Taking to the Skies with Mobility Equipment: Behind the News with Scootaround

The news of DOT's $2.5 million fine against Delta Airlines posed a journalistic dilemma. On the one hand we knew that this newsworthy event would get its predictable 48 hours of media mindshare but what is the responsibility of those who specialize in reporting about and consulting on inclusion of travelers with disabilities? How could the bully pulpit of social media bring light where there was sure to be heat?

Enter Gerald Adams Scootaround's manager of Online Services.

Gerald was first introduced to me with high praise by some of the pioneers in Inclusive Tourism. Read his guest article about how Scootaround works in the background to make the industry work for us and you will see why.

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Each year, more and more travelers are choosing air travel as their primary mode of transportation. The benefits easily outweigh most other traditional forms of travel; from increased safety and security, a wide selection of flight times across multiple carriers, and best of all, reaching one's destination in the quickest manner possible.

As the amount of passengers increase -- the FAA projects that air travel is scheduled to double in the next 20 years reaching the one billion passengers per year mark by 2021 -- so does the likelihood of passengers traveling with personal mobility equipment. As the mobility equipment industry reacts to a demand by "new seniors" or the "new-aged" as they are being labeled, manufacturers are being asked to produce a more adaptable, portable set of devices that allow a more robust and mobile lifestyle.

New interior on Delta Air Lines' Boeing 737-80...

Image via Wikipedia

With air carriers experiencing the higher volumes of traveling mobility equipment, it is inevitable that equipment damage in transit will also increase exponentially. There is now a growing demand to provide a service for addressing the repair of this equipment while still meeting the special needs of the disabled customer.

This has created both a challenge and an opportunity for progressive air carriers.

Enter Scootaround's Optimum Service Program (SOS)

Launched in 2008, this program and its team of mobility equipment specialists, now support more than 25 carriers worldwide. SOS, the first program of its kind anywhere, is designed to serve the equipment claim requirements of both the traveling public and the airline industry. Scootaround initially had come to be known as the primary national service for individual traveling customers who required mobility equipment rentals at their point of destination. From that beginning Scootaround's scope grew to include specialized mobility rental services at the major convention centers and primary venues throughout the United States. When the service of equipment damaged in transit began to become a more profound requirement, Scootaround was the company of choice to embrace this service. The results have been positive with Scootaround now actively engaged in providing the services for a variety of airlines including Delta/Northwest with whom they first initiated the service.

Services for the Air Carrier - For those travelers disadvantaged by personal mobility equipment damage in transit, Scootaround has been actively involved in working towards an expedient and efficient means of addressing the traveler's requirement to be provided with an interim equipment solution to allow the continuation of their travel needs. They also provide a complete assessment and repair solution for the damaged equipment. Through their established nationwide network of repair depots, SOS is now able to handle claims involving all types of mobility equipment (e.g. mobility scooters, power chairs, wheelchairs, rollators, etc.).

Delta Airlines has used the SOS program for a number of years and has looked to Scootaround for both claims support and for assistance in enhancing their mobility equipment handing procedures.  After employing the services of the SOS program, David S. Martin, Manager for Delta Airlines Disabilities Program said

I have every confidence in the work Scootaround has done and will do for Delta and our customers -- so much so that we have contracted with them to handle all of Delta's claims for North America

That confidence has encouraged the SOS team to continue their ground-breaking services and to help work towards better solutions for damage occurrences.

Services for the Individual Traveler - For individuals who require a mobility device repair for equipment damaged in transit, the SOS team will step in to handle the claim on their behalf. The traveler need only place a call to the Scootaround's One-Call System and an SOS team member will initiate the repair process and deal with the airline directly. The SOS service has grown to include a series of team members that have helped many travelers receive their mobility equipment back with the least amount of disruption.

From a simple joystick repair to a more profound repair of specialized or custom equipment, the SOS team continually demonstrates the expertise required to get the mobility device up and running as soon as possible. This is not always an easy task given today's ever-changing mobility equipment market. The team is constantly exposed to claims involving highly-customized equipment, older, antiquated models and even current models that are be hot off the assembly line.

Another available service for travelers is to leave their mobility equipment at home and have a rental unit delivered and waiting for them at their point of destination. With more than 1500 locations nationwide, Scootaround can be called upon to deliver mobility equipment rentals to businesses, hotels, resorts, convention centers, outdoor venues and almost anywhere travelers require mobility assistance. With thousands of rental customers served each month, Scootaround has the experience to supply the best rental equipment option. 

What's Next?

As the SOS team continues to stay in touch with the industry changes, Scootaround Inc. will continue to support ongoing efforts for service and industry enhancements while continuing to provide the traveling community with the support needed for their equipment needs.

More about Scootaround and SOS:

www.scootaroundoptimumservice.com 



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