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Elderly Dad likely requires assistance at EWR

Elderly Dad likely requires assistance at EWR

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Old Jan 7, 18, 3:49 pm
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Elderly Dad likely requires assistance at EWR

My dad (86 years old) has not flown in probably over 10 years. He is flying from EWR to BOS in two weeks. I will meet him at Logan as I am flying in from Chicago.
Anyway, I think he needs a wheelchair at EWR to get him through security and to the correct gate. He should be able to get on the plane if he gets to the correct gate.
Anyway does anyone know how it works at EWR getting a wheelchair? I called UA and they said he should go to the desk and tell them a wheelchair has been "reserved" for him - but that requires him to get to the correct UA departure desk. I just thru Newark and an attendant pushing a wheelchair said he should just go to Level 2 Door 4 (Terminal C), but I was not convinced he understood the question. Anyway - I was wondering if anyone knows how I should try to arrange his EWR experience?

Thanks
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Old Jan 8, 18, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Stevens744 View Post
My dad (86 years old) has not flown in probably over 10 years. He is flying from EWR to BOS in two weeks. I will meet him at Logan as I am flying in from Chicago.
Anyway, I think he needs a wheelchair at EWR to get him through security and to the correct gate. He should be able to get on the plane if he gets to the correct gate.
Anyway does anyone know how it works at EWR getting a wheelchair? I called UA and they said he should go to the desk and tell them a wheelchair has been "reserved" for him - but that requires him to get to the correct UA departure desk. I just thru Newark and an attendant pushing a wheelchair said he should just go to Level 2 Door 4 (Terminal C), but I was not convinced he understood the question. Anyway - I was wondering if anyone knows how I should try to arrange his EWR experience?

Thanks
Based on the horror stories I've heard over the years, I think what Dad needs is an able bodied advocate. A gentleman of his age who hasn't flown since all the current security rules went into place may get confused and/or pushed around by the TSA. EWR does not have the best reputation.

How is he getting to the airport? Can someone help him find the right desk to get a wheelchair? Don't rely on the airlines to do that, their reputation for such service is not very good, either.
(My mother needed assistance when traveling in her later years, and had numerous instances of promised aid never appearing)
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Old Jan 9, 18, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Based on the horror stories I've heard over the years, I think what Dad needs is an able bodied advocate. A gentleman of his age who hasn't flown since all the current security rules went into place may get confused and/or pushed around by the TSA. EWR does not have the best reputation.

How is he getting to the airport? Can someone help him find the right desk to get a wheelchair? Don't rely on the airlines to do that, their reputation for such service is not very good, either.
(My mother needed assistance when traveling in her later years, and had numerous instances of promised aid never appearing)
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Old Jan 9, 18, 8:48 pm
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He would take a car service to the airport or I might be able to get my sister to take him. I agree that my concern is how difficult will it be to get a wheelchair. I was hoping someone might know exactly how to do that at EWR
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Old Jan 12, 18, 4:47 pm
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Your sister should take him. If she parks in the short term parking garage, she can walk with him to Level 2, door 4 and explain to the skycap what he needs. Or, assuming that his ticket is already printed out, she should pull up to door 4, leave dad in the car for a minute and go in to the wheelchair assistance area and get him the chair and help he needs. I believe that you can talk to a skycap. You should not just send him by car service because the system changes and who knows how it will be when he goes. Asking him to wait in line to get to a customer service agent is silly.

Make sure that the airline knows that he will need transport upon arrival. The return trip should be a little easier. Again, make sure he is on the list for wheelchair transport and the pusher will take him where he needs to go.
I use my own chair when traveling but I've watched this process happen with others. Good luck.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by ZellaLamb View Post
Your sister should take him. If she parks in the short term parking garage, she can walk with him to Level 2, door 4 and explain to the skycap what he needs. Or, assuming that his ticket is already printed out, she should pull up to door 4, leave dad in the car for a minute and go in to the wheelchair assistance area and get him the chair and help he needs. I believe that you can talk to a skycap. You should not just send him by car service because the system changes and who knows how it will be when he goes. Asking him to wait in line to get to a customer service agent is silly
Make sure that the airline knows that he will need transport upon arrival. The return trip should be a little easier. Again, make sure he is on the list for wheelchair transport and the pusher will take him where he needs to go.
I use my own chair when traveling but I've watched this process happen with others. Good luck.
This above - PLUS...

Make sure that you have notified the airline that he will need a wheelchair from drop-off/ticketing to airplane door. (Do the same for return, if it is a return trip; ditto if there are continuing connections.)

It will be so much easier if Sister can take a car service with him, and they can both be dropped off as close as possible to outdoor baggage collection or the ticketing counter. Someone at curbside (if there is such) should be told asap that he has a wheelchair reserved.
If there is any difficulty, have him sit down inside, in a place you can see him as easily as possible, while you go in search of wheelchair and pusher.

Make certain that you enunciated clearly, "My 89 year old Father" as often as needed.

More and more frequently, there are airline staff offering assistance prior to the ticket counter (and lines). Look for those in airport type uniforms, or other pushers with an empty wheelchair. MAYBE they could take Father, but at least they might be able to help you find someone.
Also, expect a few snarky types ("That's not MY job!!!"), but many who are eager to help or to find someone who can.

The pusher should (in all but one USA airport we've been to, thus far) be able to take Father from there straight through to the gate, including through Security.
And some airports will allow someone "with" a "special needs" passenger to get an airside pass, and make sure he gets on board okay. Other airports, not so much. (You'll need some special screening, and ID, of course, IF it is allowed.)

Is he still sharp as a tack, so that without you, he'll be able to make his needs/wants known?
(MIL is almost 100, and she is more than "happy" to make HER desires "known"... WAY more than enough happy, ahem, but not everyone ages at the same pace.)

When he he boards the plane, have him remind the crew that he has a wheelchair reserved for the arrival.
MAKE SURE HE STAYS IN HIS SEAT ON THE PLANE until the crew tells him his wheelchair is waiting, right outside the plane door. He'll be among the last off, usually. (This is where problems can occur, if they take him to near the gate desk and just leave him there, saying, 'Oh, someone will be coming along...')

There are more and more special needs people flying, so all of this is becoming fairly common.

Finally, what is yours and his plan B if *your* flight into BOS is seriously delayed?

GC
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Old Jan 15, 18, 11:02 pm
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Would considering Amtrak be possible? It takes more time but is a much easier form of travel for an older person.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
Would considering Amtrak be possible? It takes more time but is a much easier form of travel for an older person.
I travel Amtrak fairly often (but am not a senior) and think that's a good idea. No TSA nightmare for an elderly gent to handle solo, short walk from parking to train, 5 hours in a comfortable seat for less than $100. The downside is he would need to get from South Station to Logan, but a cab would be less of a challenge than EWR.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Stevens744 View Post
My dad (86 years old) has not flown in probably over 10 years. He is flying from EWR to BOS in two weeks. I will meet him at Logan as I am flying in from Chicago.
Anyway, I think he needs a wheelchair at EWR to get him through security and to the correct gate. He should be able to get on the plane if he gets to the correct gate.
Anyway does anyone know how it works at EWR getting a wheelchair? I called UA and they said he should go to the desk and tell them a wheelchair has been "reserved" for him - but that requires him to get to the correct UA departure desk. I just thru Newark and an attendant pushing a wheelchair said he should just go to Level 2 Door 4 (Terminal C), but I was not convinced he understood the question. Anyway - I was wondering if anyone knows how I should try to arrange his EWR experience?

Thanks
How did the travel turn out?
Hope it went well!

GC
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