Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Travel Day

It's a late blog for me today. It's been a travel day. My son, Rick, and I awoke at 4:00 AM, headed for Calgary Airport, and flew down to Lake Charles, Louisiana to spend this week with my brother, Adam. It's been a long day already, and it's only 3:00 PM here.

Travel is never easy whether you're sick or healthy. It's tiring, at times confusing, challenging and just plain work. It seems almost perverse that we would start a vacation with such a workout. There are a few things I have noticed, however, that make it easier for me to travel.

First and foremost, like almost everything else in my life, it takes more time. I need more time to board airplanes, get between gates, move into and out of the terminals. It just takes more time, so I need to allow more time. It seems to me that this might be good advice for anyone, not just those of us dealing with wheelchairs and such. Additional time means less rush; less rush means less stress; less stress is the right way to start a holiday.

Second, trust the airlines with the whole wheelchair thing. They seem to have this down solid. I just showed up, told them I needed help and they took care of all kinds of things. I got to choose between using my chair or theirs, they wheeled my around the terminal, they checked and retrieved my chair at each flight. In fact the toughest part of the trip was US Customs and Immigration; Rick had to wheel me through that and I was had to walk through the scanner. They offered a "pat down" but I wasn't in a mood to get felt up by a burly security guard.

Third, be prepared to spend money. It seems everything is an extra on US flights these days. You pay extra for luggage. You pay extra for in-flight food. (I decline to call it in flight dining; there were no diners on board.) You pay extra for in-flight entertainment unless you consider listening to the guy behind you snoring "entertainment". Everything costs extra. It's just the way it is in these "cheap flight" days. No sense in complaining, just be prepared to spend the money you thought you saved on your cheap ticket.

Finally, pack an extra dose of humour. Or perhaps have an early drink at the very expensive bar in the airport.

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