Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flying the physically challenged skies

Have just completed a business trip to Japan as a disabled physically challenged passenger. I tore a ligament playing sport on Sunday but wanted to continue with my trip to Japan, figuring that with car connections and wheel-chair assistance at each end it should still be a relatively successful trip.

I am usually a critic of Qantas for lots of things including charging me a fortune for free tickets, being anti-competitive in their route management and screwing up the implementation of their new video system. But I can tell you that they offer fantastic support for a person who can't walk. Wheel chairs appeared at every turn, staff jumped at the chance to help me move from one place to the other or bring me drinks/food and I was whisked through security, immigration, customs and quarantine at a speed so far unrecorded in my years as a air warrior.

The only downside was that due to security concerns my taxi driver at Sydney airport could not help me to the check-in counter and no-one could leave the check-in counter to help me so I had to struggle with crutches and bags from the curb side to the check-in area.

The Japan visit itself was very productive even if I was effectively confined to the hotel. I did have a chance to go out to dinner on Tuesday night with GTA head of Asia Pacific and Webjet Board Member John Guscic. We shared a great Japanese meal and reminisced about Cendant/Travelport re-organisations one through a hundred and one.

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