Friday, September 24, 2010

'Project Airport' lifts off today and shows patients how to navigate airport in a wheelchair

Wheelchair patients taught to navigate airport

CLEVELAND - It's hard enough trying to navigate through a crowded airport, but imagine having to do it from a wheelchair.

It’s an added challenge that can be scary and overwhelming.

Today, thanks to Continental Airlines and MetroHealth Medical Center, a handful of patients with spinal cord injuries got a chance to try out the whole air travel process with suggestions and guidance along the way.

Patients were met curbside and taught the best ways to check in, and, with the help of the TSA, maneuver through security.

The passengers boarded a plane and learned how personnel would handle transferring them from their wheelchair to their seat.

It gave 23-year-old Steve Elam the confidence he needed to plan a trip to Vegas with his grandmother next month.

"I'm pumped," he said with a smile.

Some family members also took the training with the patients in an effort to ease some of their own stress and anxiety.

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