Our trip to hell – part 2 – Los Angeles


LA’s iconic Hollywood sign was one sight we didn’t see.

Our British Airways flight from Madrid to Heathrow was beset with problems. First, there was a ‘technical issue’ with the plane. At least, that was the official explanation but one of the staff at the boarding gate revealed that a bird had got on board and was being removed.

Then, once we landed in London, there was nowhere for us to disembark – no gate, no stand. The pilot explained that earlier the runway had been closed because debris had to be removed. This had led to delays for departing planes and we were suffering the knock-on effect.

Needing to use a wheelchair, we were offloaded after other passengers, which is normal airline practice. Wheelchairs and other special needs are first on, last off. Anyway, by the time we reached the departure gate for our connecting flight to te USA, we were too late. The gate had been closed two minutes previously.

So, off we went to another desk where a replacement flight would be arranged. Unfortunately, this was the next morning, so BA paid for us to stay in a 5-star hotel overnight with evening meal and breakfast.

But our airport problems weren’t over because just as we reached the platform of the underground train that links the terminals, it went out of service. There was nothing for it but to join other airport users on the alternative walkway.

How we made it, I have no idea, but the gate was still open, and it was not too long before we were in the air, heading for the States; London to Los Angeles non-stop.
The flight delays meant that we had lost the first day of our stay in LA and while we arrived early afternoon LA time, we had just flown for 10 hours.

Visiting LA in torrential rain

walk of fame

The city’s Walk of Fame was another attraction we missed.

Lisa had been to California before, she is American, but it was my first time. Because of this, she had spent ages organizing a programme to give me a great visit. But, sadly, that wasn’t to be.

The next day, we awoke to torrential rain. It was the edge of a rare storm coming in from the Pacific. We had booked a sightseeing tour but with many not being visible because of low cloud and the difficulties of getting off and on the bus with a wheelchair in the rain, we decided to cancel.

The following day was no better and we cancelled our plans again, although this time we had nothing pre-booked. This brought us to Friday and Lisa’s knee suddenly locked and it was obvious that she was going nowhere.

Gary and Wendy at a music festival.

Highlight of the week came on Saturday, when Lisa could walk a bit. That day was a delight as we met, and had lunch with one of her cousins who lives just north of LA. They had not met before, so we had a great time. Cousin Gary and his wife Wendy are a delightful, friendly couple who happily spent hours with us and even brought a photo album of family pictures. This included some shots of Lisa’s parents and grandmother, pictures that she does not have. Copies are on the way!

Finally, Sunday arrived, and it was time to fly to San Diego for our cruise. On this flight, we were upgraded. This was a first for us, but it was on our shortest trip, typical.

Look out for part 3, our cruise experience aboard Carnival Miracle.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

go fund meUnfortunately, I have been forced to scrap my car and need to replace it, urgently. I also have a large bill from my stay at the hospital in America.

Please help me meet the costs of a wheelchair accessible vehicle and the hospital care. If you can help by making a donation, however small, click HERE.

Thank you

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.



2 thoughts on “Our trip to hell – part 2 – Los Angeles

  1. Lighten up a bit Ian, for goodness sake. The weather is the weather, and Airlines do have problems as do passengers irrespective of any disability, or not ! ! And, yes I know things are not that good for the Disabled traveller, but they are not that bad either ! !
    Carl Weininger. Northamptonshire British Polio Fellowship. UK.


    • Hi Carl,thanks for taking the trouble to comment. I did not complain about the weather, I just explained why we changed plans in LA. As far as flights are concerned. I agree that all airlines can have problems.In our case, it was hardly BA’s fault that one flght suffered two delays and they really looked after us overnight. Similarly, disability services at airports is great. I only mentioned the sensible ‘first on last off’ proceduere for the benefit of anyone who didn’t know about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s