Recently I travelled to N. Carolina for a wedding. It was the first time I had been on a plane in twenty years and the second time since 9/11. I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I figured it would be more relaxed than it was back then. First of all, I need to say that I completely understand where airport security is coming from. When it comes to the security and safety of my life and those around me, I would rather go through moments of discomfort. to ensure safe arrival and departure. When I went through the TSA the man explained to me what he would be doing. So, there weren’t really any surprises. Except for one. When he was doing the pat down. it was a little surprising how close he got to certain parts of my body. Let me reiterate. the procedure itself didn’t bother me. I didn’t feel violated. I understood what needed to be done and knowing I was doing it to see family I hadn’t seen in two decades made it even more important. When I told this story to others, they saw it as complaining. I thought of it as explaining. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. However, it needed to be done. Also, the fact that I was able to get from one place to another without my wheelchair being lost or broken I consider that a win. One aspect of air travel I would like to change is the size of the restrooms. They could be more accessible for those passengers with mobility issues.
When we finally arrived in N. Carolina even though we had layovers, and some parts of the trip were surprising it wasn’t necessarily a bad trip. However, the review of the trip was about to get much worse. When we got to the airport in N. Carolina which was no more than thirty minutes from the hotel we were staying at we had no idea what was in store for us. We attempted to get a lyft which was not an easy task. We went on the app asked for an accessible lyft two separate times and both times when they came the vehicles had items and trash in the back and neither were big enough for a wheelchair. When explaining this story to some their response was that if the chair was able to fold up it would have been accessible. I personally don’t think that matters. We as disabled people should have to worry whether or not we are going to be able to arrive somewhere based on if our wheelchair folds up or not. Disabled people may not have the option of acquiring a fold up chair. Also, if given the option I would prefer one that isnt a folding chair because in my experience they are less sturdy, reliable and they break down easier. Back to the story. almost four hours after we arrived at the airport trying to find a ride to the hotel, we found a very helpful policeman who took it upon himself to make calls and try to get us a ride. While we were going through the ordeal with the policeman, we met a driver who was parked outside the airport and was nice enough to give us a ride to our hotel. I was happy we arrived. However, it did remind me why I don’t travel much.