Fine. Then we just walk to our terminal?Nope. Up pulled a bus built in, oh, 1969 if I'm generous. Turned out it cost £5 each to use. Each! So my employee ran off to withdraw cash. The bus driver grumpily pulled down the ramp and demanded I reverse my wheelchair in. I had the back of the bus as my view. I usually prefer to watch my impending death when being driven to it by a suicidal maniac. The driver screeched off, either miffed by losing 4 minutes off his schedule or he was simply being an asshole. If you think a roller coaster is a heart racing thing to do, this bus driver ran rings around that concept. We all clung on for dear life as he tore around corners, the bus becoming airborne at several points.
At Terminal 5 we shakily got off the bus and, white faced, asked a friendly looking chap how to get to Terminal 3. 'Easy', he said chirpily. 'Just go through those doors, down the lift and catch the Paddington Express train. It's easy to get on and the first stop is Terminal 3. The train is free too!' he finished with delight. My employee and I looked at each other. Really? More transport? Fortunately the Paddington Express was reasonably hassle free, with plenty of helpful train staff to answer dumb questions. Two hours later my 'location' was finally on board Qantas flight Q10.
However just before boarding ...To get on board a plane I transfer from my wheelchair to what's called an aisle wheelchair (that fits down the aisle duh!) and from that to my plane seat. Aisle wheelchairs are usually not designed for someone with my disability however no other options existed in London. The design of the chair presented to me was nothing like that I'd seen before and resulted in my transfer to it being a harrowing experience. Fortunately my fabulous young employee saved the day! The positive outcome is that I think Qantas will now ensure changes are made to what type of aisle wheelchairs are used by their customers in other countries. In Melbourne the chairs are a much better design. After a few hours on board, fed and watered, it was nap time. All our blinds were down, lights were off and we were sleeping, watching movies (or doing whatever people do in the dark under blankets on a plane...) Melbourne. I'm coming - home?
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