Friday, September 28, 2012

AirAsia on a Wheelchair

Date of travel: 12 May 2012

When I first flew with AirAsia almost 10 years ago, there was a checkbox on their booking site where you need to specify whether you are handicapped and need wheelchair access. If you said yes, then you would not be able to proceed with your booking. This was mainly because they do not use the aerobridge at LCCT airport. Everyone is required to climb the stairs to get onto the aircraft.

HH broke her leg on 4th May 2012. She had surgery done on 6th May 2012 to insert a screw, as the fibula bone had shifted. Our flight to Kuching was booked 12 months ago, for 12-14 May 2012. The airfare we paid was RM15.20 per person for to and fro, nett price including all taxes and no surcharges at that time. Hotel was already booked and prepaid and non refundable, a 5-star hotel called Pullman Kuching, one of the newest there. So howwwwwwwwwww ???

We went for the trip! She called the surgeon and he approved. As long as she does not bear any weight on that leg for 2 months. We borrowed my mum's wheelchair and her new crutches, and drove to LCCT. If you did not have your own wheelchair, you should stop outside Taste of Asia at LCCT, where there is a counter to loan you a wheelchair.

So we wheeled ourselves to a normal check-in counter. If you require wheelchair assistance, you cannot do a self-checkin. At the check-in counter, they asked if you are able to climb the stairs. When we said no, they alerted the staff to prepare an AMBU-LIFT to the aircraft. They also asked if we needed assistance to get to the departure gate, which we declined.

So what is an Ambu-lift??
Ambu-lift provided at LCCT
This little converted truck allows you to wheel yourself in, then the back portion gets lifted up, and you can then wheel yourself into the door at the right side of the aircraft. Talk about VIP treatment! You are of course allowed to board first before any other guests, as you need time to get to your seat.

The inside of the ambu-lift

This is HH with her injured foot. No bandage/cast, makes people wonder if she was really handicapped!

Once you are in the aircraft, you are allowed to use your crutches all the way to your seat, which you can then keep your crutches with you at the overhead compartment (in case you need it to go to the toilet).

Upon arrival at Kuching, no such ambu-lift service. AirAsia will be forced to use the aerobridge, where you can wheel yourself into the airport. On our return journey, we did see some fellas having to walk the tarmac when we got to use the aerobridge.

So thank you AirAsia for making this trip possible, eventhough HH was wheelchair bound.

Note to self: Even though it was easy getting to Kuching, it was in no way a holiday being in Kuching on a wheelchair. Pushing a wheelchair up the hill to Pullman hotel was back-breaking! Never try that again!

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