Just got home from Las Vegas. What an ordeal. First off, Las Vegas is probably not the best place to go when recovering from ankle and tendon surgery. Everywhere you need to go requires a tremendous amount of walking. But that was not the ordeal.
When I bought the plane tickets, I ordered wheelchairs for myself and my mom. She actually can walk, but the distance you need to cover in an airport is long and I felt it would be helpful for her to also have wheelchair assistance. On Sunday at Logan Airport here in Boston, it was fine. Big help. Especially going through security. I have TSA Precheck and my mom got it for the flight as well. Both of us are able to get up and walk through the scanner. My crutches went on the belt, etc. Actually, when we got there, JetBlue has a special desk where you go to get your wheelchair and person to push. Even when we got to McCarron Airport, it was very helpful.
Today, completely different story. Cab dropped us off, I went in to the JetBlue desk. There was no desk or anything with regards to getting a wheelchair. I told one of the women there I had requested two wheelchairs. They got our boarding passes, lifted my suitcase onto the scale, took care of that. They had to call someone for the wheelchairs, told us to go sit over in a section of seats with a handicapped logo. We had to wait for a bit. Finally, two people showed up with wheelchairs. Took forever to get it all situated. Then they’re wheeling us to security and go right by the TSA Precheck line. They said they had a special entrance for wheelchairs. I stated I had TSA Precheck and I wasn’t taking boot off or remove laptop from my backpack. We get to the wheelchair entrance, which was also an entrance for employees and first class passengers. The actual wheelchair line was so long that the woman pushing me said “I’ve never seen it this long.” More people with strollers and family members than people in wheelchairs. Anyway, I got up there the show my boarding pass, reiterated I was TSA Precheck and she said, just show the TSA person and I should be fine. Riiiight. Basically it was just an entrance that dumped you into the regular security line. It was a fustercluck. I told them I was not taking off anything on my feet and neither was my mom. They made me take my laptop out. Which I could not grab because it was already on the belt and I couldn’t get up. People are walking in front of us to go through the scanner, not paying attention. My mom and I both said we could get up and walk through the scanner. Usually it’s the regular metal detector, not the one where you stand with your hands over your head. I asked if my crutches needed to go through the scanner, they said no.
Ok, so I get up, the wheelchair person put my crutches on my wheelchair and helped me to the scanner. Same with my mom. Major confusion about how or who to get the wheelchairs through. I go through it, I’m told I needed to be patted down. No big deal, I get this is part of going through security. I’m hobbling without any means of support. The TSA agent really pats down the boot. My mom got her wheelchair somehow. Meanwhile, my purse, with money, credit cards and phones, plus my backpack and my work laptop are now sitting at the end of the conveyor belt unattended. TSA hasn’t said I could move. My wheelchair person went to go get it. I’m looking at my wheelchair on the other side of security with my crutches on them, just sitting there. Finally, they said I could go. I said “no, I can’t, my wheelchair and crutches are still out there.” The two TSA agents said they couldn’t go get them and leave their post. The wheelchair assistant people said they weren’t allowed to go back and get them. Um, what????
Meanwhile, I see another TSA agent wheel a guy through and go right over to the belt. I’m like, “how did he get to get his wheelchair through with assistance? Did he pay someone? Did I do something wrong?” Finally one of them did go back, bring them through, then they had to swab them all. It took forever. And I’m trying to stand with no support. It was just awful.
I tweeted at McCarron Airport, TSA and JetBlue. I know JetBlue really has no say but I did order the wheelchairs through them so I felt they should know, McCarron Airport responded and basically washed their hands of the issue and said “Well, nothing we can do, hope you have a nice flight!” TSA did respond and they’re going to look into it. I said to all of them “At least I’m going to heal. What do people who are permanently disabled do?” It was such a ridiculous experience.