I really have to give credit where credit is due. Austrian Air was fabulous this year. They went out of their way to give me the best service possible, and I do appreciate it. They were above the call of duty to get me home as comfortably as possible.
It is never fun to have an injury or condition that immobilizes you. When that happens in a foreign country is even trickier. I'm not sure what happened to my knee yet, doc visit today, but I do know what excruciating pain is. It put me on a cane in a country that loves stairs! Can you say going from the hare to the tortoise?
The prospect of making my way thru four different airports in three countries, dragging luggage, wearing a heavy backpack, walking with a limp and a cane...I can just say I was dreading it. Oksana, one of my friends and sisters in Ukraine made a few calls for me and I got the hook-up for getting thru the maze.
I initially asked just for transport service in D.C. so that I would not miss my connecting flight to Texas. I hadn't really considered the 40 stairs up and the 20 stairs down and the ride on an overcrowded tram transport to the plane that I would have to manuever at DNK airport in Ukraine.
Though it was a little disconcerting to depend on the staff to make sure I made my flight, it was actually a God send. They had a wheelchair for me at the airport and I had the least amount of trouble I have ever had getting thru security. The scary part was being wheeled out of the line of sight and left to wait. I kept hearing boarding warnings about my flight. Finally a gate person looked up and assured me that they hadn't forgotten me.
I was transported by chair thru the "back" way strait out onto the tarmack and allowed to get on the plane first. Someone carried my backpack and luggage up for me and helped me get seated. The same routine at VIE airport in Vienna. They had a special bus they took me to the terminal in. Also an escort thru Passport Control, all the way thru the maze and wheeled to my hotel across the street. I was assured of an escort in the morning.
The next morning, promptly at 7:30 my escort arrived and took me back across the street to the airport. I got thru Passport Control, and security like a breeze. (don't get too excited...still had the security pat down) I was escorted to my gate and assured they would be back to get me on the plane. I even got to sit in the "Business Class" area because of the chair. (that sounds more special than it is, I just didn't have to go thru the cattle call of Economy Class to get my papers checked, no special seats, just a different area)
Just as promised, my escort came back and got thru the long wait and on to the plane ahead of the crowd. The plane wasn't crowded so I ended up having a seat between me and the other guy in my row. Niiiiicccccceeee!
Of course the fantasy of great service ended at Dulles in D.C. What can I say...welcome home!
Thank you Austrian Air...you were the bom...wait...you were the best!