Results matching “airline”

1. Destinations for All

Accessible Destinations - how they are organised, developed, managed and marketed - are at the heart of this World Summit. We look forward to presentations that explain the processes which have led to successful accessible destinations where businesses have opened up to the diversity of travellers and have built a reputation for consistent, high quality services for all their guests. Under this theme, participants are encouraged to consider the dynamics between different actors and stakeholders which lead to positive outcomes for the community and its visitors. Contributions from the public, private and NGO sectors will demonstrate how destinations build expertise and know-how, enabling them to attract and cater for new customers in a growing but also discerning market.

1.1 Managing Accessible Destinations

Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) play a key role in coordinating and laying the foundations for local, regional and national tourism offers. The large majority receive public funding and are seen as prime movers in the implementation of tourism policies. The need for managers to show a high return on investment (ROI) can be just as high here as in the private sector.

This theme will:

  • Showcase and discuss world-class examples of successful strategies for accessible destinations and their planning approaches.
  • Identify the tools and methods used by DMOs for taking the lead on accessibility - how to engage local businesses and the wider community to change the mindset, create and deliver new products to the accessible tourism market.
  • Present and discuss indicators and methods for assessing the 'accessible welcome' shown by destinations, measured across the value chain.
  • Discuss how social media and new forms of advertising and promotions can help build the reputation and success of destinations and enterprises that make their offers accessible for all.
  • Examine the planning trajectories of destinations which organise major world sporting events and the "legacies" they leave in terms of accessibility.

1.2 Understanding and Developing Inclusive Tourism Products

Travellers vary enormously in their physical capabilities and their holiday patterns reflect that diversity. Whether that holiday is climbing a Himalayan peak, walking New Zealand's Milford Track, visiting the wine region of the Napa Valley or relaxing on a Caribbean island: that is a personal choice. The tourism industry is adept at discerning and catering to those wide ranges of choices, however, we have categorized a disability, through medical and now social models, as something different, and around that have built a set of preconceptions that shields it from a market view.

This theme will focus on:

  • Understanding the great diversity in the capabilities of travellers with a disability.
  • Understanding the aspirations of travellers with a disability.
  • Developing a knowledge of technological and equipment solutions that are available for rooms, sport, leisure, dining and entertainment.
  • Looking at facilities and paths of access from a customer point of view (which may be different from compliance with legal requirements).
  • Looking at procedures for check-in, luggage handling, check-out and resort booking.
  • Developing an understanding that the traveller with a disability is often the group or family leader, not a passive observer.
  • Understanding that the total group is the unit that needs to be catered to as a "shared" experience, and not just creating a "special" experience for the individual with a disability.
  • The growing trend of diversity in employment and the implications for the global Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events market (MICE), including the implications for accommodation, presentation and breakout rooms, social activities, field trips/familiarisation tours and conference extensions.

1.3 Information and Marketing

Before undertaking travel outside of their region of residence, people with disabilities will want to ensure their ability to get to the destination as well as stay there and dine. Accurate information on a destination is therefore of primary importance to individuals with disabilities, and we thus welcome contributions on the following points:

  • The level to which individuals with disabilities and their family and friends are informed on the services they are being offered.
  • The accuracy of the accessibility information provided, and the means to improve it.
  • Incorporating accessibility information into mainstream information at the destination.
  • The technological tools best suited for distributing information on the accessible services offered to the disabled.
  • Branding, access labelling and marketing of accessible destinations, where trusted, reliable and detailed information are crucial to the visitor's planning decisions.
  • The role of each destination to make available any information on the accessibility of its establishments and services, also in accessible and alternative formats.
  • The role of the media in the distribution of information on a destination's accessibility.
  • The use of imagery and multi-media to change the perceptions of travellers with a disability and to encourage and welcome visitors.

2. Accessibility in the Tourism Value Chain

2.1 Good Practices in Customer Service

Beyond the physical layout of venues and buildings, quality of service is paramount in all aspects of the tourism industry.

This theme will identify and discuss examples, case studies, policies and best practices, including:

  • Training requirements for managers and front-line personnel in terms of welcoming and serving travellers with disabilities.
  • Training requirements for product development managers on the needs and aspirations of travellers with a disability.
  • Examples of disability and access awareness training that have been built into continuing professional development for managers and personnel.
  • Share ways to replace the stigma of "special needs" with the attitude that all clients are unique guests.
  • Evaluate if vocational, collegiate and university programs in the field of tourism adequately prepare professionals to deal with travellers with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate the return on investment from training.
  • Evaluate the possibility of establishing service norms, for example, for restaurants.
  • Share best practices in customer service in tourism, culture and transportation sectors.
  • Identify measures that could facilitate the participation of people with disabilities and others with specific access requirements in tourist and cultural activities.
  • Identify the follow-up measures to complaints.

2.2 Involving Small and Medium-sized Tourism Businesses

The tourism industry is comprised of many small businesses: B&Bs, restaurants, cafés, equipment rental companies, tourist guides, boutiques, attractions, etc. 
These businesses are dynamic, dedicated and at times fragile. They are at the heart of a destination's tourism appeal; they play a key role in welcoming visitors, creating vibrant experiences and lasting memories. Yet for most of them, knowing why and how to make their business accessible and profitable is unexplored territory. 
 In this theme, we wish to address:

  • Ways to involve small and medium-sized businesses in developing a destination's universal accessibility.
  • The best way to communicate with these businesses.
  • The message to compel them to get on board.
  • The incentives that would encourage private businesses to develop their accessibility for people with disabilities.

2.3 Joining up the Supply Chain

Historically, inclusive tourism advocacy and development has been aimed at the infrastructure owners. The anti-discrimination legislation around the world targets the same group. Those infrastructure providers are hotel and resort owners, attractions, coach and bus companies, train operators and airlines.
Unfortunately, travel and tourism is not sold that way and seldom do individual purchasers put their holidays together individually on a piece-by-piece basis. The one exception tends to be the disabled traveller, who is forced to go to the source due to lack of information available through the distribution channels.

  • Developing a regional inclusive tourism value proposition.
  • Defining the role of tourism boards and marketing authorities.
  • Involving tourism wholesalers and consolidators in the packaging of inclusive tourism products.
  • Building inclusive options for regional itineraries and involving tour operators to include those options and schedule inclusive hardware into their planning.
  • Ensuring airlines and airports servicing a region are aware of the importance of inbound inclusive tourism and offer support services and transport links.
  • Working with the major global distribution systems to develop codes to enable booking throughout the travel supply chain.
  • Developing expertise through training and familiarisation programs for the retail travel sector, including the major online and traditional agencies through centres of excellence for inclusive tourism.

3. The Built Environment: Urban Planning, Architecture and Design for All

The United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesbinds States to take appropriate measures to:

"a) Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
b) Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities."

Barrier-free access should not be limited to buildings and their exterior layouts, but must be implemented within the whole venue or destination. In order to promote inclusion everywhere, decision makers need to support the practice of Universal Design and the application of accessibility standards. There must be new initiatives and measures to put access firmly in the curricula of design education, legislation, public procurement and conformity assessment.

Presentations are invited on the following sub-themes

3.1 Promoting Access and Inclusion through Legislation and Design Standards

Legislation and standards are seen by some as the definitive answer to achieving accessibility for all. But how are standards defined and to what extent does legislation support the use of standards?
In this theme we will discuss:

  • Policies and legislative initiatives from around the world, requiring accessibility to public buildings and environments, their time-frames and implementation strategies.
  • Experiences of specific measures and/or legislation for incorporating accessibility requirements in public procurement, design, construction and conformity assessment procedures.
  • Experiences of applying accessibility standards for the built environment in different countries and regions of the world.
  • Standardisation as a common language to understand and implement accessibility.

