Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

To anyone that actually came here this weekend, sorry there are no real posts but I do want to say thanks for reading and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Vacation options on display

A show highlighting vacation options for people with disabilities will be held in the UK early next year. The Mersey Neurological Trust will host the Holiday Exhibition for Disabled People and their Carers on Feb. 8 in Liverpool.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More on EU rules

Apparently the EU's new laws regarding discriminating against the disabled for air travel include a clause addressing the manufacturers of aircraft. reports "... a clause was added to the bill urging carriers to 'take into account the needs of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when deciding the design of new and newly refurbished aircraft.'" Manufacturers will be urged "to consider new configurations, such as several rows of quick-change removable seats, in new and retrofit cabin designs." Think about that! Surely you've seen what has been done with flexibility in minivan and SUV seating over the last few years. Why not with aircraft as well? Have someone who needs to ride in their wheelchair? Flip a couple of seats, lock them down and you're ready to fly. A possible problem with this is that the clause aimed at manufacturers is voluntary. But Scope -- and hopefully other adviocacy groups -- are poised to push for mandatory measures if jet makers don't comply.

New rules take flight in EU

The European Parliament has passed new rules putting the burden of accommodating travelers with disabilities on the airports, instead of split between the airlines and airports. "This rule will guarantee people with reduced mobility the same access to air travel as any other passenger," said Roy Griffins, Airports Council International. If the regulations also pass the Council of Ministers and are implemented, this will mean an end to charging disabled passengers more for accessibility services, such as a wheelchair. It's not clear whether the rules resolve the practice of airlines being able to set per flight limits on the number of disabled people. The regulations would be a first for the EU and a welcome improvement over the split responsibility -- which can mean no one's responsibility -- current system.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Real solution sought

Canadian Joe Dawson has had more than his share of wheelchair woes while traveling. He has complained, and been compensated in some cases. But he'd rather have solutions. "I want to find out what the root cause of this problem is and have someone really solve it," Dawson said in this article.

Oxygen obstacles

The Canadian Transportation Agency will convene an oral hearing to determine whether obstacles faced by people needing medical oxygen while flying are "undue" under the Canada Transportation Act. They will also look at corrective measures, if the obstacles are found to be undue. The hearing is expected to convene in spring of 2006. The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent Government of Canadaquasi-judicial tribunal. Its mandate includes the responsibility to eliminate undue obstacles to the mobility of persons with disabilities within the federal transportation network.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A breath of oxygen

Could airlines recoup the costs of providing oxygen service from opening up a new market of those with respiratory problems? Marva Raines, the founder of a support group for people with respiratory diseases. thinks so. "The airlines cry that they're going bankrupt, but if people with respiratory problems could fly, there would be more than 3 million more people out there willing to buy tickets," she said.
"That should more than make up for any costs of providing oxygen concentrators." With each oxygen concentrator costing about $5,000 -- and airfare costing what it does -- that sounds very feasible to me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Agent anyone?

This article makes it appear that in the age when more people think they don't need a travel agent, that agents are beginning to market themselves as a plus for negotiating the extra prep needed for the disabled to travel. Another recognition of people with disabilities as a viable market segment.

Riding the rails

New trains for the TransPennine route in the UK promise easier access for disabled people. The new rolling stock is to be in use by next fall.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Titles don't necessarily = privileges

Think that fancy titles still carry privileges? Not when it comes to Ms. Wheelchairs and disabled access to airports. Angie Wilkerson, Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2005, told of a recent experience in an interesting article on In the Philadelphia airport, she wasn't allowed to use her own motorized wheelchair to board the plane and had to use a special wheelchair. "The lady wasn't paying attention and dumped me out," Wilkerson related. "I managed to grab a wall and scream for help, catching myself." Her muscles "felt like I had been in a car wreck from all the stress and all the transferring. There's a lot of stress just not knowing what you're going to face." The same article also relates the hitches faced by Kristen Connors of Providence, R.I., who is Ms. Wheelchair America 2006. To board a plane in Richmond, she had to be carried up airplane steps by two airline employees. "The gentlemen who carried me were nice," she said, "but it was freezing and cold outside."
This article isn't just about Ms. Wheelchair contestants, however, and includes other good info.

The grape

What's a "disabled friendly" wine celler? Don't know, but apparently they have one at Banhoek Vineyard Lodge in South Africa. This brief review in a larger article is all the info I could find on the web, though.

Working on the canal

A new junction of the Wilts & Berks Canal to the Thames river at Abingdon will include several features designed for the disabled. The project will include a wheelchair friendly footpath and seating for disabled users. The work is scheduled to be done by August 2006.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Boomer factor

How will the merger of the disabled community and simply the aging boomer segment merge to find common interest in an accessible travel destination future? Scott Rains lays it out here at
A quote:
"Boomers who have amassed more wealth and more power than their peers who have fought for disability rights over the past fifty years will demand full inclusion as a birthright with all the fervor that comes from privilege or they will take their wealth to a competitor as sophisticated consumers."