Disability Travel on UA

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by misman, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. misman
    Original Member

    misman Gold Member

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    Looking for experiences of those disabled traveling on UA... other than the info at https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/disabilities/default.aspx. (I think I recall @icurhere2 had some experiences, but can't remember if it was UA.)

    Peach and I will be traveling to HI on her first trip since becoming ill over 12-years ago. We're really looking forward to the trip, but she is a little concerned about the air travel part of the vacation.

    Bottom line is that she has mobility issues. She does not need a wheelchair any longer, but she does not move very fast. She will have her cane with her... just in case. It would be best to have disabled boarding so as not to inconvenience others.

    There is also the concern of the quick connection at DEN (the other connections are long, so we should have no issue,) so think we'll need to get a cart or other assistance to make the connection.

    (None of this requires her, to my knowledge, to have disabled seating... but I wouldn't turn it down ;) )

    Other than calling 800-228-2744, any recommendations or keywords that will ensure we get the assistance she needs?
     
  2. SFO 1K

    SFO 1K Silver Member

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    Call and request a wheel chair for your gate to gate connection at DEN. They have gotten very good at being ready at the gate on arrival and moving you to where you need to be. Also if you call you can ask for bulkhead seats 7D and 7E on most narrowbody planes as they are held until T-24 for diasbaled customers. Simply explain to the phone agent that she has a mobility limitation and sitting closer to the front of the plane will reduce her discomfort when moving through the aircraft.

    I am Denver based and my husband is similarly situated though we have started to take our wheelchair more often than the cane now.
     
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  3. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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  4. Chris333

    Chris333 New Member

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    In cases of limited mobility and regardless of airline I would always register that with the airline AND request a wheelchair. I think that makes sure that gets you to your flight even if something delays you unduly. As importantly it likely deals with the kind of eventuality I ran into with my wife where for an Air France flight from Paris to San Francisco the 747 was loaded by a portable flight of stairs from ground level, not an air bridge. I had not registered her condition so although I found a wheel chair to help us to the plane we had a horrendous struggle to get up the stairs. Had we registered they would have made arrangements for a lift.
     
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  5. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Sorry to hear of your ordeal, but thanks for sharing the insight.
     
  6. TRHiker

    TRHiker Silver Member

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    Based on working with a relative who has some mobility issues but is not using a wheel chair: (a) I agree with most of the comments above, including requesting a wheelchair assistance at DEN and (b) for seat assignments on a long flight, I would keep in mind restroom location on your plane; it might be easier for her to maneuver down the aisle and back when the plane is on the ground and relatively empty than once or twice when the plane is full and in flight.
     
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  7. customdirect

    customdirect Active Member

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    It has been our experience that, with the exception of one rotten service issue connecting in OHare, UA has taken very good care of us regarding special needs. I had an accident a few years ago which left me with a broken tib and fib, an open fracture which left my leg non weight bearing, a quite serious injury. I used a walker for a year.

    UA, TSA and all concerned accommodated me quite well once I was able to leave home. Actually, making it through an airport as a special needs pax is easier than if you were not: No lines at security, first on board, etc.

    Make sure to contact UA in advance and review the type of aid she will need, ie: wheelchair assist for distance, onboard chair (to reach your actual seat as opposed to an assist to the bottom of the jetway only). Since you mention a cane, I assume you will need a chair or cart for distance as opposed to onboard. This information must be stored in your PNR and also, disseminated by SSR message (special service request) by the UA call center agent so each station is prepared. I would also call UA on the day before your outbound flight to double confirm the requests are in place. You will likely need to reach out to an agent upon arrival at the first airport to get the process started.

    Regarding onboard, I found that flight attendants went out of their way to assist however they could. As mentioned earlier in this thread, seating is important especially on a longer flight. You can certainly request bulkhead seating in conjunction with your special needs. If your budget or elite status permits, I would pre-reserve first or premium economy to stay up front near the bathroom and have the extra space to be comfortable. It makes a big difference.

    Enjoy HI!!
     
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  8. graphylis

    graphylis New Member

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    You can always request for wheelchair any time in almost any sensible airport.
     
  9. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    Our adventures (including the Air Carrier Access Act violation) were on American Airlines, as that airline had most of the city pairs we needed for government-paid travel. In the field of requesting assistance, you can designate the level of mobility. For instance, I would recommend a gate-to-gate wheelchair entry with a note that Peach can navigate the aircraft aisle herself - that way, there's no holdup with the staff thinking an aisle chair is needed for boarding and deplaning.
     
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  10. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Thanks again to all. Here is a follow up (if IF will allow me to post it!)

    UA had a mix of success and failures.

    Outbound routing was ABQ-SFO-LAX-LIH. UA had a wheelchair waiting at SFO and LIH. LAX was a failure, but it was just a short jaunt to our gate. Even though it was just one gate number, it was the equivalent of a 2-3 gate walk.

    Inbound was OGG-DEN-ABQ. UA (thankfully) had a wheelchair waiting at DEN for our trek from B29 to B93... felt like we were walking back to Hawaii. We would have never made it, even with the OGG early arrival and the DEN late departure.
     
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