3.2 Applying the Universal Design (UD) Approach

Advances in UD/Design for All: another way of thinking, understanding and designing for human needs. 
In this theme we will:

  • Compare urban planning models that explicitly take UD into account to achieve a barrier-free environment.
  • Present examples of good practice in urban planning, with particular reference to tourist venues and access for visitors.
  • Present and discuss examples of UD in public buildings for common use.
  • Identify examples of UD in specific-use buildings, tourism and leisure facilities.
  • Showcase the UD approach in aeroplane cabins, cruise ships, other passenger vessels, yachts, etc.
  • Examine the current status of education and training programs for architects and urban planners in accessibility-related issues, in different regions and countries.

3.3 Hotels and Other Tourist Accommodation

Because tourist accommodation is fundamental to the tourism chain, providing many crucial functions for the visitor, in this theme we will pay particular attention to hotel design. 
We will:

  • Discuss norms for the percentage or room ratios, layout and features of rooms for people with disabilities (or "adapted rooms") in different countries.
  • Learn about the practices and experience of hotels in terms of number, availability and occupancy rates of rooms designed for people with disabilities or universally designed rooms.
  • Show how UD or Design-for-All affects the layout and installations of guest rooms, bathrooms and other facilities, and discuss possible implications for construction norms and practices.
  • Consider the role of quality and star ratings in making accommodation establishments more accessible.
  • Identify the level of information, services and amenities that should be provided as standard for guests with sensory impairments.
  • Discuss systems and security measures for assisting people with disabilities in case of emergencies and evacuations.

4. Inclusion in Outdoor Environments

Travellers with disabilities are eager to incorporate outdoor activities into their travels, particularly those shared with other groups of tourists. 
This theme will include areas such as destination management, including service provisions, facilities, equipment, adapted activity programs and information, as well as Built Environment and Environmental Design Standards.

  • Share successful initiatives that have been carried out in camping, nature excursions, hiking, beach access, hunting, fishing, etc.
  • Identify the main principles and norms that should be applied to different outdoor activities.
  • Evaluate whether the funding agencies leverage their public fund-raising efforts to promote accessible tourism and leisure.
  • Identify what adapted equipment is necessary for access to outdoor activities. (i.e. adapted all-terrain vehicles, beach wheelchairs, pool lifts, etc.).
  • Public and private parks that have taken several initiatives to support visits that are adapted to the special needs of people with disabilities.
  • Present and analyse the impacts of prevailing standards for disabled-access visits to public parks.
  • Show how visitors can have a richer sensory experience of outdoor environments and venues.
  • Demonstrate the means by which theme parks and leisure parks provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all visitors.
  • Present and discuss standards, guidelines and management tools for outdoor recreation: Buildings, facilities, environments, services and information.  

5. Technology and Tourism

Making a trip can entail a wide range of interconnected journeys and steps, which can be planned entirely either before embarking on the trip or during the trip. All aspects of the visitor journey can be enhanced by incorporating information and communication technologies, thus securing benefits for the services offered, for the general user and, in particular, for users with disabilities.

Visual, audio and tactile information can be used to inform and guide visitors, and to enrich the experience of attractions, performances and events. Smart devices and applications using mobile networks with high speed data connections are opening up a seemingly endless range of possibilities for the traveller.

One of the advantages of having access to information services which are responsive to the traveller during the whole course of the processes involved in the trip is the ability to react in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

In this theme we will discuss:

  • Developments using 'big data' to deliver real-time information in 'smart cities', providing enhanced information, convenience and safety to service providers, local citizens and visitors - and ensuring that these services are accessible for all.
  • How to ensure that Web technologies, content and services are accessible for all users: development strategies, tools and methods.
  • On-board information services, communications and entertainment - in aeroplanes, trains, maritime and urban transport - offering added value, comfort and safety to passengers with reduced mobility, visual or hearing impairments or learning difficulties.
  • Technology support for implementing emergency and evacuation procedures, especially considering the needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Orientation / way-finding systems for pedestrians in environments such as airports and train stations - finding ticket offices, boarding points, routes to follow, passenger information messages, or locating available services.
  • Uses of geo-localisation, automated notification systems and other supports when travelling.
  • Design and placement of accessible self-service terminals including ATMs, check-in machines, internet points, ticketing machines, vending machines, information booths.
  • Advances in smart, accessible technologies in hotels and restaurants.
  • Audio guides and video guides for visitors who are blind or deaf, or with learning difficulties.

6. International Standardization for Accessible Tourism

This theme will examine how international accessibility standards can improve tourism services, products, transport and environments.
We will discuss:

  • How to ensure that travellers with disabilities can determine whether a destination is accessible for their specific needs and that they will be able to participate in activities and visits: to travel, sleep, eat and enjoy the destination, safely and with ease and comfort.
  • International norms for information about accessible tourism requirements and provisions, based on common parameters and how to incorporate these in business practices.
  • Standards for curricula and training in accessibility issues.
  • Conformity assessment schemes and verification procedures that can support international standards for accessible tourism.
  • The methods and requirements which can lead to a universally recognised certification system for accessible destinations.

  • Heathrow.jpg

Written by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the passport-sized leaflet for disabled people, people with reduced mobility and their families, is aimed at making journeys by air as smooth and trouble free as possible.

It sets out what services disabled people can expect from airlines, travel companies and airports and offers legal advice too. It has been developed in association with the Civil Aviation Authority and endorsed by the Department of Transport and other travel organisations.

The guide contains 15 top tips for a smooth journey, covering areas such as assistance dogs, accessibility, getting mobility and other essential equipment on board and seating arrangements. It will be distributed through airport, travel companies and organisations working with disabled people.

With over 90,000 passengers requiring special assistance travelling through its terminals, Heathrow warmly welcomes the guide as another way to ensure its passengers have the right information and are prepared for their journey.

Ahead of the London 2012 Games, Heathrow worked with the charity Whizz Kids and Lord Chris Holmes MBE and Ade Adepitan to better understand how to help passengers with reduced mobility travel through the airport. The legacy lives on across the airport, with enhanced changing facilities, including more signage in Braille to improved staff understanding and refined processes like reuniting those passengers with their wheelchairs.

Paralympian medal winner Lord Chris Holmes MBE who is also Disability Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

"Dignity and respect are values we all share, yet too many disabled travellers have experienced the opposite. Airports are complicated places to navigate. Accurate and succinct information is key for passengers who require assistance. This new guidance is another way to help make journeys as smooth as possible - from the outset when booking flights or holidays all the way through to returning home."

Mark Hicks, Head of Customer Relations at Heathrow said:

"Over 90,000 passengers with reduced mobility travel through Heathrow per month and we strive to meet each person's needs. More than a million pounds has been invested in specific facilities to make their journeys as smooth as possible, such as a new bespoke changing facility in Terminal 5.

"As the guide says, passengers who require help should get in touch with their airline well ahead of travelling so that we can help make the right arrangements at Heathrow."

The Commission has produced the guide as part of its work to improve the experiences of disabled people using air travel, and can be found on their website.

