Although applying for the Winston Churchill Memorial trust fellowship was driven by my desire to find out more about the disability movement down under, part of my drive to apply came from knowing that there was no other circumstances that I would subject myself to the journey.
While for most people going to Australia or new Zealand from the UK is a big deal, for me it felt incredibly risky. I’ve done long flights before but never two back to back.
Physically flying is a challenging as a female wheelchair user is end up being man handled to my seat and then I have to assume that i will not be accessing the toliet during the flight. Now on a 3 hour flight going without the loo for me is doable but 11 hours takes planning.
To minimise the impact I:
- Travel with a personal assistant
- Travel in a manual wheelchair
- travelled via Korean air as they provided the most even flight legs
- Strictly monitor and limit my liquid intake
- As a last resort wore an adult nappy
As it turned out Korean air were better than most long distance airline I have previously travelled on and offered me an aisle chair to the toliet.
I have survived the outward journey but it doesn’t mean that I’m looking forward to the return.