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Airplane in Sky

Adventure to Hawaii

My husband has been a quad due to Multiple Sclerosis for the last twenty years. He is also a 100% disabled veteran with 26 years in the Air Force. We have flown often with varying experience. We switched to a manual chair after US Air dropped a heavy object on his power travel chair joy stick and it took 6 months to get fixed. We just completed a trip from Philadelphia to Hawaii, with a stop overnight in LA both ways. American Airlines has a special unit who contacts us a couple of weeks prior to flights to confirm special assistance. At that time we always request bulk head seats because my husband doesn’t move and is 6’0″. Lately we have lost out to people with animals taking the bulkhead. There were six animals on our PHL to LA flight! We wish someone would invent an aisle chair for people over 5 ft. We traveled to South America and they had aisle chairs which were elevated so he could just sit in them with a single waist safety belt. It is difficult to get him in and out of the airline seat and the personnel helping usually are not well trained. We are usually boarded first before other wheelchair passengers as he is usually the only quad. On our return flight from LAX, they started boarding the general public before we could even transfer him to the aisle chair. We had people tripping over us trying to get through the jetway. Unbelievable! I finally asked the ramp agent to stop the herd of people. When we got to Philadelphia, I end up carrying my husband’s legs so we could get off the plane. There has been little improvement over the years. Our time in Hawaii was wonderful but getting there was certainly a challenge.

Wife of Lt. Col. Robert Hoffman, PA