Stopover Singapore > Kathmandu


SFO > Singapore (with a surprise stop)

Well, it wasn't a surprise to the crew or to those who planned to get off at Incheon Airport in Seoul, Sputh Korea. And I guess there was something of a clues in the fact that the flight announcements at SFO we being made in English and Korean. Anyway, nothing on my ticket said, "Thirteen hours to South Korean, hang our, get patted down by security, then 6 more hours to Singapore.

Fortunately, I was in the very last seat of the very last row (56 K). The downside being that the seat back was upright aginst the wall so could not recline. Th upside was that apparrently nnoboddy ele wanted to sit there either  so I quickly got horizontal annd slept off as many hours as possible!

Impressions s I looked around the cabin. There were three of us who were identifiably non-Asian. All three were grey-haired males bout double the median age of 30-something among the rest of thhe passengers. On the descent into Singapore I overheard some cute snippets of conversation from the young family, "Dada, I can't hear my ears anymore!" and a little later as the angle of descent increased, "Mommie, we're sinking!"

Service on Singapore airlines was very attentive. Clearly the cabin crew that I interacted with were well-trained in working with passengers in wheelchairs. The aisle chair for deboarding here in Singapore was substandard. New but too small,lacking legs straps and adequate brakes. I made the transfer with no injuries but not everyone will.

Safely on the ground the first person I saw waiting at the gate was wearing the yellow and green of team Brazil. Nod and a wink. Now I have 7 hours to pass in a Special Services lounge that has a fun-looking indoor playground for kids with plenty of comfy chairs and internet access for the adults. That opens onto a food court. Beyond that is Miracle Mile of the typical chic and duty free shops.

But already met  the wonderful young group of Indonesians returning home from a US Department of State exchange program in the picture above.

Nepal tonight for the evening lights at the Buddha stupa.

Playing in the background as Musak with fst ukelele (cavaquinho): "E pao, e pedra, e o fim do caminho... Aguas de Marco."

Teacher Jeeja Ghosh is one of many disabled passengers in the region who experience discrimination in the air. Unfortunately for the air carrier that discriminated against her she is also a well-known and well-like personality internationally. 

 If nothing else, good service against those who seem inconsequential prevents damage like this to the airline, airport and destination.

The United Nation estimates the 1 billion people with disabilities populate the world.

The tourism industry estimates that about 1/10 of those traveling at any one moment are people with disabilities and the rapid aging of the world population will raise that percentage significantly.

Studies show that travelers with disability travel on average with 1.8 people and stay an average of 1.5 days longer than a non-disabled traveler. In addition they make travel decisions more on word-of-mouth than any other group. In other words, losing one trip by a traveler with a disability means losing 2 that were invisible and one hotel night sale as well as the word-of-mouth endorsement of a highly loyal market segment.

Here follows two videos on an incident of airline discrimination against Disability Consultant Rajeev Rajan, demeaningly labeled a "patient" even though he was traveling as a professional to Delhi to testify on disability rights.

Only one day after the incident those he was going to work for in Delhi threatened a lawsuit.

Here is an exciting new trend Guide Dogs NSW/ACT that we hope is taken up by organizations worldwide:

About the Awards

The Guide Dogs' Experience Unseen Travel Awards were established to promote independent travel for people with a vision impairment and to recognise that even though a person might not be able to see, that travelling still provides the same amazing experiences as someone with 20/20 vision.

betty & caitlin








In its inaugural year, this year we presented five lucky applicants with a $1,000 voucher to use as part of their travel experience.

To apply for the Awards, applicants were asked to write about their dream travel adventure. All applications were then judged by a five person, independent panel. The winners of the Awards for 2013 were:

You can read each winning entry via the links above. You can also follow each winner on their travel adventure through their respective blogs.


An important air travel accessibility development quoted from Reduced Mobility Rights. Written by Roberto Castiglioni:

US DOTAirlines will be hold to account when international airports do not meet disability standards of service required under US Equality law, the US DOT said.


European and U.S. air travel equality laws differ significantly. In recent times,  questions have been raised about the scope of applicability and the conflict between regulations.


In this exclusive interview with Reduced Mobility Rights, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division gives the American interpretation of the scope of applicability of the law.

For detailed analysis see:

Airline passengers refuse to fly after a blind man and his guide dog are removed from the plane (via Raw Story )

Airline passengers rallied around a blind man Wednesday night after he and his guide dog were removed from the plane. Albert Rizzi and his seeing eye dog tried to board a US Airways express flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Long Island...

New DOT Rules Make Flying Easier for Passengers with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its ongoing effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for all travelers, is requiring airline websites and automated airport kiosks to be accessible to passengers with disabilities.  In addition, DOT will allow airlines to choose between stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them to a row of seats, an option that will ensure that two manual, folding wheelchairs can be transported at a time.

The new rules are part of DOT's continuing implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.

"All air travelers should be treated fairly when they fly, regardless of any disabilities they may have," said Secretary Foxx.  "These new rules build on our past work in ensuring that our air transportation system is accessible for everyone, while balancing both airlines' and passengers' need for flexibility."

Under the new websites-and-kiosks rule, covered airlines are required within two years to make pages of their websites that contain core travel information and services accessible to persons with disabilities, and to make all of their web pages accessible within three years.  Websites are required to meet the standards for accessibility contained in the widely accepted Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  The requirement applies to U.S. and foreign airlines with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States.   

The rule also requires ticket agents to disclose and offer web-based discount fares to customers unable to use their sites due to a disability starting within 180 days after the rule's effective date.   Airlines are already required to provide equivalent service for consumers who are unable to use inaccessible websites.  Under the new rule, airlines must also offer equivalent service to passengers with disabilities who are unable to use their websites even if the websites meet the WCAG accessibility standards.

In addition, any automated kiosks installed at U.S. airports for services -- such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags --must be  accessible to passengers with disabilities until at least 25 percent of all kiosks at each airport location are  accessible.  Even if no new kiosks are installed, 25 percent of kiosks at each airport location must be accessible within 10 years.  The standards for accessible kiosks are based on those set by the U.S. Department of Justice for ATM and fare machines in its 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act rule as well as the Section 508 standards for self-contained closed products, such as copiers.

DOT's wheelchair rule provides airlines with more flexibility because it permits airlines to transport passenger wheelchairs by strapping them across a row of seats using a strap kit that complies with applicable safety standards, in addition to stowing them in a closet or similar compartment.  In 2008, DOT issued a rule prohibiting airlines from using the seat-strapping method on new aircraft as an alternative to stowing the manual wheelchair in a closet or similar compartment.  In that same rule, DOT allowed the use of a seat-strapping method on existing aircraft.  Based on a fuller evaluation of the costs and benefits, DOT has now revised its position to also allow the use of seat-strapping on new aircraft subject to certain conditions.   For example, if an airline chooses to use the seat-strapping method to stow a wheelchair, it must transport two wheelchairs in the cabin if requested unless stowing the second wheelchair would displace other passengers.  

If an airline chooses to use a closet to stow a wheelchair, then it will still be required to stow only one wheelchair in the cabin.  However, in this case it must install a sign or placard prominently on the closet indicating that a wheelchair and other assistive devices are to be stowed in this area with priority over other items brought onto the aircraft by other passengers or crew, including crew luggage. 

