We were asked to do a presentation in a small city in the United States. We checked and found that Air Canada, the only airline we fly, had a non-stop there. When we booked the tickets though, we found that Air Canada flies there on their summer schedule not their fall and winter one. We have to a stop over in an airport that we consider, from our experience, not wheelchair friendly. We also have to transfer to an airline that has caused us problems in the past, the plane is fine, the attitude isn’t.
So now we are faced with travelling to speak at an event that we would have turned down if we knew about summer and winter schedules of the only airline left that we trust.
More than that, we’ve moved. Our old solutions for getting to the airport are no longer options and we have to develop new ways to get ourselves back and forth, from here to there and back. Our initial ideas simply didn’t work when we sat to figure and others were way to expensive.
For two or three hours over two or three days. Calls were made. Flights were booked. Seats were chosen. Transit was planned. Then began the double checking. Rooms, accessible. Timing for transit set. Calls to ensure accessibility and understanding about the wheelchair. Painstaking work. Tiring work.
Travelling with a disability means planning and troubleshooting and having emergency strategies tucked in your pocket. Travelling with a disability means being ready, willing and able to deal with gate attendants or flight crew who don’t think you should be there at all.
Travelling while being disabled and fat – well that means dealing with sitting at a gate with everyone hoping that they are seated no where near you. Sunscreen protects from cancer, self esteem protects from corrosive attitudes, they both sometimes need to be slathered on thickly.
So, it’s done.
So, we are trusting our planning.
While both being quietly terrified of what happens next.