Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Be careful with the chair please

"Bad service for passengers using wheelchairs drew more attention than any other problem on the government's first tally of disability-related complaints to airlines," says this article from USA Today on a recent report to Congress on the travel challenges of the disabled. Also noted "four big carriers — American, Delta, United and Northwest — accounted for nearly 60 percent of the complaints in 2004." The article also mentions that Delta has taken steps to improve the situation. Wheelchair complaints included: inadequate assistance, damaged chairs, poor seating arrangements, inaccessible aircraft and excessive waits for stored chairs upon landing. Should airlines care about disabled passengers? The article says "about 17 million disabled passengers fly each year, according to the government's most recent estimate." Sounds like a significant market segment to me.

4 Comments:

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Ziggi said...

Actually, the situation is sometimes much worse than stated. Many of our members (United Spinal Association) have had their wheelchairs totally trashed by airlines. Worse, many have suffered injuries such as broken limbs and tissue trauma at the hands of airline staff who are supposedly trained in transferring people in and out of the craft. Obviously there is much room for improvement.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

I travel for work pretty regularly and I prep my power chair for combat before handing it over to the baggage handlers. I take the leg rests onboard with me, as well as my cushion and anything else that I can detach. I zip tie the neck of my swing-away joystick to prevent it from moving around and taking a beating. It's pretty amazing how little respect these chairs get once they're out of sight.

Great blog. Nice to see someone trying to improve things through information sharing and personal effort. Keep up the good work.

 
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