Tight layover for elderly parents in Houston - assistance?
October 21, 2017 1:23 PM   Subscribe

My elderly parents have a tight layover coming up between flights on United in Houston. I expect they will have to change terminals (second flight is international). They both walk okay but Mom in particular is not speedy. United's page on senior/disabled assistance is vague. Does anybody have experience with requesting golf cart type and/or wheelchair assistance a) from United b) at IAH c) both? The layover is 1:20, I'm thinking fine if the first flight is on time and not so fine if it isn't.
posted by HaveYouTriedRebooting to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (8 answers total)
When I had to arrange wheelchair service for a relative who was travelling back home with a severe injury, I arranged it all through the airline he was flying on by calling their customer service line. No cost (besides a customary tip) and they didn't require any paperwork.
posted by quince at 2:10 PM on October 21, 2017

Not Houston, but at other airports we have requested assistance from United for our elderly relatives and found that they were quite helpful and responsive. I think it is a common occurrence and they have reasonable systems in place to deal with it.
posted by procrastination at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My spouse has used this service a lot (with United) and it works great - they will do everything they can to get you on your flights. The attendant will also help them get through security. You can sign up for it during booking but if the tickets are already booked, just call them to set it up. After that if you put it in their online account settings it will be automatic on any subsequent flights they book.
posted by bleep at 2:36 PM on October 21, 2017

Houston is filled with those carts. I have never seen an airport with so many. Call the airline.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:55 PM on October 21, 2017

Yes. Experience at IAH with elderly disabled grandparents who speak no English whatsoever and can only read Cyrillic. Tell the flight attendants you need assistance, they will handle EVERYTHING. Absolutely instruct your relatives to not get off the plane until the flight attendants escort them.
posted by halogen at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had mostly good experiences with airport assistance, and it does speed things up. Definitely arrange it ahead of time. The one time I didn't was rough, and we'd never have gotten through a tight layover.
posted by moira at 6:05 PM on October 21, 2017

As mentioned above, when my husband was traveling just after surgery, I called the airline's customer service line and explained the situation. He was instructed to flag down a skycap at the departures curb and say that he needed a wheelchair, and his itinerary was marked in their system so that a wheelchair was waiting for him at his arrivals gate. If nothing else he could have spoken to the rep at the check-in desk, or even a flight attendant upon boarding to request assistance. And agreeing with the comment that they shouldn't get off the plane until they have been told that their assistance is available and waiting at the gate.
posted by vignettist at 12:44 PM on October 22, 2017

Response by poster: Neato, thanks for the advice everybody.
posted by HaveYouTriedRebooting at 7:28 PM on October 23, 2017

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