There were twice in previous years when I needed wheelchair services because I either fractured or sprang my ankle in Taiwan before returning to the US. At that point, disability services were simply some random thing I had to call for... It was novelty... wow... they wheeled me all the way...
Then, there came these years of being incapable for carrying even 2-3 Kg for short distances and even slower than ordinary people's speed at walk... even in the top shape. The thing is, if I don't call for the wheelchair services, by the time I get to the gate, the connection flights I have to catch might have already arrived at the destination.... 8-O lol
Since 2007, I have had to use the disability services to travel by air.
Most of the times, you go to the website of the airline companies and you click on something to request the service. If the design of the website is usable and if the internet connection is good between your end and the server, the process might take less than a minute to complete.
All that has to be done thereafter is to get me to the check-in counter and someone will come with a wheelchair to pick me up.
Before I got back from the US last summer, I got my body in really bad shape again because I was trying to clean things up in my place. The trip to the airport didn't help either. By the time I got to JFK, I was immobilized by the pain... and couldn't even get off the van.
As a result, I first managed to slide my butts from the chair to the floor, slide one step down at a time, and, somehow got my body up to standing position... at the curbside. The nice driver of Supershuttle either placed the luggage next to me or placed me next to the luggage... or... simple put we all luggage together... can't quite recall.
It was sort of surreal to stand there with two pieces of luggage all along by the curbside at around 5-6 AM while I was overcome by pain and could barely move my body or speak...
Then, there were these two gentlemen working for the airline who were stationed outside...
I tried to call for them but I could hardly talk because of the pain... although I was still able to keep myself in standing position.
I tried to wave at them but I could hardly lift my arm...
Eventually, I got their attention and someone came with a wheelchair, took me and my baggage to the check-in counter of United Airlines...
The lady asked me for my documentations but I didn't have much capacity left to process anything other than pain.
Worst of all, I didn't have any pain killer with me because I had managed to not use pain killers much for almost two years by then.
Conversation between the two of us at the check-in counter might have been...
"Anyone else traveling with you?"
"Where are you traveling to?"
"Back... to.... Taiwan."
"Can I have your passport?"
Too in pain to search for anything in my purse, the gentleman who was wheeling me passed my purse to the lady to let her fish my documents out while, me, trying to calm the roaring pain down...
She found my password, got me checked in, and, checked my luggage in. That gentleman wheeled me along my carry on luggage all the way to the security check point where someone else came to take over.
Since cheap tickets always requires more than 1 leg, so at each of the airport, someone would come to pick me up with the wheelchair, drop me at the gate where the connection flight will take off, and, pick me up at the boarding time from the waiting area to get me to the entrance of the flight.
Through out the entire trip, all that I did was popping more and more of the non-aspirin the flight attendants gave me while trying to relax the muscles from neck down with the nice hot bottle prepared by the flight attendants-- one leg at a time.
So it is-- how I got back to Taiwan from JFK last summer.
Come to think about it today, it is actually pretty comical... although something I can really do without.... 8-O lol