Our three children live in Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Monica. The balance of power certainly has migrated west, and we are meeting in LA for Thanksgiving. So much for roaring fires, at least in fireplaces. Meredith’s assistant booked us on Jet Blue, and I got a knot in my stomach.
I ‘ve flown Jet Blue out of JFK before. I know the usual wheelchair drill. You grab a Skycap with a chair at curbside. Usually they are amiable folks who want to help. They get boarding passes and guide passengers through security with a minimum of waiting. Want to buy a newspaper on the way to the gate? No problem. The expedited process deserves a healthy tip.
Not at Jet Blue. The guy with the chair listens to what you want then ignores it. Suddenly passengers are dumped in a holding area with other chair bound travelers. The first time, my skycap just walked away, saying nothing. I sat confused, feeling like just another piece of baggage. There ware Jet Blue attendants around. Good luck getting their attention. I think people just look away.
Flying these days is dehumanizing enough. We were treated as if we were cargo. I looked at the faces in the area and saw weary looks. Maybe some of us come to expect this. Skycaps are skycaps for a reason, and they are only following orders. It was not just what they did but how they did it. Finally someone showed up and rushed me to the gate. No time for a newspaper.
Airlines are right up there with the phone company, hate able and with no accountability. For the disabled, that means alienation to the second power. I have been put through the Jet Blue wringer a few times. Nothing has changed. I know a losing battle when I see one. Indifference is not malicious, only thoughtless and insensitive.