October 23, 2018
Hello again! This month I’m going to talk about my experiences travelling with a disability. Over the years I’ve been to different places in the UK and abroad; travelling in cars, trains, planes and boats. As a wheelchair user, I have to plan ahead to make sure the journey goes as smooth as possible.
Come Fly with Me
Let’s start with flying. I’ve been on many flights across Europe (such as Greece, France, Italy and Spain). Although I don’t mind being up in the air, sometimes I find getting on and off planes very stressful. Being a wheelchair user, it’s not that simple. When I first arrive at any airport after checking in my bags, I go to the Special Assistance Area where I have a member of staff assigned to me. They take me through security and then to the departure lounge. Once it’s time to board the flight, I use the lift vehicle (if there’s no level access) which takes me to the front of the plane. The crew take my wheelchair away at this point. Sometimes the vehicle doesn’t arrive on time which is stressful for me in case I miss the flight.
I remember one time my mum, support worker and I came back from Majorca. We unfortunately missed our booked flight and needed to rearrange. Luckily enough we got another quickly but getting on was difficult for me because they didn’t have time to arrange the special hoisting vehicle that allows disabled passengers to board at the front of the plane. I was last to get on and I needed to walk with support to my seat. I’d burnt my feet while I was away so walking was very sore. Everybody else was in their seats and didn’t look very happy with us holding up the plane. We had a brilliant time in Majorca though!
(Not so) Plain Sailing
I’ve also been on a cruise throughout the Mediterranean. The ship was very large, almost like a mini city, with over 4,000 passengers and about 1,000 crew members which I found too busy for me. I felt that the ship wasn’t particularly wheelchair friendly but the crew were very helpful. They were always willing to give me a hand with my wheelchair on and off the tenders. Along with the other passengers, I left the ship to go on excursions. We would travel to cities like Rome, Naples and Nice by bus. Unfortunately, that wasn’t at all easy for me as I could only do it because I had my dad lifting me on to the buses, but I’m glad I did as I got to see these places like the Colosseum in Rome!
For me, travelling to London has always been an easy experience. The city is very accessible by public transport. The buses in particular are really wheelchair friendly and the drivers help me by attaching the ramp (even though it would take them longer). I also find people in London are very helpful towards disabled people.
I love going to see a West End show when I’m in London – with Matilda and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the best I’ve seen. I also enjoy the sights of the city. As an art lover, the art museums are a must!
Hope you have enjoyed reading my October blog!