Ordeal Over Wheelchairs

January 25, 2010

in Odds & Ends Stories

Started off real nice. I was going from California to Oklahoma City on United Airlines. I have C.O.P.D. and can hardly walk and breathe now. Requested wheelchair ahead of time at each airport. Going was real great. Wheelchair at each airport and even at the door to the plane.

Now the return trip was a different story.

Oklahoma City.

Arrived like a good passenger should, 2 hours ahead of time.

All went good until I asked for a wheelchair. Told none was ordered. Right on my ticket is said wheelchair. Got “I don’t really care” attitude and had to walk the whole mile. Stopping every 100 feet or so to catch my breath.

Once there I asked the attendant to please check and make sure one was at Denver. Well same thing. No chair. Has to ask 3 more times where my chair was. Told it was on the way (right).

Chair did arrive 45 minutes late. Old lady pushing it. Now we had to go all the way across the airport, 2 miles. Thought she was going to have a heart attack. No lunch. Wife went to get something for us to eat. She got back in time to get in line for plane. Arriving back in California I was so mad I was about to cuss.

Told wife that if no chair this time I was going to have an attack. Surprise – chair was waiting for me at the plane door.

Took me all the way to the bus.

I called United and got the I don’t care again. I then called and called until I was told that I was calling too much. I called again and again. After 2 months they gave me two $100 dollar certificates. Would I fly United again? Only if I was dead.

If you take it from them good luck.

Not flying United.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim January 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

I sympathize with you for your ill health.

With that said, knowing that you require a wheelchair for travel….maybe, you should bring one with you? That way you do not have to be at the mercy of the airlines who have little concern for their customers.


Julie January 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I think it would have been more of an issue of pushing the wheelchair.


david January 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

before i say anything about the post…..jim you cant take your wheelchair onto a flight, it has to go as checked luggage, that is why they asked for wheelchair service……..last time i checked wheelchairs are too wide to fit down the aisles so they can use a special type of seat if one has no use of legs, but if the person can walk they are supposed to from the plane to their seat

I am sorry that you had to go through all of that, and it is very strssful, and good luck next time you fly

i know in many airports its a seperate company not the airline that operates the wheelchair service and for some reason there seems to be alot of miscommunication or there is just lack of effort and total lazyness which makes no wheelchair when you get there, happens all the time

sorry about your discomfort and hopefully everything will go smoother from now on


Julie January 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

you can gate check a wheelchair and are able to pick it up at each gate.

At our airport (SGF) we have maybe at the most 2 skycaps on duty and when they are both busy, the next passenger just has to wait their turn. Our skycaps are really good and can push 2 wheelchairs at the same time and get the luggage.


Kathleen January 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

But couldn't his wheelchair be checked at the gate, like a stroller? That way it would be waiting there when he deplaned.


Thi Halpern January 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Except with COPD he'd have a hard time pushing himself around.


Anonymous February 13, 2018 at 8:44 am

His wife was with him. In this situation, why could she have not pushed the wheelchair?


David January 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm

U can gate check it but it wouldn't make sense since it still goes in the hold so when you get off you would need to go to the bag car. Easiest n best way is to have assistance throught even tho they can be very slow and you need to be persistant


Pioliboo January 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Same happen to me but with American. Oh GOD, Fly twice to Dallas wheelchair never appeared. Super horrible wheelchair service at DFW. Everybody should think twice before request a chair in Dallas airport if youre flying American. Happen to me Twice ladt year. Never again American in Dallas.


781 February 12, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Well, maybe all these people, and FUTURE people that need wheelchairs, should just DRIVE to their destination(s)!!!! Then, they wouldn't have to worry abt bothering the airline employees abt their "chairs!!!" Plus, with driving, they can take their "chairs" and not have to worry abt whether they'll be there for them (the chair, I mean!!!)


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