The rule on accessible websites and kiosks is available on the Internet, docket DOT-OST-2011-0177.  In addition to accepting public comments on the web and kiosk rule through this website, the Department partnered with Cornell University's eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI), Regulation Room, designed to improve the public's ability to understand and participate in the rulemaking process. A goal of the CeRI team is to make Regulation Room as accessible to as many users as possible.  This partnership supports President Obama's open-government initiative.  The final rule on wheelchairs is available at the same website at docket DOT-OST-2011-0098.

DOT 92-13

Related Links: 

Carers should travel free, say MPs

From This is Guernsey:

Launching the Access To Transport For Disabled People report, committee chair Louise Ellman said: "Changes made ahead of the 2012 Paralympic Games delivered access for disabled people to significantly more parts of the public transport network for the first time and highlighted the immense value of such improvements for all. Yet a year later, there is a risk that some of the momentum from London 2012 is being lost because further key accessibility improvements planned by the Department for Transport are been watered-down or abandoned..."

Carers should be able to fly for free if an airline requires them to travel with the disabled people they look after, a group of MPs have said.

The Transport Select Committee called on the Government to try to amend European Union regulations so carers fly free of charge if an airline requires them to be present because the person they look after cannot perform an emergency procedure alone.

Full article:

On the Tarmac with Delta Airlines



A former professor of philosophy at the California State University, Long Beach, and current head of the Lovevolution Foundation and a Maui, Hawaii, resident was forced to crawl in his nicest suit hand over hand through the main cabin floor of the Delta aircraft, down a narrow flight of stairs and across the tarmac to his wheelchair. There were a great number of people watching, but not helping. Flight attendants gave no assistance.

Delta Airlines was served with a legal complaint number CV13-00365KSC filed on July 23, 2013 in the US District court in Hawaii by D. Baraka Kanaan. Mr. Kanaan, who suffers from paraparesis, a partial paralysis of his legs, which renders him unable to walk, was subject to this appallingly outrageous treatment by Delta Airlines agents.

It was alleged Mr. Kanaan suffered intense physical and extreme emotional suffering as a result of the defendant's action and omissions.

Mr. Kanaan was involved in an accident in 2000 and his condition has deteriorated.

Mr. Kanaan had called Delta Airlines several weeks in advance of his flight and spoke to a customer service representative to confirm that he is disabled, that he would be traveling with his own wheelchair, and that he required the use of an aisle seat and lift to access the aircraft, because he cannot walk.

The Delta representative assured him that all was noted in the company's computer and his PNR, and that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability.

The Delta flight that he was scheduled on (DL4245) was cancelled on July 26, 2012 for weather-related conditions. Mr. Kanaan was then rescheduled on a flight on a connecting flight on July 27 from Maui to Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, on DL 4110.

Upon his arrival at Nantucket Airport, Mr. Kanaan was informed by one of the flight attendants that the airline did not have the required safety equipment to bring him from his seat to the airplane door, nor did they have a lift to go down the stairs from the aircraft to the tarmac to retrieve his wheelchair.

The Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and applicable federal regulations require airlines to have such equipment available in order to accommodate disabled passengers such as Mr. Kaanan.

Delta did not.

When Mr. Kanaan asked what his options were, the flight attended said, they could not get him off the plane.

Despite a clearly visible lift at an adjacent gate, Mr. Kanaan was forced to crawl down the aisle of the airplane, down the stairs of the aircraft and across the tarmac to his wheelchair without any assistance from the crew or the use of any mandated safety equipment.

During this entire incident, no efforts were made by Delta Airlines to secure the lift of an aisle chair from Jet Blue or any other airline operating in the airport. Purportedly fearful of liability, the flight crew refused to assist Mr. Kanaan, instead serving as spectators themselves.

Once Mr. Kanaan was in his wheelchair and made it to the airport terminal without assistance, he filed a complaint and spoke with Dough Dole of Delta's Salt Lake City disability desk. He was given a reference number and was offered a US$100 voucher.

During this call Mr. Kanaan specifically and adamantly informed Mr. Dole that he would be flying out from Nantucket to return to Maui in 2 days and that he would need the proper equipment for his return trip. Mr. Dole assured Mr. Kanaan that the proper equipment was available at Nantucket airport and would be made available to Mr. Kanaan for his return trip.

Two days later Mr. Kanaan's return flight, DL4245, was again delayed. When boarding finally began, Mr. Kanaan was again informed that the necessary equipment, an aisle chair and a lift, were unavailable, but that they could provide a piece of cardboard to put down so that his clothes wouldn't get dirty.

Again, Mr. Kanaan was forced to crawl across the tarmac, up the stairs of the Delta aircraft, down the aisle, and hoist himself into his seat on the aircraft, which was physically painful. Again many passengers watched this transpire, causing grave embarrassment and a feeling of dehumanization.

It appears such complaints are nothing new to Delta. Just a year before, Delta received no less than 5,000 complaints against it and was ordered to pay record-breaking fines for this egregious mistreatment of disabled passengers.
Some of the complaints included:

- Delta left a blind woman alone in a wheelchair on a moving walkway.

- Delta failed to bring an 81-year-old man to a hotel after canceling his flight. The man had to sleep in a wheelchair.

- An elderly couple in wheelchairs missed an international flight because Delta failed to board them.

- A woman who needs a ventilator to breathe was removed from a Delta flight, which was a return flight, because the Delta flight crew inexplicably determined that her ventilator and medical equipment could not be brought to the plane.

This time Delta offered Mr. Kanaan 25,000 Skymiles as a compensation. Mr. Kanaan found this offer insulting and refused to accept it.

Mr. Kanaan was then connected with Delta's corporate headquarters. There, Mr. Kanaan was told he was speaking to the highest person available, a women named Rachel, who provided Mr. Kanaan with a corporate case number. To literally add insult to injury, Rachel offered an even smaller amount of Skymiles. When Mr. Kanaan declined, Rachel terminated the phone call, hanging up on him, saying there was nothing more Delta could or would do.

ETN today called the same number (404-773-0305) and finally was connected to a recording saying due to many complaints, Delta was unable to answer the call and to try again later.

Travel Tips from Tyrone Cook

  • Tips:

  • When booking your trip, always tell the airline, cruise company or train company that you are a wheelchair user (or have any other mobility needs).
  • Let them know if you require assistance and if you do, what kind. If you are blind or deaf, make sure they are aware of this then they know you may not see or hear important information.
  • If going overseas, insure your wheelchair or other mobility aid. Although companies like Air New Zealand do their best to be careful with your equipment, things do happen during travel.
  • If going on a cruise, their accessible cabins are first in, first served unless you are willing to pay more and get a mini suite or a more expensive one.
  • When booking restaurants, always prebook early and alert them if you are a wheelchair user, this allows them to seat you appropriately. I recommend you arrive at the shows early too as there are only a number of wheelchair accessible spaces and they usually on one floor. I recommend you attend at least one show, they are well done and will have you in stitches.
  • Be prepared that on cruise boats, the ships going to the shore for day visits are not wheelchair accessible unless you can walk a little and the chair can be folded up. 

The 5th Universal Access In Airports (UAIA)conference will take place at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare on Oct. 6-8, 2014. This biennial event, hosted by Open Doors Organization, brings together airports, airlines, service companies, suppliers and the disability community for a unique exchange of ideas on how to best meet the needs of older air travelers and those with disabilities.

Press Release:

 -- /PRNewswire/ -- eSSENTIAL Accessibility launched a new magazine, MarketAbility: Your Guide to the Disability Marketplace, which caters to the people with disabilities community.

