Prisoner at Heathrow by Angela
I am getting anxious about this travel plan as I just found out my team mates won’t be picking me up in London. I will have to make my way to Gosport. I have traveled all over the world but when I am on my own I typically don’t have the xtra baggage of ocean rowing kit. I also have a post traumatic stressor specifically related to one of my previous experiences at London Heathrow Airport. I was flying from Malaga Spain to USA with transfer to connecting flight on British Airways in London. In Spain they gate checked my chair for me to use to change planes in London and when I arrived in London they refused to bring me my wheelchair. They porterd me, like luggage to a room far away from everything and placed me in a stationary chair w/o wheels. They took my ticket. I could not go to the toilet, could not get food, could not socialize or interact with other human beings. The door was open but it was like being imprisoned because without a wheelchair where can I go really? They violated my human rights! They forgot about me for a couple of hours and then the porters were arguing about having to take me to my flight, threatening to leave me to make bets on how long it would be before anyone found me. It was a terrifying experience. I am worried they are going to do this to me again. Really worried!
They also lost my wheelchair since it was checked for me to use in London and not checked through to Los Angeles. I had to use an airport chair in LA to get to the car and then Deb had to get my back up chair for me to use till they could find my everyday chair. I am thankful to have a backup chair but everyone knows in the VA system your backup chair is your old chair that was condemned and determined unsafe, necessitating the need for a new one. A horrible ride but got me through the couple of days it took them to find my wheelchair and get it back to me.
I do not want to relive this experience!