Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mas Tequila

I've been dealing with travel and accommodation issues today. My friend, Anne, and I have booked a packaged vacation through a company I will decline to name at this time. I will unleash my full fury only after I have a much clearer idea of how all this will work out. As of now, they are simply being unresponsive and unhelpful when it comes to the wheelchair and transfers. This is no surprise to me; I've seen it before.

One of the things these companies ask you to do is submit what they laughingly call a "Special Services Request Form." This is where they ask that you detail all your failings and inabilities. This is not so they can accommodate you. This is so they know what might be coming at them, and know how to gently tell you, or not gently tell you, "Tough luck, buddy. If you are in a wheelchair, you are on your own. We confirm nothing and accept no responsibility."

Here is their response to my request for a wheelchair accessible room, errors included. "The request for a Wheelchair/Handicap Accessible/Ground Floor room has been expedited to destination and notes will be added to their system.  Please be informed that a request is not a confirmation it is based on availability and will not be confirmed prior to the passengers  arrival and may vary from the category that has been booked.   This is not to say the possibiliy for confirmation is not there, however you must be aware that one may not be received.  Please note that Riu Properties do not provide confirmations." What all of this means is that the tour company has told the hotel I need a wheelchair room. It is not confirmed. If I get there and there is no wheelchair room, "tough luck, buddy."

Then we have the "transfer" to and from the hotel. Again, if you are in a wheelchair, you are on your own. "The type of vehicle that will be used in destination to transfer you from the airport-hotel-airport is subject to change at any time.  More often than not, the vehicle used is a coach bus with a  narrow aisle and steep stairs.  If you are unable to manage onto this vehicle, please let us know.  You may wish to consider a separate transfer.  This is an additional cost to the passenger and must be arranged prior to departure.  If a separate transfer (when required) is not arranged in advance and the passenger is unable to manage onto the transfer provided it will be the responsibility of the passenger to arrange transportation in destination.  An adapted vehicle may not be available unless prior arrangements have been made."

When I asked the tour company about the transfer and the fact that I most likely would have to arrange my own, I was told the transfer was included in my package. If I did not want to use the bus, I would have to pay for my own transfer. I pointed out that I would love to use the bus if it was accessible. I was told, once again, that the transfer is a part of the package, and if I can't use the bus...

So really, the only thing the lengthy Special Services Request For did was to warn them that I am in a wheelchair, especially for the flight. Other than that, I might as well have not bothered.

On the other hand, there is always the possibility that things will work out fine. The flight will be okay, if a bit cramped. I know this ahead of time. It is entirely possible that the hotel will have a perfect room for us. While I am fairly certain the bus will not carry me, it is possible it might. So all I have to do is jump in and hope for the best.

When you travel in a wheelchair, these kinds of additional costs and impediments are part of the deal. I could just stay at home where I am safe, but where's the fun in that? Adventure is adventure. I am certain that Anne and I will work all of it through. It will simply take patience, and "mas tequila".

1 comment:

  1. I admire you for even trying! Good luck, have fun and keep us posted!!