My mum's coming over from Brisbane to Seattle flying Qantas through to LA and then Alaska Airlines from LA to Seattle. This will be her 1st visit to the US and as she's traveling by herself is a little apprehensive. She's also got bad arthritis in her knees and whilst she could likely make the journey from the Tom Bradley Terminal to Terminal 3, this will likely just stress her out even more.
After booking with a travel agent back home in Australia, they told her that wheelchair assistance is only available for those that literally can't walk. I think this is baloney but prior to calling up Qantas, can anyone confirm their experiences / wisdom in terms of being able to get her wheelchair assistance from the time she departs her Qantas flight (clears Immigration & Customs) and having someone drop her off at the Alaska Airlines gate at Terminal 3 ???
If you are not familiar with LAX note the quick and simple thing to do will be to walk (roll) from TBIT to T3. They are right next door to one another, 60 seconds apart, but counter to the anti-clockwise, one-way flow of landside traffic.
Inside T3 an elevator is needed for wheelchair pax to go from the check-in level to the departure gates -- they're on different levels. (Your mum will need to pass through security again in T3. Welcome to America.) Once past security everything is flat though.
United Airlines leads all major US carriers in total DOT complaints Jan-Sept 2014.
I've been using wheelchairs in and out of LAX for years with no problems. Alaska Air has a good program. With most airlines you must make the reservation for a wheelchair ahead of time, with the airline, not the airport.
I can walk, some, but with a bad heart, not too far, and with a bad knee not up or down stairs at all. Agent is just being difficult. Contact Alaska and ask if they can meet her at the arrival gate. That will zip her thru customs and everything. (Customs is the worst part of being not very mobile because the standing with no support is worse than walking.)
Using a neck wallet with passport, boarding pass, itinerary, a credit card, and some $1.00 bills or equivalents for tips is very useful if you are in a wheelchair and can't easily access your bags because you'll need to show passport and boarding pass several times more than walking people do.