Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Schlepping from gate to gate gets tougher for seniors
Schlepping from gate to gate gets tougher for seniors PDF Print E-mail


Q: It seems more and more when we fly and need to change planes, the gates get farther and farther apart. Just the other day, we flew Southwest from Fort Lauderdale to Tucson. We had to change planes in Las Vegas, the gates were at least two miles apart, and we had to walk it. It took us at least 25 minutes, dragging our carry-ons behind us.

Also, it seems there are no more of the electric golf carts we once saw in all airports. We’re both in our 80s and airlines don’t seem to give a damn about making us walk such long distances. What can we do?

A: The same happened to us recently, and we wrote a complaint to the CEO of SW. About two months later we received a stock letter with the message that summed up: Thank you for flying Southwest, but who cares about you feeble old goats.

Many of the larger, most crowded airports quit their golf cart services because there were too many accidents and lawsuits, and insurance charges went sky high. A few airports still offer cart services, some for free and others for fee.

Considering your ages, the best suggestion we can offer is that you make prior reservations for two wheelchairs and attendants to push you through the airport when you first arrive, also for catching connecting flights and when the plane lands at your destination airport.

Most airlines provide them free, but you’re expected to tip the wheelchair guys at least $5 per ride, especially if there’s a lot of territory to cover in the airport. One warning: In our experiences, when we’ve arrived for some flights, the wheelchair guys wouldn’t take along any bags, including carry-ons we could’ve carried on our laps, and insisted we check them. However, we’ve seen other situations where wheelchair-bound people were allowed to take bags on their laps. So, if you have only carry-ons, try insisting that you won’t check them.


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