A Wheel and Away

I love budget airlines!

Yesterday we decided to book a holiday.  Anyone who knows us knows that planning ahead is not our forte so wouldn’t be surprised that on Saturday we are off to Mallorca for a week.  Or so we thought………

Normal families book a flight, find somewhere to stay and then the biggest problem they have to face is how to fit all their shoes in the rucksack. Or is that just me in a parallel universe…….?

Switch to the Everitt family saga.

Decide to go away.

Don’t do package holidays so find a cheap as chips flight with a popular budget airline.

Find a nice apartment on Airbnb which says it’s wheelchair accessible.  Email owner to find out that it is indeed completely flat inside, it’s just the twelve inch step to get into it that isn’t.

Decide to take Molly’s powerchair on holiday for the first time ever.  How difficult can it be, people travel with power chairs all the time right? But forgot we were travelling with this particular airline.

Call aforementioned airline to book special assistance which is only flagged up that we need to do so once we have handed over our money.  Have a very interesting conversation with highly intelligent call centre operative who informs me that they can only carry her chair if it is under 81cm high.  Her chair measures in at 110cm.  Molly is not a giant.  She has exceptionally long, supermodel length legs which sadly she did not get from me, but she is of otherwise normal size and has a correspondingly normal sized chair.  When this is expressed to same agent it is reiterated that they cannot carry chair.  In order to discuss this further I ask to speak to a manager.  None are available but one will call me tomorrow. Of course.

Spend the huge amounts of spare time a fourteen year old girl has before school in the morning trying variations on a theme to fit said teenager into a too small manual chair.  Previously mentioned supermodel legs prove problematic as seat cushion only comes half way down her thighs.  Not enough support for a weeks trip away.

Drive to Exeter to ask the lovely Julian at Exeter Mobility Centre how to take a 120kg wheelchair apart.  Armed with a can of lubricant in a car park (?!) we achieve the impossible and shrink the chair to 71cm high.

Go home via Exeter Disability Centre where the delightful Dave finds us a perfect travel ramp to fit on the back of now miniaturised powerchair so we can get into the wheelchair accessible apartment.

Call airline to give them the new dimensions of the chair along with instructions of how to disconnect the battery for flight.  Nervous! Not at all.  Assured they need nothing more.

Half an hour later receive an emailed form asking for the identical information before we will be permitted to fly.  Call centre is now shut so fill it all in again and send it back.  Receive another email telling me we are now OK to fly, oops could we just check in.

This takes an hour as the site keeps crashing.

Eventually done, now we can go on holiday.  Think I am too tired now.  Oh and the manager didn’t call back.

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