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Advice on getting my 86 year old mother out to SEA for a visit.

Advice on getting my 86 year old mother out to SEA for a visit.

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Old Jun 26, 19, 2:59 pm
  #1  
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Advice on getting my 86 year old mother out to SEA for a visit.

My 86 year mother ( sound mind, uses a walker) would like to come out to Seattle this summer from Cleveland for a visit. In years past she has used Frontier as it was the only airline with a non-stop..... but it is just too uncomfortable for her at this point with their hard seats and tight space. ( The return is a redeye to boot)

She has options using Delta to connect through DTW, MSP, ATL, and SLC

I think we will spend the money to fly her First Class.

The question I have is there one airport out of the above that is easier to connect? Is there a minimum time we should consider in the connection ( quite a few of them are under an hour)? She would need wheelchair service between gates so that needs to be factored in as well.

Thanks for any insight.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 3:04 pm
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Why not fly to her and accompany her back to SEA?
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Old Jun 26, 19, 3:07 pm
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Have someone drive her to DTW - at that point it would be a nonstop for her?
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Old Jun 26, 19, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Why not fly to her and accompany her back to SEA?
Hosting her in Seattle is stress enough... flying with her would do me in.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 3:56 pm
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SLC is a very easy airport to negotiate, as all the concourses connect on the same level

most of DTW's gates are in the long A concourse, but there's a reasonably good chance the CLE flight will operate from B; MSP is a labyrinth (but less of a problem if she'll have wheelchair service)

summer weather in ATL introduces a lot of risk, and the sheer volume of passenger traffic makes it pretty unpleasant
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:09 pm
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I recently had a knee replacement and could not stop traveling for business. Delta handles wheelchair requests very well. You can have her met by a helpful wheelchair attendant at every point of the trip. It really does not make much of a difference which connection point although ATL is more difficult than the others.

Just make sure to order up the chair for her when you book the ticket and whoever takes her to the airport tell the first Delta person met that a wheelchair is needed for this passenger. Also, tell her that since she is in first, get her 1A so she can look out the window when each flight docks so she can see if the chairs are already there, as they usually are. If they are not, she can just sit comfortably until they arrive.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:18 pm
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Have her connect in ATL and make SURE she has wheelchair service and I’d shoot for an hour and a half connection time. I frequently fly my 84 year old aunt from Augusta through ATL and on to SAN without issues. She too, has mobility issues with double hip replacements. Never had a misconduct and she comes out every winter for a month. Good luck with your arrangements.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
SLC is a very easy airport to negotiate, as all the concourses connect on the same level

most of DTW's gates are in the long A concourse, but there's a reasonably good chance the CLE flight will operate from B; MSP is a labyrinth (but less of a problem if she'll have wheelchair service)

summer weather in ATL introduces a lot of risk, and the sheer volume of passenger traffic makes it pretty unpleasant
The DTW flights mostly use the A gates (4 out of 5) these days as they have been using larger jets on the route with the CR2 retirements. Only the one daily CR7 flight tends to use B. The rest of the flights are CR9's and a 717.

Last edited by xliioper; Jun 26, 19 at 4:32 pm
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by AA100k View Post
Have her connect in ATL and make SURE she has wheelchair service and I’d shoot for an hour and a half connection time. I frequently fly my 84 year old aunt from Augusta through ATL and on to SAN without issues. She too, has mobility issues with double hip replacements. Never had a misconduct and she comes out every winter for a month. Good luck with your arrangements.
Not sure how she does with sitting for a long time, but if she is someone that is prone to stiffening up, I would avoid ATL. Especially Westbound, that is a very long flight, and customer service can be iffy given the high volume of pax. SLC is probably the best in terms of breaking up the trip and best in customer service...I have always noticed that the wheelchair employees in SLC actually seem to care about the pax they are pushing.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:44 pm
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OP, if your mother connects in MSP you can call the Travelers Assistance office there and ask for someone to “meet and assist” your mother. A volunteer will meet her at the gate upon arrival and escort her to the connecting flight. If your mother doesn’t want a wheel chair the volunteer can help flag down one of the electric carts. If she has a long layover and wants a quiet place to rest, she can wait for her flight in the Travelers Assistance office. It doesn’t have the style of an airline lounge but it does have a couple of large, comfortable recliner chairs, magazines, cold (non-alcoholic) drinks, and friendly staff and volunteers.

I’m a volunteer at MSP and do this often for passengers who need extra help because of age, language problems, disabilities, etc.

If you decide to do this you should call MSP Travelers Assistance at 612-726-5500 several days or weeks in advance of your mother’s travel and give all the details of her itinerary and needs. This service is available at no charge seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, except for major holidays. Unlike the wheel chair attendants, the volunteers do not accept tips. Donations to the MSP Airport Foundation, which operates the Travelers Assistance program are accepted but definitely not required.

This can be arranged in addition to requesting a wheelchair.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by The Situation View Post
...I have always noticed that the wheelchair employees in SLC actually seem to care about the pax they are pushing.
I have had wheelchair assistance on morethan a couple of dozen occasions and have never met an assistant who was anything less than caring. I suggest that the OP stock his mother up with $10 bills since she will really appreciate their help and they are surely underpaid.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:01 pm
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My suggestion

We used to take my mother (now 96) back and forth twice a year when she was in her 80's. She used a walker. The Delta FAs, the wheelchair assistance and the drivers were always great. The hardest part was the transition between plane and jet way. Just give her time!

Personally I would avoid ATL totally. I'm a big fan of DTW and MSP--always felt they had their act together with helping her.

I am not a fan of SLC, but it is getting better--assuming she doesn't have to go with one of those "bus station" gates where you walk five miles and go outdoors to board your plane!

We always took her first class-made a big difference in comfort for her.

I would not be comfortable with a LO of less than an hour for any. Although if she takes the little car she can get their quite quickly!
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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:20 pm
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I would look for a 1.5-2 connection in SLC. Easy to navigate, great staff, and probably the least prone to weather delays for any DL hub.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:36 pm
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WOW, good information!

Originally Posted by CarmenOM View Post
OP, if your mother connects in MSP you can call the Travelers Assistance office there and ask for someone to “meet and assist” your mother. A volunteer will meet her at the gate upon arrival and escort her to the connecting flight. If your mother doesn’t want a wheel chair the volunteer can help flag down one of the electric carts. If she has a long layover and wants a quiet place to rest, she can wait for her flight in the Travelers Assistance office. It doesn’t have the style of an airline lounge but it does have a couple of large, comfortable recliner chairs, magazines, cold (non-alcoholic) drinks, and friendly staff and volunteers.

I’m a volunteer at MSP and do this often for passengers who need extra help because of age, language problems, disabilities, etc.

If you decide to do this you should call MSP Travelers Assistance at 612-726-5500 several days or weeks in advance of your mother’s travel and give all the details of her itinerary and needs. This service is available at no charge seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, except for major holidays. Unlike the wheel chair attendants, the volunteers do not accept tips. Donations to the MSP Airport Foundation, which operates the Travelers Assistance program are accepted but definitely not required.

This can be arranged in addition to requesting a wheelchair.
I just printed this out to keep in my general travel folder. This is such good information about a service I never knew existed. Thanks!
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Old Jun 26, 19, 9:02 pm
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Avoid Atl. After that go with the airport that allows for a connection of around 90 minutes and has the best backup available. In my personal order of ease would be dtw, slc, msp but really I would let price,flight times, equipment, available seating and backup options drive the choice
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