MarketAbility features news and stories targeted to people with disabilities in North America. The eight-page inaugural issue focuses on inclusive travel and hospitality, with short and engaging articles about people with disabilities who are breaking down barriers to leisure and adventure travel, as well as expert analysis on the future of the inclusive travel market.

MarketAbility can be viewed on the eSSENTIAL Accessibility website at Highlights include:

En Route with Scott Rains interviews Scott Rains, a seasoned traveler who is paralyzed, who travels around the world consulting with businesses and governments around the economic value of inclusive tourism and how to make cities, hotels, sporting events like the World Cup--and even safaris--more accessible for people with disabilities.

Leading the Way: A Disability Travel Report reveals the annual spend of travelers with disabilities, discusses their unique needs, and highlights the airlines, hotels and theme parks that are pioneers in making tourism and travel more inclusive for people with disabilities.

Return on Disability Index spotlights a Bloomberg-listed stock index that measures companies on specific disability benchmarks. U.S. travel companies in the index include Boeing, Carnival Cruise Lines, Marriott International, Royal Caribbean International, Southwest Airlines, Walt Disney Co., and Wyndham Hotel Group.

NIKE races ahead with innovative disability ads talks about how the sports giant is one the few major brands to feature people with disabilities in its advertising, including double amputee Oscar Pistorious, who raced in the 2012 Olympics in London.

In the U.S. there are 57 million Americans with disabilities, and there are 15 million people with disabilities in Canada, comprising a broad group across ages, ethnicities and interests. "The audience is out there--MarketAbility delivers real-life stories to inspire and empower the millions of consumers with disabilities," says Simon Dermer, Managing Director of eSSENTIAL Accessibility. "Through MarketAbility we give recognition to brands that are reaching and serving the disability and aging markets in innovative ways, and we're helping organizations discover new opportunities for creating loyalty in the people with disabilities marketplace."

The inaugural edition of MarketAbility appears in Ability Magazine, an award-winning bi-monthly publication featuring celebrity interviews with an emphasis on health, disability and human potential. The February/March issue profiles actor William H. Macy. Future issues of MarketAbility, which will be published four to six times a year, will debut in a variety of consumer magazines where people with disabilities, and their families and friends, are likely to comprise a large audience.

About eSSENTIAL Accessibility  eSSENTIAL Accessibility helps leading brands build loyalty with the disabled consumer and employee segments. Organizations that feature the eSSENTIAL Accessibility icon signal their participation in a coalition of companies that are dedicated to serving the people with disabilities market to create economic and social value. For more information, please visit

SOURCE eSSENTIAL Accessibility

Read more here:



Glide-Path is a free-to-the-passenger web-based system that enables the passenger to enter more information about their specific needs, which can be accessed by airlines, airports and assistance providers to improve the quality of the service they deliver.


Passengers requesting assistance often experience frustration due to the actual process for making requests,

  • separate requests for each journey/airline
  • different information required on different forms
  • details not passed to the airport staff
  • sometimes it's a telephone call, sometimes a fax, sometimes online forms


And finally, just when think you've told the airline everything possible, you get to the airport and they have no idea of exactly what assistance you need.


With Glide-Path it's 3 simple steps:

  1. You tell us just once about you and your assistance needs
  2. Tell us about your journeys (this will automatic from your booking in later versions)
  3. You sit back while we ensure your details and needs are communicated to both the airline and the assistance team at the airport.

Occasionally, if medical clearance is needed, we will ask for you to supply additional information from you doctor.


Glide-Path offers facilities to register details of Assistance Dogs, people who will escort you on your journeys and the give you space to register needs not normally covered by Airline forms.


We can't guarantee that the airline and airport can meet all your needs, but we can guarantee that they have had the opportunity to know about them.


"We didn't know you were coming" won't cut it anymore.


At Glide-Path we have many years of experience in aviation and have been looking at the problems facing elderly and disabled air travellers, particularly addressing the problems miscommunication causes. For airlines, airport and service providers this improved communication and access to detailed information, will facilitate a more effective and efficient service.


This service will go live in early 2013. In advance of this launch our test site can be accessed to create test accounts, view our easy to use input screens and enter data. We would appreciate any


Fiona Quinn

Glide-Path Limited

Tel 0844 706 723

Mob 07917 868 502


Below is the text of the opening keynote of Presentation to ICAT 2007 held at the UN in Bangkok, Thailand. My appreciation to the various ministries of the Thai government, UNESCAP, and several disabled peoples' organizations (DPOs) including Disabled Peoples International - Asia Pacific (DPI-AP) and the Asia Pacific Disability Forum (APDF).

Thumbnail image for Scott Rains - RollingRains.jpg


Before I begin I would like to dedicate my comments today to my friend Topong Kulkanchit. I met Topong in 2005. We decided to work together to see that a conference was held in 2007. Mostly through his hard work early preparations were made so that Saowalak Thongkuay and Sawang Srisom their team could make this event a success. Thank you. I look forward to our next gathering in Singapore in 2009. I challenge everyone here to continue the work that Topong poured his life into. 

Models of Disability 

We are here to do some thinking on a global scale. That's a big task. Big thinkers like to give names to the boundaries they put around ideas - handles to make them easier to grasp. When we talk about disability we usually talk about these "idea packages" as models of disability. 

The Charity Model, the Medical Model, and the Social Model are the names we usually use. The first two present people with disabilities as recipients rather than as sources of action.

The Charity Model places people with disabilities as recipients of the moral responsibility of others to care for them. The Medical Model further limits responsibility to those with professional medical knowledge. Both models define the limits of the world that a person with a disability "really" belongs to: The world of family or its extensions of church or service organizations in the Charity Model and the world of the doctor or their delegate in the Medical Model on the assumption that the disabled person's highest and constant concern in life is to be "cured." Both models prevent people with disabilities from political expression and economic participation as adults because both models assume worlds that are too small for real people. 

 After an introduction like that it is obvious that I am going to endorse the Social Model. It claims that the world where people with disabilities "really" belong is the real world, the whole world - like everybody else! That's a big world. 

 Universal Design is what lets us live at home in this world. Wheelchair user and architect Ron Mace, with his colleagues, set the foundation for everything we do at this conference by creating Universal Design more than 30 years ago. These thinkers in the Disability Rights Movement understood that our desire to be full participants in society required us to develop a simple elegant solution to achieve accessibility. The seven principles defining Universal Design start from the reality that not every individual has the same stature, strength, or range of abilities. Diversity between individuals is the "normal" in any collection of human beings - change in ability is the defining characteristic of each individual over time. Accessibility in tourism improves quality for the growing senior population too. Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind. 

Trend 1: Creation of a Market 

 I said we're here to think but to be more complete I should add that we're here also to dream. Imagination becomes alive in every person's life when the limits of their world go from family to some larger institution and finally on to the limitlessness of free participation in the whole world. Dreaming is the first step in thinking on that global scale - and everyone who works in the global travel industry knows what we do. We sell dreams and we make them real. 

As the disability community around the world acts on this dream of global participation the travel industry is here providing for them as what they have become - a market. I have been invited here to talk about global trends in accessible travel. I have just told you the first trend. A group of people with disabilities have gathered. They are the actors. They are the political and economic force. They, we, came here to say that we have a dream. That dream is the freedom to travel. They have become a market and they have their own voice. As we gather for two days in Asia another group of people from all over Europe are going home. They have just finished two days of meeting on accessible travel at the European Network for Accessible Tourism - ENAT run by Ivor Ambrose. This trend - this dream - is global among people with disabilities. Now let's think together. 

