Disabled Traveler Endures Dark Side of Accessible Travel
This horror story was reported by a business man who asked to remain anonymous but wants to express his concern of the frightening truth about unpracticed laws and unscrupulous people.
After an unexpected accident a successful businessman was forced to dawn crutches for a short period while his injury healed. This injury so effected his ambulatory ability he was subject to the use of a wheelchair while navigating large public dwellings.
Traveler X as we'll call him states he was asked by airport security to step aside while a handful of able bodied passengers where shuffled through the security process in order to speed things along. This seemed almost understandable for the first two passengers escorted through security. The issue arose when the 5th then 8th passenger was paraded through the detector.
Finally Traveler X was asked to step up and practically disrobe while funneling his travel-ons through the conveyor. Once through he was asked to quickly pick up his belongings, which by this time had been pilfered through like rummage, and proceed to his destination.
When Traveler X informed the security teem of his concern for there treatment of his belongings, they quickly retaliated by expressing their dismay at his lack of consideration for their efforts.
Traveler X boarded the plane and completed his journey...only to find himself in a worse scenario a few weeks later. After missing a connecting flight our temporarily less able business man found himself
sitting in a strange airport with no wheelchair assistance, no one available and it appeared no hope of ever receiving any service.
By a stroke of luck there was a flight attendant exiting the plane after performing whatever closing procedures they conduct.
The attendant was an angel, the only light in this experience. She asked if she could be of any assistance and promptly contacted the facilities wheelchair assistance department.
A wheelchair attendant delivered mobility assistance, baggage was received and business was attended. Stories like this are common although not to the point of epidemic proportion. I believe this in-part to there being an abundance of good in this world despite its obvious flaws.
The Issues Before Us Aren't Difficult to Grasp...
Compassion maybe the first step. Some seem to lack empathy for situations they may be unfamiliar with. This is natural which is why the Disability Discrimination Act is in-place.
The legislations main goal is to protect everyone and provide proficient service for the less able in public dwellings and communal surroundings. It does this by firmly stating basic guidelines for assisting the less able while in or near any public establishment.
Specific conditions are covered by law i.e. Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Cancer, HIV just to name a few. The link above leading to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) will provide details.
Overall equality for the less able is what the Act shoots fore. Unfortunately at times it falls short. Not necessarily due to any fault of its own but more due to the responsibility of the factions controlling its' execution.
Those Responsible For Making Things Happen, Need Someone to Make Them Make Things Happen
In many cases that someone will be YOU! You will need to take hold of your particular situation. Apply your best decorum and persuade those in question to first acknowledged you, then assist you. This is an unfortunate truth and warrants attention.
Story after story reminds us that we have a ways to go in bringing awareness to the corporate moguls that additional measures may need to be taken in assuring pleasant travel experiences for all.
Eric Lipp founder of the Open Doors Organization believes the airlines know exactly what needs to be done but simply are unwilling to shell out the cash to bring airport and airline accessibility to a peak!
Eric has Von Hippel Lindau, a condition that has led to his ambulatory disability. Needles to say Eric is to familiar with the obstacles plaguing the less able. Eric non-profit organization (ODO) is dedicated to bringing awareness to the door step of corporate America. Eric peaks at national conventions such as the National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel Restaurant Show and the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality World Congress. Eric is the recipient of the 2003 Access to Freedom award given by travel agents from around the world. Eric's' commitment is unprecedented as an advocate for the less able.
Consistent Lack of Monitoring, Poor Internal Management, Less Than Perfect Contractors and Poor People Skills Seem to Be the Overwhelming Norm In Reported Disability Discrimination Cases
The problem will continue until the moral standards of society has stepped up a notch. None of the conflicts, misunderstandings, bouts of confusion or blatant lack of concern will cease until individuals directly involved, from the wheelchair attendant to the CEO of the airlines takes ownership of the situation and lays down the law.
There are Several Pre-Trip Procedures You Can Implement to Aid In a Smooth Boarding and Flawless Arrival
- Know Your Rights!
- Contact travel agent familiar with needs of less able.
- Book hotels and accommodations before arrival.
- Confirm with agent or for yourself that accommodations are accessible and friendly.
- Always, Always Arrive at Departure Destination Early!
- Pre-arrange for DME storage arrangements with travel agent or airline.
- Familiarize yourself with location of hospitals and police stations for longer trips.
- One very important aspect of creating a DREAM vacation or getaway is making sure you choose a destination established as disabled friendly. If you are aware that your destination may not comply with all DDA regulations then be warned and travel at own risk.
Now that all is out in the open and eye brows have been raised, there is a lighter side to speak of. The number of reported disability discrimination cases even-though high is not out of control and with help from disabled travelers such as yourself we can be sure that our voices won't go unheard. Hopefully we can bring enough attention to the situation people within the system will improve the system.
About the author: Daryl Clayton Kennedy is the editor of disabled mobility scooter .com and regular contributor to health blogs and mobility related websites throughout the net. His mobility scooter reviews can guide you down path of least resistance when it comes to choosing 3 wheel scooters that compensate for your ambulatory needs!