I am leaving for Ireland tonight and for whatever reason, my knee decides that it is not going to cooperate. A few weeks ago, I was walking out of physical therapy for a rotator cuff injury and my knee exploded in pain. I hobbled to the car, went home and my bestie Camille iced it down. With Aleve, ice, and care I got through what I thought was a sprain. Fast forward a couple of weeks to August 18th. I am happily packing after Camille’s birthday celebration with her kids and my SO. I turn a corner to walk upstairs and the same knee decides to makes a couple of cracking sounds and explodes in pain, again.
Needless to say, I’m quite annoyed by the situation because Camille and I are renting car to tour Ireland and have some nice hikes and walks through some UNESCO sites and other locations. I go to our local urgent care to check on what is going with my knee. My knee is x-rayed. It’s not broken and I talk to a the doctor about my vacation concerns. He puts me into a brace which hopefully will get me through my trip and we discuss pain and swelling relief through the use of Aleve. I hobbled to my car and dejectedly drive home.
Camille was adamant about getting me a wheelchair to go through the airport and I have to agree because of the level pain I’m in. I’m so glad that she did. There was no way to carry my backpack and my camera bag through the airport. Luckily, her kids had helped me finish my packing before I went to urgent care and I advised Allen about the situation since he driving us to and from the airport. The wheelchair at the airport went smoothly and we waited 15 minutes before the porter found us. He took the time to explain how it works at the Philly airport. Since both Camille and I have TSA Precheck, we flew through security and unto the plane.
Dublin airport was easy arriving and horrible upon departure. The porter took right to the car rental desk and the rep took right down to the car and returned the wheelchair for us. It was seamless. Upon departure, we checked in and an American Airline rep came over where I was seated with Camille and walked us to the desk since check-in had to be there and she called for a wheelchair. She told us wait 20 minutes and ask again. We waited 50 minutes and became nervous since she had to buy a gift for her son and I had to submit reimbursement forms for taxes for items I bought (a gorgeous sweater for my guy and a silver ring for my daughter for Christmas). After checking in with a rep, Camille went to look for the wheelchair desk where she found two employees having a casual conversation. She turned red, grabbed a wheelchair, and we took ourselves to the plane. Dublin airport outsources the wheelchair services and it is notoriously slow. If we had waited any longer, we would have missed our plane and we arrived 3 hours early to return the car and get onto our flight. We made it to the plane on time and Philly was waiting for us with open arms and a wheelchair.
This was not easy travel and the moral of the story is give yourself enough time to manage the process. First, make sure to reserve the wheelchair before getting to the airport. Due to staffing shortages and wheelchair wait times, arrive at the airport more than the two hours suggested arrival time. We were told that sitting in a handicapped chair near the appropriate airline counter is a must. You can catch a porter as they go by and ask if that is your chair and they can also check for you as to how long it will be before your chair arrives. Before you can have a porter take you to the gate, you must be checked in with a paper or electronic boarding pass in hand. The porter cannot take you through security without it. Be patient, this service is understaffed and works hard. Tipping is acceptable and I am sure appreciated. We gave our Philly guy a tip for making sure we got through security quickly and easily, making sure we had a bite to eat and that we arrived at the door to the plane on time and relaxed. We also made sure that our departure porters received tips, as well. Use the service, as needed.