 Trend Two: The Rights-Based and Profit-Based Approach to Disability 

The second trend we see is that a "profit-based approach to disability" is inseparable from our conference theme of "a rights-based approach to disability." Aiko Akiyama of UNESCAP will speak to us later about the Biwako Millennium Goals where rights and development converge in tourism. Is there a profit-based approach to disability for the travel industry? Research done by Eric Lipp and Laurel van Horn of the Open Doors Organization have taught us that American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility currently spend an average of $13.6 billion U.S. a year on tourism. In 2002, these individuals made 32 million trips and spent $4.2 billion on hotels, $3.3 billion on airline tickets, and $2.7 billion on food and beverages while traveling. In the UK 10 million adults with disabilities have an annual purchasing power of 80 billion pounds sterling. In 2001 economically active Canadians with disabilities had $25 billion Canadian dollars available. Americans with disabilities or reduced mobility have $175 billion in purchasing/consumer power. Cruise lines know from research that people with disabilities favor cruise vacations at 12% compared to 8% of the general population. 

Studies also show that people with disabilities are loyal customers: 59% report that they plan to take another cruise. Creating accessible cruise ships, accessible ship terminals, accessible ground transportation, and accessible tourist destinations in port cities is not charity. It is good business! In a few minutes I will tell you how stakeholders in North & South America are working together to build that business. 

  Trend Three: Standardization in the Years Ahead 

 Two years ago a group of us got together in Taipei and began to plan for today. Then it was easy to report on trends in accessible tourism. The pattern was clear. The trend in 2005 was experimentation and local standardization in controlled regional environments. New "islands of innovation" were evident around the world. In fact, in most cases they were either actual islands like Crete, Hawai'i, Tenerife, Japan, St. John's Virgin Islands, and Tasmania or they were geographically isolated regions like Western Australia. The trend in 2007 is less about new invention and more about standardization across larger areas and on an international level. It is a new stage of maturity but it will be over in about two years when we meet next in Singapore - this time with our European friends. For these next two years the main trend around the world will continue to be establishing common practices and agreeing on standards. Sometimes it will feel like a tug-of-war; pulling in two opposite directions: one direction pulls toward a rights-based approach to standards and the other a profit-based approach. The first starts with persons with disabilities as citizens; the second as customers. 

The first approach speaks in the language of governments; the second the language of business. Effective standards result when people with disabilities are active in defining both approaches. In fact, that is what this organization is about. It is a voice of people with disabilities in conversation with government and business to serve the interests of all three groups regarding travel and hospitality. 

 Let me anticipate 2009 with a grandiose statement about the historic importance of today: The tourism industry has become a vehicle for social good. Industry practices increasingly honor green design and ecologically responsible practices. With Universal Design tourism has also become a vehicle for what the Disability Rights Movement has fought so hard to articulate and to achieve for more than 30 years. 

So here today we set the Disability Rights Movement on a new path accompanied by partners from business and government. That path of promoting accessible travel will pass through every country in Asia. The trend when we meet again in Singapore in 2009, this time with our colleagues in ENAT from Europe, will be the emergence of Centers of Excellence that strategically disseminate sustainable innovations, grounded in standards, and fluent in customer service respecting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. After ICAT 2007 I will spend time consulting with government and industry leaders in Pattaya to see if we can make Thailand one of the first of those Centers. I will assist UNESCAP create a set of guidelines From my work around the world I have three cases that illustrate the current trend toward creating standards of good practice: one example in South America, one in North America, and one in Africa. South America brings four countries together with the cruise industry around accessibility. North American national park officials draw in a business partner and showcase accessible cultural tourism. Africa is shaping a continental accessible tourism market through the research and advocacy of an entrepreneur with a disability who promotes safaris. 

  Three Cases Example 1: South America 

The Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development has formed a network to develop accessibility along the cruise corridor from northern Brazil to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina. In 2007 disability advocates and organizations, government, academics, cruise lines, and the land-based tourism industry joined together as stakeholders to begin to adopt standards, infrastructures, and practices that guarantee a consistent quality of travel experience between Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina for seniors and others with disabilities. The major activity at this stage is in Brazil which will host an international conference on Accessible Tourism in May 2008. Individuals in the South American network have begun to appear in the media, speak at tourism conferences, and write articles on the value of this market of travelers with disabilities. Data is being collected on the number of people with disabilities and their purchasing power. 

One of the most rewarding things I do now is work with university students and young professionals in South America guiding their research, their career choices, and their businesses. At the same time accomplished architects like Veronica Camisão are drawing up plans for improved ship terminals. Wheelchair-using Brazilian architect Silvana Cambiaghi has published Brazil's first full-length book on Universal Design. Museum specialists like Viviane Panelli Sarraf simultaneously provide attractions of interest to international and domestic tourists with disabilities by making museums and other cultural sites accessible. Dada Morreira, Ricardo Shimosakai, and others with disabilities sell accessible land-based excursions that include whitewater rafting, jungle off-road treks, multi-sensory walks, parasailing, and exhilarating treetop tours. In addition to this explosion of new businesses by people with disabilities, this group has written new regulation on maritime access to standardize accessibility in cruise ship terminals and on passenger ships serving Brazil. 

Industry and government, led by professionals, advocates, and business owners with disabilities have identified an underserved market and are building a strategy together to serve it. Research shows that the more cruises a person takes the more likely he or she is to disembark in port and buy a land-based excursion. 

We know that more people with disabilities are cruising. We also know that they tend to take repeat cruises more often than the general public. They will grow disproportionately as a market inclined to take land excursions. Argentina has planned ahead for this trend. It is holding its first rural workshop on serving people with disabilities for the rural tourism industry that will see some of these cruise passengers on land excursions. Keep in mind that disability accompanies aging. The Open Doors Organization recorded that about 50% more of the existing group of Americans traveled between their 2002 and 2005 studies - even though it the travel industry had not done anything to make it significantly easier to do so. That group of people with disabilities and the leisure to travel is about to expand as the huge post-WWII generation ages. This market is big and travelers will reward those who build welcoming environments to accommodate them. 

ake the example of the United States. 

  Example 2: North America 

 In the United States this global trend toward standardization on best practices by government, industry, and people with disabilities takes place on Alcatraz Island. Many people know this steep rocky island near from San Francisco from movies about its time as a maximum security prison. As the saying goes, "Break the rules and you go to prison. Break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz." Today the island is a National Park run by some of the most passionate supporters of disability rights in the US Park Service. Early in November I had the opportunity to inspect the island with the National Accessibility Center from Indiana University. The park is a model for the entire world and continuously hosts international park and government officials. The practices used at Alcatraz are further disseminated because one out of four visitors comes from outside the US and brings their experience home. The message of accessible tourism is not only coming from conference like our or ENAT in Europe or the one this May in Brazil. Every day people from Asia are seeing accessibility in action at Alcatraz. Physical access for the mobility impaired was one of the first barriers to be addressed on the island. More than a decade ago National Park Rangers, including James Adams and Rich Weiderman, invented a tram system for the island that anticipated current trends calling for green and sustainable development in tourism. Using an electric motor designed for the tractors that pull jet airliners at airports they applied Universal Design principles to manufacture this uniquely powerful but non-polluting tram. It was estimated that it would serve 15,000 park visitors in its first year. Everyone was surprised to find that 30,000 used it. Today it averages 70,000 to 80,000 users annually. Keep in mind that about 25% of these users are people who bring the expectation of such accessible and eco-sensitive service back to their home park systems. The island can only be reached by boat and only one company, Alcatraz Cruises, serves the island. Early in their contract the cruise line saw that they needed to invent a new type of dock and ramp system. Doing so made them the only cruise facility on the West Coast of the USA able to accommodate passengers 365 days a year in all extremes of weather and tides. I, for example, had no difficulty getting off the island the day 580,000 gallons of tanker fuel spilled in the Bay near the island and the park was systematically being shut down for the emergency. 

