Recently, my father took his first airline flight since 2001 to visit his siblings. Dad is 87, and an online wiz! He printed his e-tickets, confirmed his limo, checked with TSA about being an elderly traveler. When he got to O'Hare, his driver made sure there was a wheelchair for him. At security, TSA didn't confiscate his meds or the kiszka I packed.
As Dad was going down the jetway to the flight, another man was walking behind him -- the pilot. The captain asked, "Sir, will you be needing a chair when we arrive in Norfolk?" My dad said yes, and the captain said, "I'll make sure to call ahead to arrange it." My dad was amazed and thanked him profusely.
But the best is yet to come. Dad, in his electric wheelchair, was waiting for his turn to enter the plane and get into his coach seat. While he was preparing to give his bag to the flight attendant, she said to him: "Sir, I'll be taking your bag up there," and nodded to first class. A bit confused, Dad said, "Well, there must be some mistake, because my seat is in coach." The flight attendant said, "Well, Mr. O, that young lady there (pointing to a woman who was preparing to sit in Dad's coach seat) saw that you were traveling alone as a veteran and has insisted that she take your seat, and you take hers in first class."
Dad never even got a chance to thank her, and the lady was adamant that her name was not given. So, to that wonderful lady who was traveling to Norfolk, Va., on a United flight on May 12, I want to thank you over and over! You made the day a bit less stressful for an elderly traveler.
On behalf of my father, Chester Osada