Airport Trouble

Some weeks ago I took a flight leaving from Nice/France to visit my friend Nina in Cologne/Germany. The flight was leaving at 12:45 pm. As always when I take the plane, I was picked up by Francy, a close friend, two hours before departure. Usually there’s plenty of time left when we arrive at the airport. But not this day…!

 

We wanted to park at a special parking in the parking lots for handicapped. Next to these lots there’s a telephone booth from which you can call the service assistance for passengers with reduced mobility. But actually this day there was a stand of Mercedes AMG installed on the parking lots for disabled and the whole area was blocked by barriers. Luxurious, powerful, prestigious cars everywhere! Francy decided to not obey by opening the barriers. We passed through and saw that the telephone booth was completely out of service. An Airport employee came straight to us and we were rudely asked to immediately leave. He didn’t even take time to listen to our explanations and obviously didn’t care at all. The man turned and walked away while I was asking where else we could park.

 

The thing is that my friend can’t lift me due to some back injuries. I felt sad and angry about this guy’s arrogant behavior and about the fact, that luxury cars are obviously more important than offering accessible parking spaces. I asked my friend to drive elsewhere.

 

We decided to go to the security guys, whose job it is to open and close a gate directly in front of the terminal’s departure area. It is possible for people with reduced mobility to park there for 30 minutes as I know from my own experience. I showed my disabled parking permit but this time the guards wouldn’t let us in. For what ever reason. As I started to speak to one of the guards he did neither look at me nor was he listening to what I said. My friend was very angry. Suddenly I felt so tired by these people’s ignorance and their “I don’t care”-attitude… The feeling of not being respected grew in my heart. Personally I am not used to be treated that way. Most of the time I am treated attentively with kindness.
Anyway… Time was ticking, so my only concern was to get my flight. Too much time had already been waisted with our attempt to park. We stopped at another car park. Luckily a friendly passerby was willing to lift me out of the car into my wheelchair! His gesture of kindness made me immediately feel better. Thank you, dear stranger! Francy took me to the counter, I got my flight ticket and a service assistant was called to help me through the security check.

 

Finally flying to Cologne

Finally flying to Cologne

I was boarded only 5 minutes before the flight was leaving. The Eurowings Crew was very welcoming and they even upgraded me. Once when all doors were in flight, I finally took a deep breath and made myself comfortable. The airplane took off and all the stress of the past one and a half hour was left behind. I was so looking forward to meeting my German friend who I only knew through Facebook and Skype!
A new adventure was up to come!
Up in the air

Up in the air

Air France Airbus A320 Paris CDG

Nice surprise at Paris CDG Airport

I lately took a flight to Paris CDG Airport together with my boyfriend. After landing, a nice disability service assistant helped me to leave the airplane. He lifted me back into my wheelchair and accompanied us all the way to the arrival zone. At the exit, he asked us what we would do next. I replied that we would go to our hotel and that no more help was needed as we came here often and knew how to get to our destination.

 

The service assistant wasn’t satisfied with my answer and kept on asking where we would spend the night. His insisting way of interviewing us was very uncommon – I really didn’t know how to deal with it! It made me feel slightly uncomfortable. My boyfriend replied that we would sleep in a hotel at Roissy, not far from the airport. The service assistant then wanted to know the exact name of the hotel. “Okay …”, I thought, “Why is this guy so curious? What might he be up to?”. But friendly as I am, I told him where we would stay, with a slight note of impatience in my voice.

 

Finally he informed us, that there was a free shuttle service especially for disabled travelers and that he would call this service right now to take us directly to our hotel. “Why didn’t he tell us right away about it?”, I asked myself with a sensation of relief. The assistant explained that he had been doing the assistance job for more than 20 years and he only wanted to make sure that we would reach our hotel without any trouble. He continued that he took his job very seriously which I confirmed noddingly.

 

As a frequent wheelchair traveller, I regularly fly to Paris CDG. However, no one had ever mentioned this shuttle service before. So in order to make this very involved assistant happy, I decided to give it a try for the next morning. The service shuttle picked us up at our hotel at 07:30 am. It felt like being some kind of VIP as we were the only 2 passengers. We were back at the CDG airport within 10 minutes. What an unexpected surprise! I’ll surely take advantage of this great shuttle service again!