How not to handle passengers with wheelchair assistance
When the reservation was made, I discussed with a USA 3000 agent the necessity of the wheelchair and the person to push the wheelchair at every airport. She reassured me repeatedly that the wheelchair and pusher would be at the gate and at the door to the aircraft without fail and would remain with my mother throughout the airport.
Upon arrival in Pittsburg, where we needed to clear customs, there was the wheelchair. Mother was seated in it, we walked along beside, and a man who might have been the gate agent, pushed her up the jetway, then walked away saying, âSomeone will come to push.â We waited. It was cold. All of the passengers passed by. I finally walked around the corner and called to the crew, laughing with that man, that we were still waiting. The man replied, âSomeone will come. I didnât know about the wheelchair until you got here.â âI donât work for USA 3000.â
We were still standing, waiting, cold, when the crew walked by us to leave. I said, âWe are still waiting. What are we to do?â âWe are not allowed to push,â was the response, and they kept ongoing. The man (who was indeed the gate agent when we checked back in at the gate) was letting himself out through the side door, clearly unhappy with me for being dissatisfied, sarcastically observed, âGlad you had a good vacation!â The pusher finally arrived.
Gate staff and cabin crew all enjoyed their chat and laughter with each other and the frequent fliers. The 90-year-old lady in the wheelchair was invisible to them.