Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wheelchair through the airport!

I arrived Wednesday evening after a terrific direct flight from Newark, NJ (love the near-flat beds in business class and the shelves in front of each seat, which was perfect for propping up my foot) and was whisked through the Mumbai airport by a hard-working wheelchair attendant. The flight attendants on the airplane convinced me to travel by wheelchair after they saw me hopping out of the bathroom (at one point in the trip, my foot hurt and I wasn't able to put any weight on it). As one of the flight attendants put it, "It would take you 6 months to walk through the aiport." She wasn't joking. It's long and there are a number of small inclines and declines (which are problematic when your foot isn't flexing properly).

This guy pushed me while also wheeling my 4-wheeled carry-on bag and was huffing and puffing up the slight inclines. I offered to hold on to the carry-on bag myself, but he declined. As we waited for an elevator to descend to immigration, he did put the bag between my knees and that worked out well.

Immigration was a breeze when you're in the handicap line! My attendant took my passport and entry form to the immigration officer and came back immediately to whisk me to baggage claim. No questions asked! It was also comfortable sitting in a wheelchair at baggage claim since it seemed to take forever for the bags to appear.

After my bag finally arrived, we headed to customs (by this point, I'm holding the handle of my 4-wheeled suitcase is in front of me as he continued to push...what a sight it must've been!). I was greatful I didn't have to lift my bags onto the x-ray machine since my hard-working attendant took care of that as well. Just before we left customs, he asked for the customs form and his tip. I gladly gave him a nominal tip and fretted that I should've given him more.

He continued pushing me to the car waiting for me in the parking garage. The car driver was carting the luggage so the load did lighten up a little. Luckily, it wasn't a hot evening and once he deposited me into the Mercedes Benz, he was off.

I'm glad I listened to the flight attendants. If not, I probably would've still been limping through the airport by the time I arrived at the hotel! Thanks Continental!

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