 Standardizing on the dock design and evacuation practices perfected at Alcatraz National Park disseminates good physical design and safety policy. It also affirms a profitable collaboration between business and government where innovation to achieve accessibility resulted in better service for those with no disability. Program accessibility, or accessibility to all the services and benefits offered by the park beyond simple physical access, is another area where Alcatraz first set the standard and then became the living university teaching by example. Alcatraz was the first park to adopt audio walking tours narrated in the first person voices of rangers, former prisoners, and guards. 

The approach was so successful that the tiny recording company that produced the first tours became the largest in the world in that field and was just recently purchased by a television channel. Once again, accessibility proved to be profitable and trend-setting. 

  Example 3: Africa 

 The final example, Africa, represents something different. One of Africa's most popular forms of tourism is the safari. It operates in isolated areas. That isolation means the safari industry has less structure for formalizing best practices. In this case, the significant current trend is the result of the vision of a European entrepreneur who, with a vision and his sturdy wheelchair, has just completed visits to over 130 hotels and tourism destinations throughout the continent. Gordon Rattray runs Able Travel. On his research tours he is able to spread standards through his individual consultations. Here neither government nor industry are in the lead. Leadership comes from within the disability community itself. The end result of Gordon's accessibility audits throughout Africa will be a published tour guide, "African Safaris for People with Limited Mobility". In that way his work promotes adoption of standard practices much as US author Candy Harrington does through her magazine Emerging Horizons and her various books, "101 Accessible Vacations," "There is Room at the Inn," and "Barrier-Free Travels." Bruce Cameron has taken a similar approach to standards promotion through his book "Easy Access Australia" and frequently contributes to academic and policy work with Australian academics like Dr. Simon Darcy and Dr. Tanya Packer. Mary Chen in Malaysia will launch the disability lifestyle magazine, Challenges, in Malaysia in January where I will write on travel. I have been asked to edit a special issue on travel and disability for the academic journal, Review of Disability Studies published by the University of Hawaii. Dr. Sunil Bhatia has also invited academics to contribute articles specifically about Thailand to the journal of the Design for All Institute of India. I invite any of you here today who would like to submit an article or discuss an idea for an article to talk to me during the conference. Gordon Rattray's work in Africa is a "profit-based approach to disability" where he establishes himself, a person with a disability, as the expert on an entire continent. As an individual consultant he brokers and disseminates standards in a region where only a sparse business and social network serves the accessible tourism market. In contrast, the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development takes a "rights-based approach to disability." South America is a heavily networked environment that produced the important accessible tourism document in 2004 known as the Rio Charter: Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development. It is further linked by a flourishing route of cruise ship destinations sharing similar needs. The orientation to disability rights of the Institute emphasizes the experience of the organization's founder, Rosangela Berman-Bieler, who worked with Judy Heumann to establish the Disability & Development program of the World Bank. Both women are wheelchair users and professionals in international development. In the United States with Alcatraz National Park we see yet another model. Here the key professionals working in the National Park System and the contracted cruise line do not have disabilities themselves. 

There has been a systemic adoption of disability rights values by this government agency and this business -- although only through the sustained pressure of these professionals from within and sometimes with the addition of pressure such as lawsuits from without. Here professionals lacking disabilities guide the institutions through their own sense of justice, legal obligation, and business opportunity. As a prominent international tourism destination what they have created becomes a school of Accessible Tourism for any visitor who cares to learn from it. Tourism ministries, and the industry they support, have begun to apply results from studies about our travel behavior and purchasing power. Facility construction and business practices based on Universal Design that were once considered innovations and were known only locally are now better known and adopted worldwide. 

There is increasing consensus on what are proper - and profitable - ways to attract us as a market. The fact that this conference takes place today through the generous sponsorship of the Thai government with support from the tourism industry is one world-class demonstration that thoughtful leadership has recognized the value of the full participation of all its citizens and how concrete action to include citizens with disabilities creates the environment of hospitality that attracts tourists from around the world.


 Let me end by speaking in sequence to the three groups that will make accessible tourism possible: governments, businesses, and the disability community. 


 Governments, when we promote a rights-based approach to disability we commit ourselves to a tradition that affirms the dignity and worth of every individual human being. We raise the individual beyond the context of the body and its functions or limits; beyond, family, race, or nationality. We state that we support the rule of law and hold our governments accountable for protecting the freedoms that we believe are due to all human beings. By promoting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities we are actually holding more than our own national government to this standard. 

We are claiming that all governments of all nations must unequivocally promote and protect the right to full social inclusion of all people with disabilities throughout their lifespan. A rights-based approach to tourism claims that there must be equal opportunity of access for people with disabilities allowing them to enjoy the benefits of travel and hospitality whether for business or for leisure. That access must be physical as with the design and construction of buildings or transportation systems. That access must also be to the non-physical benefits available to travelers without disabilities. 

This could be as simple as receiving the same respect offered to other customers during a transaction. It could be as complex as comprehensively planning safety and evacuation procedures appropriate to people with various sensory, intellectual, and mobility capacities.


 Businesses, when we promote a profit-based approach to disability we acknowledge that a business must pay attention to its profitability - once it has met the minimum standards set by law and by best practices. We expect to see variation between the products offered by different businesses. We expect to see accessible tourism products both inexpensive and extravagant because our community includes members who can afford both. In fact, we count on businesses to take the lead in innovation. 

We trust them to do their work so well that, like moths to flame, we will want to experience the products that they have developed to entice us. So let me offer to the industry this cheeky invitation from Jesús Hernández, accessibility director of Spain's ONCE Foundation, first in its original Spanish: "No te preocupes de mis derechos, preocúpate de mi cartera"! [Spanish] "Don't overly concern yourself about my rights, pay attention to my wallet!" 

Businesses do what you do well! We want to spend our money! Studies show that people with disabilities have that legendary trio of characteristics that all travel agents look for: the desire to travel, the means, to travel, and the freedom to travel. In fact, the study I quoted earlier from the Open Doors Organization predicted that those billions of dollars spent on travel by Americans with disabilities could easily double with the creation of appropriate travel products. Now that's a bold prediction! 

People with Disabilities 

 People with Disabilities, when we travel we represent more than ourselves because we are part of a community. As a person with a disability you carry two items of unusual value -- especially in combination. Both tend to surprise those you meet as you travel. The two items are money and pride. 

By money I mean more than the change in your pocket. By pride I mean that confident self-determination of knowing who you are beyond any economic measures of worth. 

 The very fact that you have a disability and travel suggests something about your economic condition. It indicates that you have credit, savings, education, maybe a profession that requires travel. It demonstrates more importantly that you have the ability to make decisions about the course of your life for yourself. That combination of means and dignity are potent tools of social transformation. 

