Kristen Parisi went through the ultimate nightmare of a traveler reliant on mobility equipment: an airline losing your wheelchair. Here’s what she learned to make sure it never happens again.

Traveling for wheelchair users evokes dread beyond the usual travel woes. For us, traveling poses much more than just worries about lost luggage, missed flights or having — gasp — a middle seat on the wing of the plane. No, for us, the biggest fear is having our wheelchair damaged or lost.

I have been a wheelchair user for 28 years and fly frequently, but my worst nightmare came true this July as I was flying JetB