|Photo Description: Air Canada plane flying over a coastal area.
This may seem pessimistic because Joe and I have had such good service from so many people. But, here's the issue when things have gone wrong, they've gone wrong. Those incidents stay in one's mind and the 'list of things that can go wrong' gets longer and longer. For example, a few years ago a fellow group of passengers stole my wheelchair, which was waiting for me at the door of the plane. Security guards caught them as they were putting into the trunk of a car which had pulled up to pick them up at arrivals level. I got my chair back but the guards didn't know about chairs and therefore didn't get the legs back. It was horrid. Now, it's on the list of what can go wrong and I worry from landing until I'm in my chair. Oh, and then there's the time that the airport guy refused to bring my chair up to the door and sent it on to the luggage cart - causing no end of difficulty.
So, as I said, the list is long.
But we arrived at the airport right on time, even a bit early, Rah WheelTrans. So we got to the help desk well in advance of the flight. The good people there were welcoming and assured me that all my arrangements for the flight, where we sat on the plane, and the assistance needed at both ends was noted. They got us there quickly and with no fuss. They all seemed to know my name and addressed me in a really professional but also a nicely friendly manner. At the gate, the woman there, spoke to me about pre boarding and the fellow that came to help out were both intent on giving excellent service. Now we typically get great service from Air Canada but this was like everyone was having their best ever day at work. Even on the plane, when I spoke to them about the wheelchair and watching out for it so it's not stolen they took me seriously and then came to speak to me at my seat about accessibility options on the plane!!
So the flight was spectacular.
I've been reading horror stories about people with disabilities being treated poorly on airlines, well, whatever is the opposite of horror, insert that word here as an adjective for the way we were welcomed and treated by every single Air Canada employee.
There was a hiccup with the car, they gave us an upgrade, which is a car that I can't get into because the step in is too high. So we had to go back to the desk, going by the kind of car we asked for in the parking lot. We asked for that kind of car, was told they didn't have any, we gave them the space number for it, they went and checked, found it there, and gave it to us. It took a while but we were good. For problems, this wasn't the worst.
So we arrive.
At the desk I'm told we have a room with a roll in shower and I prefer an accessible tub, so I asked if they had one. The desk clerk gleefully said, you room has both options. When you go into the bathroom, turn left for the tub and right for the shower. I was thrilled, I've never had a room with that option before. Then he got concerned and said, "I'm afraid now that maybe this isn't one of those rooms, we only have two like that in the hotel." There wasn't a line up at the desk so he accompanied us up to the room to check and sure enough, there it was ... choices and options!
We sat in the quiet of the room, tired from travel. We were relieved to be there, like any traveler would be, but we were also relieved to be there as any disabled traveler would be. There is a difference in those two experiences, isn't there?