 Travel the world today and you will find that there is a hunger for community and solidarity among people with disabilities. As an exchange student, backpacker, business or vacation traveler, your identity as a person with a disability gives you access to faces of the tourism industry that others may not have. Some are positive. Some need improvement. 

 The next two years will be a surprise to those in the industry who have not yet prepared their profit-based approach to disability. Some will be asking you to help. You have an opportunity to contribute and to shape the travel industry. That may be with the rights-based emphasis through government, education, or policy. It may on the profit-based side through invention, construction, marketing, or business creation. Whatever opportunity you choose, take your pride - and your money - on the road. Travel. Teach the industry and level the path for the ones who come after you! 


 Scott Rains, D. Min. writes daily on travel and issues of interest to people with disabilities occurring in the tourism industry at His research on the topic of Universal Design and the travel and hospitality industry has included appointment as Resident Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies of the University of California Santa Cruz (2004-05). He consultants globally on accessible travel & hospitality. He can be reached at

Airlines are facing a possible multi-million dollar lawsuit after a clinically obese woman died while on holiday in Hungary after she was refused a seat on three flights back to New York where she needed medical treatment.

Vilma Soltez, who weighed over 30 stone and had only one leg and used a wheelchair, died from health complications nine days after she was kicked off the first of the three flights.

She was unable to board due to issues with seat extensions and wheelchairs and other equipment that would not hold her weight.

She had travelled to her summer home in Hungary with Delta and KLM Airlines but had reportedly put on weight during her trip.

According to a report in the New York Post, the couple's travel agent had told Delta/KLM before the trip that she needed to return home on October 15 to continue with medical treatment for kidney problems and diabetes.

But her husband Janos claimed the couple were told they could not fly on their original Delta/KLM flight from Hungary because the aircraft did not have the necessary seat extension.

He said they were directed to drive to Prague for a Delta/KLM flight home. At Prague, Soltez could not be transferred to the flight because equipment could not be found that would hold her weight.

Their New York travel agent then found them another flight with Lufthansa, via Frankfurt, but this was not viable for the same reasons despite three seats being available for the passenger.

According to reports, a local fire crew were bought in to help move her into the seats but they could not lift her out of her wheelchair.

Delta, KLM and Lufthansa have issued statements explaining their reasons for being unable to accommodate her.

Lufthansa said: "Lufthansa, together with its local partners, fire brigade and technical experts at Budapest Airport, tried its utmost to accommodate this passenger on board our flight from Budapest.

"After several, time consuming attempts it was decided that for the safety of this passenger and the over 140 fellow passengers, Lufthansa had to deny transportation of the passenger. Safe and reliable operations are Lufthansa's paramount priorities at all times."

Lawyers are now considering legal action against the airlines for violating laws protecting the disabled.


Air Travel


With Paralympic athletes competing in London this week, the designers at Priestmangoode took the opportunity to rethink air travel for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM). The Air Access concept contains two elements: a wheelchair that can transport passengers onto and off the plane, and a fixed-frame aisle seat on the aircraft which can be mated to the wheelchair to create a regular airline seat.

Access to and from an airplane seat can be an awkward experience for any traveller, but when David Constantine, co-founder of international development organization Motivation, gave a talk at the Priestmangoode offices, the designers decided that something needed to change and that mobility challenges for PRM should be addressed. With over 15 years experience designing aircraft interiors, Priestmangoode is especially interested in the passenger journey--we've written about their Moving Platforms concept focused on getting people to their final destinations more seamlessly and if you've recently been in-cabin on Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Kingfisher, Qatar or Malaysia Airlines you'll be familiar with their work.

Read more:

From D.N.I.S. News Network, India: 

Shivani Gupta, nominated by Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) to the Ministry of Civil Aviation Committee drafting a new set of guidelines for carriage of passengers with disabilities, has resigned citing disagreement on the process and the lackadaisical attitude being adopted towards the continuing discrimination by airlines. Incidentally, one of the much publicised incident where the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Disability was humiliated happened in an Indigo flight, which is a member of the said Committee.

Gupta said that while it is important to review the existing Civil Aviation Requirements (C.A.R.) on carriage of persons with disabilities, the Ministry should take at least some steps, even if they are small, to implement the existing C.A.R. to stop harassment at the ground level. The Ministry seems to be buying time and pacifying the sector's anger with the Committee without any definite commitment to stop such gross violations, she said in her letter.

The last straw, according to Gupta was the violation at the hands of Indigo, which happens to be a member of this Committee. "If being part of the Committee is so meaningless then why have it in the first place," she stated.

"There are countless unreported cases that happen on a daily basis. Today each time I want to travel by air, I am actually scared of what treatment I may receive even though I am a member of this 'distinguished Committee'. It is unethical for me to sit on a Committee while no change is happening on the ground," Gupta added.


Air Travel

The site Reduced Mobility Rights review air travel rights in the article, "People with Reduced Mobility Travel Rights."

People with reduced mobility (PRM) travel rights vary considerably depending which airline one chooses, and which is the final destination of the flight.
While all IATA (International Air Transport Association) member airlines should comply with IATA resolution 700, (Acceptance and Carriage of Incapacited Passengers) European and Non European Air Carriers are subject to different regulations depending on the final destination of the flight.
The duties and rights of people with reduced mobility can be found in two separate regulations: U.S. Department of Transportation 14 CFR Part 382 (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel) and EU Regulation 1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

For the full article:

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced today the launch of a new report calling for a travel-industry dialogue aimed at elevating the role of the travel agent industry, a critical sales force for the entire travel and tourism industry.

CLIA's new report, "From Travel Agent to 'Travel Advisor': Defining, Elevating and Promoting the Role of Travel Agents for the Next Generation," outlines the state of the travel agent business today, emphasizing the important role it plays for the broader travel industry, and identifies some of the key issues that the profession must address to continue to be successful in 2012 and beyond. The announcement was made during cruise3sixty, the official travel agency conference of the cruise line industry.

"Our aim in outlining this case is to begin a meaningful, industry-wide dialogue that articulates the unique role agents play in today's travel industry and considers the steps necessary to develop a strategic roadmap for developing the next generation of travel agents," said Christine Duffy, CLIA president and CEO. "The travel agent profession is critical to the entire travel industry, yet we have not taken a comprehensive look at its value or considered a coordinated industry dialogue until now."

With the rise of online travel booking engines, proliferation of customer review sites, and changing commission models, the image of the travel agency profession has changed dramatically in recent years. Despite the public perception that the agent industry is in decline, in 2011, according to PhoCusWright, it processed $95 billion in travel sales, accounting for one-third of all travel sold. This total includes 45 percent of all airline tickets, 67 percent of tours and 68 percent of cruises. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts growth in the travel agent workforce, which is poised to increase about 10 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is on par with average predicted overall U.S. job growth.

The report calls attention to the long history of and evolving value proposition of travel agents over the decades, and it poses questions to the agents and the broader travel industry as to how the agent profession can adapt to the changing environment and thrive. The report aims to stimulate ideas and coalesce industry support around the concept of a unified effort to better position travel agents for future success, and to shift the conversation about agents from one of survival to growth.

"The evolution of the travel agency industry will have a direct and powerful impact on the U.S. and global travel and tourism industry in the coming years," said Tony Gonchar, CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents and major contributors to CLIA's report. "CLIA's report is an excellent first step to help begin a dialogue with the travel industry to ensure the future growth of the travel agency community and the whole of the travel industry."

For more information and to download the full report, please visit


2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  

Monthly Archives