News and views for handicapped travelers, popping up in the strangest places .

News and views for handicapped travelers ...
Photo by: ucskunk (Stock Exchange)

Hello, everybody! I hope you had a most wonderful first week of the New Year! I kicked it off in the warm weather of Tampa, Florida; a huge change from my journey to Times Square last time around!

And now, to celebrate 2011 and all its great promise, I thought I would bring back a fun feature from the Disabled Travelers archives: the monthly News Round-Up!

And remember, if YOU’VE got news to share, you can always post me a comment or send me an email at! Here we go …

I’ve mentioned him before, but this is worth repeating: Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor at Large for AARP, maintains Peter Greenberg Worldwide, a site that offers the latest travel news often with a slant toward disabled travelers and accessibility issues. Peter’s home on the web also includes audio and text Daily Travel Tips. As recently as December 27th, he did a piece on Wheelchair Users and Airlines, the latest addition in an expansive Accessible Travel section. Very highly recommended!

Even though the holiday travel season is coming to a close, the winter months are a good test of how airlines and government agencies are adapting to the accessibility needs of disabled travelers. Chicago Tribune reporter Lisa Black offers us an insight on the mixed air security situation for handicapped passengers. The Transportation Security Agency claims to have worked with 70 “disability-related groups” developing screening procedures for handicapped travelers, and many sources are reporting gains in courtesy, understanding, and efficiency. Let’s hope the trend continues!

TSA is a major part of how Americans fly, and any growth in its treatment of disabled travelers is a positive sign. But there are a lot of airports and a lot of airlines, and some of them have catching up to do when it comes to accessibility. JetBlue was recently fined over half a million dollars for violations pertaining in part to their treatment of handicapped travelers. The airline allegedly failed to provide adequate help to disabled passengers boarding and leaving planes. While there’s nothing good about any of that, hats off to Department of Transportation for ensuring a hefty portion of the fine is used by JetBlue to improve accessibility and training.

Now to turn our attention to a little something that’s not so little – an issue just about every handicapped world traveler has dealt with at one time or another. From The Jerusalem Post, a short piece of advice that goes a long way: “Treat Disabled Passengers as Competent Adults.” Commemorating the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (December 3rd), a blind traveler relates her experiences with Israel’s El Al Airlines and airport staff across Israel and the United States. Some simple, but sage advice, with an especially useful perspective for those with sight disabilities asserting their rights as travelers.

Everybody wants to be independent, but not everybody – disabled or not – is always comfortable with travel. For some, the complications of traveling with a disability can seem overwhelming, especially as airport procedures get more complicated. That’s why it’s terrific news that Logan International Airport and St. Vincent Healthcare teamed up to demonstrate security procedures for wheelchair-using patients. It sounds like this initiative really helped St. Vincent patients gain confidence, and I hope it helps them take trips of their own when they’re out and about again! Good work, all!

That’s it for this week and this edition of the News Round-Up! But you can bet I’ll be back with more next week, starting on a whole new adventure with a slew of articles about the places I hope to visit in my next few trips. Catch you then!


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Comment by william stoddard

Posted on February 9th, 2011




PARAQUAD AUTOMOBILITY and HINCKLEASE, INC., Salt Lake City, Utah, made a joint press release today announcing the availability of WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE DODGE & CHRYSLER MINI-VANS at THRIFTY CAR RENTAL, DOLLAR RENT-A-CAR and PAYLESS CAR RENTAL facilities in several major cities across the nation. Select Rental Agencies are currently offering these specialized units in Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Austin , and Panama City Beach. Hinckley’s leasing and fleet management company specializes in providing vehicles to car rental operators in almost all 50 states. Said Brian Baker, V.P. HINCKLEASE, “This innovative financing collaboration is the first of its kind to provide a means to the car rental industry for easy entry into the expanding marketplace for specialized rental vehicles, and to address the needs of disabled traveler”. Added Bill Stoddard, Pres., ParaQuad, “In Utah alone we have over 180,000 handicapped registered vehicles being driven by, or for, disabled individuals, that’s close to 15% of all consumer vehicles registered in this state. Project Utah’s driving disabled numbers across the rest of the country, and suddenly we’re talking about a huge number of travelers who both need, and deserve, to have access to the same mobility and ease of travel that has historically been available only to the able-bodied”. Hincklease and ParaQuad AutoMobility, exclusively represent the 40 year old Savage, MN, wheelchair van conversion manufacturer, ROLLX VANS, within the car rental industry, and shaped the three way partnership that provides these fully automated, lowered floor, wheel chair accessible mini-vans with Hand- Controls to the daily car rental industry. Rental Agencies initially offering these specialized units are THRIFTY CAR RENTAL, Salt Lake City, UT, PAYLESS CAR RENTAL Denver, CO, PAYLESS CAR RENTAL, Phoenix, AZ, PAYLESS CAR RENTAL, Las Vegas, NV, THRIFTY & DOLLAR RENT-A-CAR, Austin & Killeen, TX, and DOLLAR RENT-A-CAR & THRIFTY CAR RENTAL in Panama City Beach, FL.
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