There are some problems with our air fare. I need you to pray that this will all work out, that God will give us wisdom in what decision to make and that I will have the right words when talking with the airline people.
After I talked with Continental Airlines I don't even know how many times, and was assured by their "oxygen desk" that we could do on board oxygen for a fee of 100 per plane we booked the tickets to China. Then - AFTER BOOKING - I called them back and guess what - the people on the oxygen desk failed to check to see if they could do on board oxygen to China...they can't. So here are our options...
1. Book with another air line - Northwest is the next best but instead of tickets being 900 each they will be about 1700 each! Plus have more stops and longer layovers.
2. Take 15 batteries for the oxygen concentrator - each battery weighs 5 pounds! I found one company who will actually get this many batteries for me and every other company told me no. This means that instead of my oxygen concentrator costing me $750 it is going to cost me $1,265 and Mom and I will have to lug 75 pounds of batteries around in the airport on top of all Dillon's other equipment.
However, the catch is that the people on the oxygen desk are telling me I am not allowed to use Dillon's oxygen monitor (even though they didn't know what this machine was until I explained it to them). That I cannot even turn it on on the plane. I have been on 4 different planes with this before and never had a problem. I even have a letter from the manufacturer saying it is safe for flying. If I can't I am planning to get a handheld one as backup to at least do spot checks with.
Then they told me I can't use my suction machine! I can NOT fly with them if I can't use my suction machine on a 13 hour flight. I have to be able to clear his airway! I mean seriously - could a little suction pump really produce electrowaves? Maybe, but highly unlikely and I have used it on 4 planes with no problems. I do have a letter from that manufacturer as well stating it is safe - so we'll see what they say.
The manager asked me "You really have to use it while your on the plane?!" Clearly she has NO clue what a DISABLED child's life is really like. There is NO way Dillon can go 13 hours with out being suctioned. I told her I also have a battery operated nebulizer I need to have with me and she asked me "Doesn't he has an inhaler he can use instead?" I had to explain that "No - my son does not have the mental or physical capability to use an inhaler it has to be a nebulizer." She replied "Oh my son has one so I just wondered." Why would a person on the OXYGEN DESK not be capable of understanding that if I am flying with a three year old with SEVERE disabilities I would not be taking things that I don't need to take and that he does not compare to flying with your healthy child?
She then said to me "I just wish you would have given us more time." (Apparently their 48 hour required notice must not please her since I am giving them 20 days notice and that isn't enough!) So I politely as I could informed her that if her people on the oxygen desk knew what they were doing she would have had a whole week more. And that I am fund raising this money and I didn't have it any sooner. I explained that Dillon needs these treatments so I am also not wanting to wait here for extra weeks with the money and not going.
I really am so frustrated with Continental that if I can get permission to use my equipment I will fly with them this time...but I don't want to ever fly with this air line again. If we ever go back to China for more treatments I will plan to raise extra to be able to fly with Northwest - a company that seems to have a much more cooperative attitude in dealing with a child with severe disabilities. Northwest was even going to let me plug my machines in if needed while flying - they told me I could bring an extension cord if I needed to make sure we could use a power source. In the future, and for anyone else traveling with a disabled child/person, I would so far recommend Northwest BY FAR above Continental I just don't have the extra $3,500+ to do it this time.
Please just pray for me, I have to make sure I keep my attitude right even though their actions and comments (several other things have happened with them that I have not even put in here) have not been the nicest let alone professional. I am trying to get this worked out so that we can go the cheapest way possible. I know Satan is working hard to get me discouraged and worried. I am trying to remember that God is capable of working all these things out, and how much more it will be to HIS GLORY when all the details do get worked out despite Satan's attempts to sabotage our trip.