This is the bit that gets to me the most:
In one experience, my delayed flight caused me to nearly miss a connecting flight due to severe weather which would’ve meant I’d have to stay overnight unexpectedly and in a strange place—polar opposite from my plans. I became so exasperated that I felt that the clerk wasn’t listening to my expression of restrained anxiety when she offered me a traveling cart to get me from one gate to another—I can walk, run if I have to, so getting from one gate to another wasn’t the issue! After not hearing the reassuring words I needed to hear, I finally “outed” myself by blurting, “I have autism (she never would’ve understood ‘Asperger’s’), and I really need your help to understand my options.” (By the way, I got home that same night just fine.)
If getting to the gate to meet his connecting flight wasn't the issue, what in the world was? I can certainly understand that being stranded overnight in a strange place is a stressful idea, and that it's even more stressful for some people than others. But the clerk was offering to get him to his next flight on time. He says he didn't need help, that he could make it on his own. Great. Then go do that, and let the clerk who's probably dealing with dozens of irate travelers get back to doing her job. What exactly did he want out of her that she wasn't already attempting to provide, over his objections?
I'm not a big fan of "she never would've understood 'Asperger's'" either. It's a pretty well known term these days, so it sounds like he's insulting the intelligence of the woman who was trying to help him.
This is the nature of the beast. The thinking process and ability to cope with crowds and loss of expected routine and stress can be such a huge major issue that the Asperger person cannot cope with, at least not in the "normal" way. What I read into this article, is that this guy was more concerned that the other person wasn't saying the right words and not so much he was about to miss the flight. The change in expected schedule was a problem in exacerbating the whole situation, but he got on a one-track-mind over people's words and explanations that were not correct, in his mind, and he could not move away from that. Even in confronting the pilot and stewardess over the bag, he got in his mind certain things should be said and actions taken, and when these people didn't lock-step with whatever his thinking was, the whole situation got nuts. This is the concrete, off the grid, thought process that can happen with an Asperger or autistic individual.
And for the record, I am not speaking by level of personal experience, this is strictly my understanding in my limited capacity.
To say "she never would have understood Asperger," is probably very accurate and I don't see it as insulting. Autism, I think, is more commonly known and understood, at least as far as some of the quirks are concerned. I think this was his personal experience, other results may vary,. I have used terminology that people understand better, kind of like using the term "breathing tube" over "trachea tube." It's not meant to insult someone's intelligence, you just learn over time using certain descriptions are just easier for everyone involved.