A significant portion of our global population experiences some sort of physical, mental or emotional disability that affects their activities of daily living, whether it’s something they were born with or something acquired through accident, illness or war. With the help of positive attitudes and medical and technological advances, however, individuals with disabilities can still enjoy traveling, for business or pleasure.
Planning is the most important aspect of a trip for someone with a disability, as it is for any traveler. Start by getting medical clearance for travel from your physician, then think through the entire trip. Consider the destination, climate, activities, dietary requirements and access to special foods, medications and equipment. Anticipate health risks that could exacerbate your condition. For example, travelers with asthma should avoid polluted areas, and diabetics with foot care problems should avoid long walking tours of a city. Explore the availability of medical treatment, emergency care and medical supplies at your destination, and consider purchasing travel health insurance in case you become ill and need to be flown back home.
Make reservations as far in advance as possible and give the airline prior notice of assistance you may need. A reservation agent or the airline’s website can provide specific policies and services regarding passengers with disabilities.
Let the airline know if you are traveling with a wheelchair or scooter. Also alert them in advance if you will be accompanied by a service dog (you may need supporting documentation) or will be using a portable oxygen concentrator (only certain models are approved for onboard use by the FAA). Let them know if you need assistance when boarding, such as an aisle chair, a narrow chair on wheels to usher passengers down aisles. If you are able to use a standard plane restroom but are unable to walk there, ask that an aisle chair be available during the flight. If you have a layover, request that your equipment be returned to you between flights so that you can be independent at the airport and reduce the risk of equipment loss. Always confirm that the airline has a record of your requests 48 hours prior to departure.
If you are traveling with a scooter or power chair, arrange for ground transportation at your destination that can accommodate your equipment. Prepare for equipment breakdown by locating resources for wheelchair repair and rental services at your destination.
Arrive early at the airport. Alert the sky captain if you need a wheelchair or need to be driven to your gate. Check in your own wheelchair or scooter at the boarding gate and request it be brought to you at your arrival gate. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for battery storage when traveling. You can request that your fold-up wheelchair or walker be stowed in the onboard coat closet, but there is usually only room for one, and it is available on a first-come basis. Not all aircraft have a coat closet.
Make sure your equipment includes your name, address and a gate delivery tag if it is being stowed below. Attach clear instructions for disconnecting batteries or preparing the item for transport and reassembly. Continental Airlines provides a downloadable wheelchair information card on its website.
People with disabilities have the right to pre-board prior to other passengers. Arrive at the gate at least 40 minutes prior to flight time. Inform the gate agent of your desire to pre-board and stay near the gate.
Before landing, remind the flight attendant that you will need a wheelchair or your equipment brought to the gate so they can radio ahead. If you have any problems or equipment is damaged, ask to speak to the complaint resolution officer.
The rights of disabled travelers are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, which prohibits discrimination by U.S. or foreign air carriers on the basis of physical or mental disability. The U.S. Department of Transportation operates a toll-free hotline to assist air travelers with disabilities, even those with time-sensitive disability-related issues that need to be addressed in real time. If you believe your treatment by an airline violates the ACAA and would like the DOT to investigate, you must submit a complaint to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division. You can also research the number of disability discrimination complaints each year for each airline.
Find information on air travel, accessible accommodations, specialized disability travel agents and more.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.
Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.