Photo by: renjithmc (Stock Exchange)

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Disabled Travelers!

By the time you read this, it will be Friday, December 30th: only a tiny ways from the new year.

And what a year it has been! Throughout 2011,

I like to think we made the Disabled Travelers blog more fun and exciting than ever before; it certainly has been a blast to write, all the way through.

So now, as we look forward to a great new year, I hope you have love and optimism in your heart – for your own future and for the future of disabled travel.

After all, we’ve discovered a lot of good news and wonderful progress in our time together.

And here’s a little bit more before we bid adieu to 2011 …

TSA Launches Helpline for Disabled and Special Needs Travelers: Just when you were wondering if the Transportation Security Administration would ever quite come around to the world the rest of us live in, a real breakthrough: TSA is launching a hotline that disabled travelers and their travel companions can use to get direct, immediate, live assistance with their travel concerns, at any time of the day or night. Those who call in advance (72 hours is the recommended timeframe) will be able to obtain checkpoint support from TSA staff at their airport of choice, arranged by the agency. Great work!

Disabled Musicians from South Korea, Taiwan to Hold Joint Concert: A great example of international harmony with an accessible twist: blind singers from Taiwan’s Eden Social Welfare Foundation will join with disabled performers from South Korea’s Beautiful Mind Music Academy in a cooperative event. It will be the first overseas performance for the South Korean institution, which was established to cultivate the skills of young musicians with disabilities. Many of the star performers are blind or have serious developmental disabilities – and the music they make is beautiful. What a story!

DOT Marks 25 Years of Equal Access for Travelers: It’s amazing to imagine it’s only been 25 years – but, yes, the Air Carrier Access Act just turned 25 earlier this month. The Act, as many disabled travelers may be aware, provides for equal access by all passengers on airlines, regardless of disability status. In truth, the government and airline industry have worked together to do some astounding work in this time, developing whole fleets of accessible airplanes with most aircraft expected to conform to even higher standards as the new generation of planes starts to see service. Although things aren’t perfect, the Air Carrier Access Act was a great move – and we hope it will lead to the higher standards in airport terminals and check-in kiosks the Department of Transportation is considering.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with Disabled Travelers as much as I have. Cheers!


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