, it will do no good to ask someone who is unable to walk, to walk (even just a few steps) to their seat.

Pfewf.  Glad I got that off my chest.  Grrrr.  On to happier thoughts.  As I said before, I have only encountered nice and helpful wheelchair handlers at the airport.  If I had any concerns about the service I received they were based on systemic failures not personnel.  For example, it might take eons for a request for chair service to make it from the aircraft to the terminal’s office, also, a terminal might be laid out so that you have to go to level 2 then level 1 then level 2 again to reach your destination.  These things make air travel even more grueling for someone like me.  So based on my post AVM flight history, I’m rating airport wheelchair service.  Please note that my ratings are highly subjective and may also be influenced by where our gate was.  Had we been flying from a different gate navigating the floorplan might have been easier.

Airport Wheelchair Service

If you’d like to volunteer your six sigma services, email info@CLTairport.com.  You will be responded to during normal business hours.  (Please be properly certified and “belted” – don’t just make stuff up like I do.)

Ed has a question:

Ed re. Air Travel || Ann Ning Learning How

Also, here’s an interesting article on appropriate tipping behavior for wheelchair assistance at the airport.

3 thoughts on “140. Airport Wheelchair Service

  1. Your color-coded chart is impressive, and the reference to six sigma cracked me up! Maybe because I enjoy that kind of stuff, and airport engineering in general, though Jon is actually the certified one. 🙂 Perhaps I can convince him to” pool our resources” on that. Somehow I doubt it, but a girl can dream. 🙂

  2. Oh, and the tipping idea does kind of strike me as a “disability tax”… but only if a tip is expected, rather than just a nice optional gesture. There’s my 2 cents on that controversial subject. 🙂

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