Air travel with a chronic illness and a wheelchair can be a challenge, even in this day and age of so much advancement. 

The last time Nick and I flew was to Dallas in the spring of 2018, to see my brothers family. I have always loved to fly, although this trip proved to be more difficult.

I have never been comfortable, even to this day, being in front of a crowd, with the stares and expressions of others. When flying it is customary to have families with small children and anyone needing extra time to load the plane first. You would think that this would be advantageous for me. 

The airlines hire an outside contractor to do boarding when someone is in a wheelchair. Because of insurance purposes the aisle chair used can only be operated by that particular company. So, we waited and waited for them to show up while the rest of the passengers boarded the plane. The deadline for takeoff came and went, until finally two men arrived to help me get into the aisle chair required by the airline. 

Now, this chair on wheels is barely wide enough to fit down the aisle, has belts across your feet, across the knees and criss crosses the chest, similar to a straight jacket. Then they push you down the aisle to your seat while the entire plane stares at you, knowing that you are the reason for the late takeoff. I was embarrassed and humiliated through the entire process.

The airline offered no apology or compensation for the incident and I have not flown since. Sometimes the friendly skies are not so friendly.