I'm not sure why we never looked into the options of traveling with a disability. Maybe we just assumed it was too much work, or not really a possibility. Its really funny how we first discovered that it was possible.
Our accountant has MS and was insistent on telling us about his mobility scooter and how he was able to travel to Hawaii with it. It wasn’t much later that we found a mobility scooter for sale on craigslist. It was used but just what we needed. It has been so useful in everyday life too.
We wanted to take a trip to New York, to visit family and to tour. But my mobility is limited. There was no way I’d make it through an airport, let alone all the walking involved after the airport. I made sure my batteries were charged and off we went for our direct flight from Salt Lake City to JFK.
Getting through TSA in Salt Lake was a little tricky, but they handed me a wooden cane and I was able to walk through the metal detector. My little scooter was wiped down for bomb residue, all clear! Then on to our gate. We were able to go when they called pre-boarding, and I was able to roll all the way to the airplane door.
From there getting to our seat was fairly easy, especially since we were able to board before anyone else. I was asked if I needed a chair down the aisle to get to my seat, so if that is a concern for you it is something they can help you with!
A few hours later we landed at our destination and we allowed most of the other passengers to leave before we attempted to get off the plane. My little mobility scooter was ready and waiting fo me right outside the door of the plane. And off we went to our rental car.
The great part about a mobility scooter like mine is that it breaks down, so we were able to stow it in the back of our rental car. This way everywhere we went I was able to have it with me.
Now traveling to an older city like New York not everything will be accessible, so check ahead to make sure you will be able to get inside once you get to where you are going. We have been told that there are elevators to the subway, but that wasn’t something we attempted this trip.
Heading home, JFK TSA was a little trickier. Since I was not able to walk through the metal detector on my own they had to do a full body search, and it had to be done by an agent of the same sex. It took a while waiting on the person who could do this for me.
This time, instead of wipes the scooter was worked over with a handheld bomb sniffer. All clear again and ready to board our plane home! It worked the same as it had in Salt Lake. We were able to pre-board and get settled quickly.
All in all it was a very successful trip! I was throughly exhausted after the trip, but it was an experience to remember. If you are hesitant about being able to travel with a disability, please know that there are options for you! This is why I wanted to share my story, I want more people to know that it is possible to travel despite mobility issues.With a little forethought, preparation and the right tools it can be done!