Who's going to help the handicapped at the airport? Airlines state there's not enough profit in the till to provide the service...and how is it handled when flights are delayed and late?
Ellen Brehm, a retired nurse who walks with cane, was stranded last September after flying home from California following the annual trip she's been taking with college friends since 1947.
Her flight, had which departed six hours late, landed at Newark at about 1:20 a.m. The wheelchair service she'd requested was nowhere in sight. Brehm returned to the plane to sit and wait, but a flight attendant told her she must get off so the crew could leave. Here I am, at 2 a.m., 83 years old, all by myself," Brehm says. "There wasn't one person in this whole huge airport. I don't know what I would have done if she hadn't come out." "Ninety percent of the wheelchair problems exist because there's no money in it," Lipp says. "I'm not 100% convinced that airline executives are really willing to pay for this service."
Travelers who request wheelchair service in advance don't always receive it immediately when getting off a plane because another passenger who didn't request help in advance may have reached the wheelchair first. Attendants are typically told to help anyone who sits in their chair. Some travelers also cheat, particularly at large international airports, where able-bodied people sometimes get wheelchairs to cut into long lines at Customs, say airport and airline officials.