Disability Travel - assistance with luggage?
Jan 16, 11, 11:07 pm
My parents (both in their 60s) are travelling and one has severe back pain and the other has hernia and been told not to lift anything. Normally, the one with hernia would do all the lifting required for check-in and baggage collection.
I suggested that they ask for help from the airlines (flying with Qantas and malaysian airlines) but they are refusing to do it.
Do you know if it is possible to ask for help from the airline staff at the check-in counter to get help in getting the baggage onto the carousel and then on the other end when the luggage comes out? They are quite capable other wise but I am really worried about them and not sure how to help them.
Any suggestions will be very much appreciated.
Jan 16, 11, 11:18 pm
If your parents are refusing to ask for help, I would think that they would refuse any help offered. I also think that that if you called and asked for the airline to help, the airline might try, but if your parents are strong-willed and refuse the help, the airline, no matter which one, will walk away and offer help to others who are requesting and appreciating it.
A better idea....
You could arrange airport transportation for them via towncar/limo/etc... with the express and agreed upon definition of service that the driver parks the car in an appropriate place, handles all of their luggage needs, etc... on both ends of the trip. Your parents might really appreciate that! I know mine have in the past.
Jan 17, 11, 8:02 pm
Thanks so much for your suggestion. I will try it out.
Jan 23, 11, 9:41 am
Really good suggestion jbart74! I know in the US when I reserve a supershuttle and request wheelchair accessibility they send me a private accessible taxi at the supershuttle price. The driver then is always willing to get my bags inside for me. I'm sure that people who would have trouble climing into a large 15 passenger van could request the same.
Feb 2, 11, 7:59 pm
Expecting your driver to provide luggage assistance is a great idea, but be sure the driver understands he is expected to do this. I have had drivers who just sat behind the wheel of the car and made no effort to provide assistance.
They should use curbside check-in so the vehicle taking them to the airport can put their bags very near the appropriate check in counter. Generally the people who do curbside check-in will watch for people who need help and come out from the counter and help. There may be a small charge, and you need to tip these people, but it is almost always easier and less time consuming.
When we arrive at our destination there is almost always a porter who I hire to manage our luggage. If no one is available or my husband is being particularly stubborn, I get a cart and we put our suitcases on the cart and push it to the curb for our airport pick-up. I do not like to do this because lifting the bags from the carousel puts my husband at risk. Generally the person who pushes my wheelchair will stay with us long enough to retrieve our luggage.
When my own mother became difficult about accepting help, we had a serious discussion which begin with what I perceived as a selfish act on her part. When she refused assistance she dramatically increased the chances that she would injure herself. That would not only make her life more difficult but my life as well. So.....if she wanted to protect both of us she would use the wheelchair and luggage assistance. Once she got it out of her head that it was better to "bother" strangers than risk becoming an inconvenience for me she had a complete change of attitude.
We had conversations about several of her behaviors with this same logical argument. I remember that discussion and I do everything I possibly can do to prevent my situation from becoming worse, thus making me even more of a burden for my family.
Sometimes this sense of pride is applied in situations where it is just not appropriate, and sometimes you have to provide a perception check for your parents so they understand the risk they assume and the consequences of an injury to themselves, each other and ultimately anyone else who would have to provide care.
Feb 2, 11, 11:04 pm
Thank you to all of you for sharing your advice and experiences.
It's a funny thing about not accepting help. It took me awhile to accept that I need help and it's ok to ask for help due to my disability. In fact it was my dad who eventually convinced me. But when it's his turn, he refuses to follow his own words of wisdom. But thanks to you guys, I can find a way around it to get them the help they need.
Feb 2, 11, 11:38 pm
Those of us who deal with a disability, but have parents who have been fairly healthy have a unique problem. Our parents understand our need for assistance, but they hate to accept the fact that they need a little help. They hang on with great tenacity to those behaviors that they equate with independent living. As we have become the oldest living generation in our family we understand that every time you give up something you do let someone else do it for you, you move closer and closer to that point when you may require full-time assistance, and older people fight that.
It was just very difficult to convince my mother that using a wheelchair in the airport cost much less of a loss of independence than she would suffer if she slipped and broke a hip trying to hurry to her next connection. We are all hesitant to accept the potential risky consequences to hanging on to that false sense of independence.
Good luck, and if you find a new workable strategy I am confident that many of us would like to know how you managed.