Friday, October 30, 2015

Mobility Assistive Devise: The Operative

We have all experienced the seeming injustice of paying exorbitant overage fees to fly with our bikes even when they meet airline size requirements. Guns, snowboards, golf clubs, and huge, heavy who-knows-what's inside are not subject to bike fees that range in the neighborhood of $250-$350 dollars one way, a fee sometimes even greater than the price of the ticket for the traveler!

Traveling to Chicago in early October would be the first time I would fly with my ICE trike, Hiello. 

I was not hopeful rolling in an extra large, HUGE, hockey goalie bag 44" x 24" x 24" with the frame bubble wrapped, the seat and various bike sundries nestled in the free space.  The 700c rear wheel and dual 406 front wheels were in my ZIPP wheel bag. 

My first bag was checked in with an expected $25.00 charge. 

The Goalie bag rang up at $150, the wheel bag at $160. To get it home the total would be $620!! Another reason why cyclists drive across the country with their delicate cargo for events!!

I had taken pictures of the bike in its various stage of disassembly, printed them and placed the portfolio in the goalie bag for discriminating TSAs.

Then there was the question: 

TSA: "What's in the bag?" 
Me: A mobility assistive device.
TSA: "Open the bag." I did.
TSA: It's a bike!!
Me: It's a mobility assistive device!!

Back and forth we went neither of us budging.

Me: I have epilepsy. When my seizures are active I can't drive. This is how I get around. Here is my physician's statement. 

TSA: What's in the other bag? Wheels for the mobility assistive device.

Ticket Agent: Ok, ma'am; enjoy your flight; your device bags fly free.

My first choice would not have been to transition to a trike, but my gratitude that it allows me to continue to ride under my circumstances trumps any frustration with TSA or diminishment in my performance. 

Thank you United. My hope that there just may be a bit of reasonableness in the airlines has been encouraged. 

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