With the assistance of ICAN Resource Group and Cure SMA Canada I went on my very first trip, travelling by plane from Vancouver to Montreal for a work conference. Of course I was a little nervous about the trip but seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the national conference for Cure SMA Canada made it all worth it.
My travel dates: August 2022
My flight: I had booked my flights with Air Canada. Sadly, things went very wrong when I arrived at Vancouver Airport at the start of my trip to check in. Air Canada is as accommodating as the person you are dealing with at the time an issue arises. Despite arriving hours before my flight left I was denied boarding due to my power chair being classified as “too big”. As a result I missed my flight. Of course it wasn’t true, my power chair was not too big but being a first-time traveller I was too inexperienced to defend my case against an uninformed Air Canada Customer Experience Manager (CEM) who had not received adequate training on how to “manage the experience” for people with disabilities. While I genuinely believe the CEM was sorry for the distress they caused me but that doesn’t change the fact that I missed my original flight due and Air Canada was requesting an amount in five figures to get me on another flight that same day.
With the help from an experienced traveller from Cure SMA Canada I was able to have my issue transferred to a different CEM who did everything in their power to ameliorate the situation. The second CEM was highly competent and only left my side after I was in my seat on the plane and we received confirmation that my power chair had been loaded onto the plane successfully without issue.
Practical Tips for Montreal
I would like to highlight :
- The Montréal Museum of Fine Art is very accessible. Admission is free for people with disabilities and one caregiver.
Two things to bear in mind:
- Trying to book a taxi was difficult. I had to wait on the phone anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. Drivers requested cash payments which I didn’t have. I ended up paying double what the metre read for each trip using my credit card. Renting a vehicle would be the better option.
- The sidewalks were horrendous. They sported anything from potholes to huge cracks to slabs completely out of alignment. The cutouts in curbs had drops anywhere between 1 inch to 4 inches in height. Constant vigilance is required while traversing the sidewalks, a lesson which I learned quickly after driving through the first few potholes.
Hotel Taylor stayed at:
- I stayed at the
Le Centre Sheraton Montréal hotel
I would say it is fairly accessible. The bathroom had a roll in shower as well as grab bars around the toilet. There was also a low bed.