Dubai Trip – part 2 – Airport & Flight
Going abroad as a disabled-traveller means that I need to think about my entire luggage as well as any equipment that I require. Upon heading to the airport, I needed to plan and think about how I was going to get it all to the airport. The thing I had to consider was the fact that I wasn’t travelling alone which meant even more luggage! With this amount, I should have had two taxis or even two cars to take me to the airport but this was not necessary because I used Heathrow Baggage Transfers (https://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/terminal-facilities-and-services/baggage-delivery). The great thing about this service is that they collect your baggage from your chosen destination and take it to the airport that you are travelling from which meant that I did not need two vehicles to get to the airport. I also booked the same service for the trip home, which meant that they took my luggage back home. What also made this service worthwhile is the fact that it was cheaper than paying for two taxis.
As our flight was scheduled to leave around midday the following day, we chose to stay at a hotel located close to the airport as we did not like the idea of having to rush the next morning. We chose the Thistle Hotel, which is located near Terminal 5. The hotel was perfectly located as it gave me easy access to the futuristic driver-less pods, which take you straight to Terminal 5. However, the hotel is quite dated and there are no lifts or accessible rooms with the bathroom being difficult to move around in a wheelchair. The Restaurant and Bar on the ground floor also offered us great views of the runway although I could not watch my plane land as I was unable to get to the upstairs area due to a lack of lifts. What I also noticed is that parking at the hotel can become a little chaotic so I advise you to give yourself time and prepare to wait!
Upon waking up on the morning of our flight, we chose to give breakfast a miss and instead chose to head for the driver-less pods to transport us to the terminal. The journey to the terminal takes about 5 minutes and it’s wheelchair accessible. Once at the terminal, we checked in all of our baggage and my wheelchair was tagged although I specified that I wanted, and needed to keep it until I got to the plane. This wasn’t a problem. As a disabled-traveller I was able to board the plane first, which has its benefits as it meant that I had the pick of overhead luggage space! Once I got to the plane doors, I was transferred onto an aisle wheelchair which is small and uncomfortable but it is merely a means to getting onto the plane so there were no complaints there. For the flight itself, I chose to take my gel cushion from my wheelchair so I could use it as a footrest in order to achieve pressure relief. On the other side I was the last to come off the plane. But this wasn’t so bad, as I was escorted through a special disabled-traveller queue which had no one queuing, so I was whizzed through immigration and on to collect my suitcases, which was ready to be collected when I arrived at the baggage collection……even better! I must say, the service at Dubai International Airport was fantastic. My family and I were looked after from when I was taken off the plane all through immigration and baggage hall, and ensuring my family and I got into a taxi.
Prior to the flight, the lovely British Airways Rep made a call to the Double Tree Hilton Jumeirah Beach, to ensure that I was given a fully accessible room, which gave me complete peace of mind. As a disabled-traveller using a wheelchair, I recommend you get your chair insured (an absolute must!), either as part of your travel insurance or done separately. I ensured that my wheelchair was insured as part of my yearly travel insurance and so, all that was left for me to do was sit back, smile and dream of the warm sunshine in Dubai.
Find out more in Part 3 about my stay in Dubai.
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Dubai Trip Pt 3 – My stay in Dubai
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