Why are we hearing more and more horror stories about airlines treating disabled passengers with such disrespect?

I have a horror story of my own that pales by comparison, so much so that I don’t even bother telling it. I have heard stories lately that will blow your mind. Stories of airlines, major ones, that won’t allow wheelchairs on board, not even in the cargo area. This is what these airlines do: The passenger boards, without the wheelchair, and then, these airlines just leave the wheelchair in the departure city! I have now read three horror stories like this, including threats to the disabled passenger, treating him/her like a criminal simply for asking, “Hey, where’s my wheelchair?”

My own horror story didn’t end up too badly. It was over drinking water, as you can guess. I was on a long flight. I asked for water and was told, “No.”

I was so thirsty I thought I would steal from the other passengers if I had the guts. I didn’t.

From then on if the flight was going to be a long one, over three hours, all I had to do was to alert the airline or just tell them on my way in that I had a minor medical condition (emphasis on minor) and to expect me to ask for water, or simply to offer me water periodically.

If the flight is overnight this is especially important. While the passengers are asleep the flight attendants assume that I am asleep, too. They don’t offer water, nor ask. But I often need it, and sometimes, I can’t get the attention of the flight attendants without bothering other passengers. I have learned, since my minor horror story of being refused, to tell the flight attendants prior to boarding. It’s not necessary to put in any “special requests,” because they get all panicky over that. In fact, it’s best to act casual over it, but also to be firm and clear. “I will need water. Don’t forget to ask me.”

It would be nice if airlines also offered non-salty snack food, but that’s probably more than they can handle. If I ever fly again I think I will go buy bulk unsalted raw almonds before I fly, and carry my own empty water bottle. (Don’t bring peanuts on an airline for the sake of the other passengers. Some can’t even breathe near peanuts.)

It seems like any special requests nowadays means you’re a criminal. What is this world coming to?

Feedback and comments welcome!