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12-1 Blog

The skyline of Boston, a city known for its many wonderful transportation options

Welcome back to the Disabled Travelers blog! Don’t look now, but this could be shaping up as an especially hectic year for those planning to travel for winter holidays or New Years. Airlines are often backed up, and inclement weather might be a nuisance. But remember that disabled travel doesn’t have to be limited to air and sea. Plenty of handicapped travelers are finding ways to get around with accessibility-enhanced trains, buses, and charters. In the U.S., these can sometimes be the “forgotten” travel options, so I’d like to talk about the latest in wheelchair travel “on wheels.” [more]

West O'ahu Sunset
Photo by: Matt Copps (Stock Exchange)

As the weather gets colder, tropical destinations are all the more enticing, especially for those of us in the north. Hawaii is one of the United States’ greatest natural treasures, and with most folks cutting back on vacations – disabled travelers included – it’s never been a better time to visit this little slice of paradise. Of course, accessibility can suffer a little bit when there are big crowds, but I have it on good authority that beaches that used to be crowded through much of the year are all but empty lately. That’s why I’m devoting most of today’s installment to Hawaii, and all the disability travel information about it. There’s a little more in this post than usual, since there’s so much valuable stuff to cover! [more]

Photo by: Laura Schreck

Pristine wilderness in Harriman Lake Park, Colorado.

Hello all, and welcome back to the Disabled Travelers blog, your source for the latest in disabled travel knowledge. This week it’s all about accessibility in outdoor adventures. Disability travel shouldn’t be limited to tourist destinations; there are plenty of beautiful sights out there in nature that disabled travelers have every right to enjoy. Luckily, there’s a slew of reliable disabled travel resources for those who want to see natural beauty with as little interference as possible from “civilization.” Among these are tour operators and travel agents devoted to disabled accessible camping in a variety of places.


Photo by: jnystrom (Stock Exchange)

Photo by: jnystrom (Stock Exchange)

Beautiful Niagara Falls

Hello, everyone! My name is Simos and I’ll be contributing to the Disabled Travelers blog from now on. I’ve been writing for the web here and there for over six years and I’ve journeyed around Europe and the world. It’ll be my pleasure to help you find the latest information on disabled travel and accessibility. And remember, you can always contact me through the blog if you want to share your own disabled travel experiences!

I’m on my way to New York City for New Year’s Day, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the region lately. I’ll be back later with a disability access report on Times Square, but for now, let’s start a little bit further north. Earlier in this blog, we reported that attendants for disabled passengers would travel free on the airlines Air Canada and West Jet. This would apply to handicapped travelers needing medical or mobility assistance, and obese passengers whose mobility is impaired by their condition.

Unfortunately, it’s gotten a little more complicated since then. Sources are reporting that passengers on Canadian airlines are to be tested to qualify for the free seat. Canadian doctors are up in arms – and rightly so – about all the implications of this. Requiring extensive medical documentation is a huge inconvenience to handicapped travelers and requires time and effort from doctors who already have a full roster of patients to attend to. As someone who’s suffered from reduced mobility and obesity problems at different times (you can see how one could be related to the other!) I’m alarmed. [more]

Many travelers—as they get older—find themselves unable to compete with younger counterparts in the mad scramble that travel has become. The travel industry officially helps many, but others are sometimes left to fall through the cracks. Here’s what I can tell you, in general, about travel options when you’re slightly to fully disabled.

Much of the travel industry seems to view “disabled” narrowly as “confined to a wheelchair,” and “accessible” as “accessible to someone in a wheelchair.” The needs of those travelers are pretty well directed by the Americans with Disability Act and the Air Carrier Access Act:


From Ed Perkins @

Recently Jean Newell, advertiser, was featured on The Today Show with Matt Laurer to talk about baby boomers starting their own businesses. Congratulations Jean on your great success! and thanks for advertising on

iBot Wheelchair

Some California soldiers wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are getting much more than a purple heart. They’re also getting some new wheels. They’ll now by riding around in an iBOT wheelchair. It’s made by the same guy who makes Segways. It’s like most powered wheelchairs except it can climb stairs, travel through thick terrain, and best of all, rise up on two wheels.

“Why couldn’t we use the 21st century that we use to make auto pilot and gyro stabilized equipment, put it in a device to help a disabled person regain the capability to stand up, look people in the eye and essentially be able to walk around, go up and down stairs and have their independence back, and we did it,” says iBOT designer Dean Kamen.

The iBOT costs $26,000 each. But they were free for the veterans since the money was donated by a group of California business owners.

Story from

Exclusive Services Provided by Scootaround Inc.

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) March 4, 2009 — Scootaround Inc. recently signed two multi-year contracts to become the exclusive provider of accessible services at both the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the addition of these two facilities, Scootaround now directly supports the nation’s five largest convention facilities.

“Enhancing the convention experience for all attendees is our goal,” said Tim Scott, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We service dozens of large events each month, many with 50 to 100,000 attendees each. It’s rewarding that convention center managers have recognized the need to partner with us, the industry leader in mobility rental solutions.”

Along with the LVCC and the Sands Expo, Scootaround also services Chicago’s McCormick Place (the largest U.S. center), the Orange Country Convention Center (America’s 2nd largest) and the Georgia World Congress Center. Scootaround’s onsite services include customized rentals programs that provide scooters that reside at each facility on a permanent basis along with qualified staff to run rental programs at larger events. [more]

Disabled travellers concerned about lack of information from agents (19 February 2009)

Disabled customers are not confident of receiving accurate ­information about accessibility when booking holidays with a travel agent.

A survey conducted by ­Accessible Travel and Leisure of 500 clients or prospective clients who have reduced mobility, or would be travelling with someone with reduced mobility, revealed 91% said accessibility of the accommodation and facilities was very important or important.

However, respondents were concerned about the lack of information provided. Many had arrived at resort on previous holidays to find they could not access a hotel, use transport to a resort or even use a toilet. Airlines were highlighted as the “weakest link in the chain” according to ATL managing director Andy Wright. [more]

WEBWIRE – Monday, March 02, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – For the 40 million Americas with limited mobility, oxygen requirements or other form of disability, who want to travel, Special Needs at Sea, ( can help make any trip easier and more hassle-free.

Now entering its third year, Special Needs at Sea delivers a full range of special needs equipment and services to hotels, resorts and cruise ships around the world, so that it’s waiting and ready to go when you are.

Special Needs at Sea has delivery and pick-up capability within most of the world’s travel destinations and can even accommodate “one-way” travel. According to company spokespersons, the most frequently requested items are motorized scooters, power chairs, oxygen equipment—including battery-powered concentrators—however, the company also provides audio aides, patient lifts, relief materials for companion dogs and hospital beds and cribs.

Andrew Garnett, company founder and president points out that… [more]