Packing and Traveling

Hope everyone is enjoying Spring so far!

The girls and I leave for our trip to Charleston, South Carolina in 3 days. We leave from JFK on a 7am flight…ugh…just the thought of having to get to the airport/get up at that hour is horrifying. I sent my girlfriends a short email with some FYIs and some heads up information since this will be their first time traveling with me since my accident. Some of the bullet points in the email: I’ll have my legs on but will be in my wheelchair at the airport, so I’ll need you guys to help carry my bag and crutches. You will definitely see me in my underwear and you might see me naked – apologies in advance. I’ll probably take 2 showers a day.
With my mom’s help, I did my first round of packing this weekend. Yes, I said first round of packing. I have a process when it comes to packing. I’ll pack, unpack, reorganize, and then repack. Sometimes this happens more than twice, but I try and keep it to only twice. The multiple repacking sessions helps me to get rid of “unwanted” items. I’ve always been an over packer and since the accident, I have extra “accessories” that I now need to pack, which makes the overpacking that much more annoying. Usually, when Ben and I travel, I try and pack all our stuff in a checked bag, even if 2 carry-ons will do. Since he has to carry everything, it’s just easier to put it all in one bag that will be checked. I know the rest of the girls will only have a carry on and I don’t want them to have to wait for me and my bag, so I tried my best to make it all work in a carry-on. So, I literally pulled out clothes, tried on all outfit options, and then packed only the outfits that worked and only what clothing was “necessary”. I don’t have everything I need to take packed in the suitcase yet, but I think I’m going to be able to make everything fit into the one carry-on…woot woot! What’s wrong with me?!?…it’s only for 4 days and it’s not like we have anything extravagant planned..I have issues. Hah. Pics and stories about the trip when I return!

Slight digression, but still somewhat on topic…Since I was talking about traveling as I started to type this post, I called up Delta regarding our trip to New Orleans in May for Ben’s cousin’s graduation. If I book flights online, I usually call the airline as we near the trip date and since we’re currently a month away, I gave Delta a call. I give them a call so they can help assign me seats that are as close to the front of the plane as possible, which makes for easing boarding, trips to the bathroom, and deplaning. When I’ve dealt with JetBlue regarding this, the phone call is usually pretty straight forward and isn’t usually a big deal. I tell them that I’m handicapped and then ask then if they can give me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible. If they ask what my handicap is, I tell them, and then sometimes they ask if I can walk and/or if I’ll need a transfer chair. I tell them yes, I can walk, and no, I don’t need a transfer chair but being as close to the front of the plane makes life a little easier. They assign me my seats and we’re on our merry way. Previous calls to Delta aren’t as quick and easy as with JetBlue, but still pretty easy and quick, for the most part. This particular phone call took about 40 minutes, 15 minutes of holding before someone came onto the line, another 15 minutes of holding during the actual call, and probably about 10 minutes of actual dialogue. The conversation went a little something like this…Anything in “(…)” are my thoughts during the call.
Me: Hi. I currently have flights booked for travel from NY to New Orleans for May.
Delta: Yes, I see those reservations. How can I help you?
Me: The reason I’m calling is because I’m handicapped and would like your help in assigning me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible.
Delta: Ok. Let me take a look. Would you like bulkhead seating or seating in rows 1-3, or economy comfort seating?..
Me: (I’ve never been given choices before of where to move my seat.) Well, are any of those options going to be an additional cost?
Delta: I’m not sure. Let me check with my supervisor. You say you’d like seats as close to the front of possible?
Me: Yes, please.
-On hold.-
Delta: Hi. Thank you for holding. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that for your flight from NY to New Orleans you’re currently in row 13, so that’s fine and we can leave it, (Oh, it is? Then why did I call to ask to be moved further up to the front?!? Idiot.) but you’re in row 23 for your flight from New Orleans to NY so we can move you up to row 16 for that flight. (Uhm, no.)
Me: I’m on the website right now and looking a a map of the seating and I see that row 10 is open on the flight from NY to New Orleans, can you move me to those seats? I don’t see many available seats for the return flight on the map, is 16 the closest to the front?
Delta: Well, those are the bulkhead seats and those are usually reserved for passengers who board with service dogs or …couldn’t make out the 2nd part of her sentence. And yes, 16 is the closest on the return flight.
Me: Can you please check and see if I can have the bulkhead seats?
Delta: Ok. Let me check with the supervisor.
-On hold, again.-
Delta: Hi. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that that’s the best we can do b/c that row is for passengers who travel with service animals, that’s the row we put them in (I’ve seen passengers with service animals in other rows..and can’t you check if the passengers who are on the flight are traveling with service animals?…but,ok…) and for passengers who have full casts on their legs. (I believe that’s what she said..that’s the part I couldn’t make out before. If that is what she actually said, I thought to myself, what kind of ridiculousness is that?1?, followed by, oh, I’ll do you one even better!)
Me: I see. Well, I have prosthetics. So, can you please go back and check with your supervisor and see if that makes a difference? This is when I started to get irritated by the call…in case you guys couldn’t tell. =)
Delta: Ok. I will have to check with a different supervisor. (Ok. Check with whomever you need to, lady.) Prosthetics?..
Me: Yes.
Delta: You said prosthetics? One leg or both legs?
Me: With a slight ‘tude, I replied..”Both. Does it make a difference?!?”
Delta: No..Ok..I’ll check with my supervisor.
-Then at this point, she’s spelling prosthetics out loud, but incorrectly. I think she was trying to type in into her notes, or something..who knows?.. I help her out..P-R-O-S-T….etc.
-On hold, again.
And when she comes back on the phone…
Delta: Ok, you’re in seats 10 D and E.
Me: Ok, great. Thank you..and for the return flight?
Delta: 10 D and E.
Me: Oh, ok…same seats. Great. Thanks!
Delta: Thank you.
And then she hung up with the quickness…
I thought I was going to shoot myself mid-way through the call…holy crap!! All is well in the end and they moved my seats up, but, come on, Delta…get your s**t together…

Still job hunting…hate it. If anyone knows of anything or has any contacts that I can reach out to, please let me know. You can shoot me an email at teenakatz@gmail.com. Thanks in advance!
Currently going through fittings for new sockets for my prosthetics – pics when I’m done with fittings and they’re completed.

On the next episode of Teenavs7train…South Carolina pics/stories and pics of new sockets (maybe).
As always, thanks for following and reading!

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