Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ahead of the boomer travel wave?

Here's a Canadian take on the coming demographic reality facing the travel -- and most any -- industry -- the aging of the boomers. James Glasbergen, director of accessible travel with World on Wheelz, a division of Frederick Travel in Waterloo, Ont. , summed it up nicely as the number of disabled travelers is growing as boomers become seniors. True, but I fear that many destinations are not ahead of the wave on accessibility and related amenities seniors will want. (Photo via imageafter)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Linville Caverns wheelchair accessible

Caverns don't seem like the most accessible type of attraction. But this article on caves does show one as claiming wheelchair accessibility -- Linville Caverns in Marion, North Carolina.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Vote on cruise ships, anti-discrimination and access

The issue of foreign cruise ships operating in the U.S. following accessibility and anti-discrimination laws in relation to people with disabilities is coming to light again with the issuing of a new set of federal rules. Time for a poll! Should foreign ships have to follow ADA like rules to operate here? Vote in the poll in the sidebar. Leave a comment here too if your feelings go beyond yes or no. (Photo by Mike Rash via -- in the poll too)

Anti discrimination cruise rules published

The first set of the federal rules prohibiting discriminatory practices against the disabled by any cruise ship operated in the US have been issued. This is the latest action in an ongoing process that stretches back to a Supreme Court ruling in 2005. The rules published last week address discriminatory practices; to come will be design guidelines for ships. Among the practices banned: charging more for accessible accommodations, refusing disabled people because they would make others uncomfortable and requiring advanced notice of a disability for a cruiser, unless they are traveling in a group of 10 or more people with disabilities. I personally like the striking down of the advanced notice requirement. It's a favorite of airlines around the world, and it has always rubbed me the wrong way. Seems to me it is as often used as a way to start throwing up obstacles, maybe in the hope of discouraging a passenger with disabilities, as much as it is used for actually accommodating someone. (Photo by Michelle Schafer vis

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Michigan stagestop gets access grants

The Walker Tavern in Michigan once was a stagecoach stop for travelers heading west to Chicago or east on to Detroit. Now it's a place to get a little history. Two grants were recently received to help make the adjacent Hewitt House accessible. Additional funds are being sought. For more info see this.
(Wagon wheel photo not necessarily from Walker Tavern, Michigan by Dan Tombs via

What do all those stars really mean?

Rating systems for hotels can be confusing, unless you stick to one system and learn its parameters. But then individual properties can muck up the works by basically claiming to be whatever number of stars they want, this article points out. The U.S. doesn't have a government-run ranking system, but some countries do. France apparently has a particularly complex one. But at least it does consider accessibility. (Photo by Darren Hester via

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quick guide to airline travel published

Some good general advice about airline travel for people with disabilities is in the bottom half of this Q and A.
(Photo via

Tamarack Lodge has accessible cabin

The Tamarack Lodge and Resort, in the Mammoth Lakes area of California, as described in this Mercury News review, sounds like a nice, somewhat rustic get away in the summer or winter. Cabin number 3 is touted as accessible, and you can check out the virtual tour to see what you think.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Some cab drivers refuse fares with alcohol, service animals

In an article about Muslim cab drivers refusing to carry passengers with alcohol, there is this mention: "In a few cases, the Islamic drivers in Minneapolis have even refused to transport disabled people with guide dogs because of other religious strictures about unclean animals. The Minnesota Muslim society condemned such refusals." Personally, I'd never heard of such a thing on religious grounds, that is. (Soulful dog eyes photo by keyseeker via

8 accessible roooms at Cache Creek Casino Resort reports SF Chron

The Cache Creek Casino Resort in Yolo County's Capay Valley, California: 74,000 square feet of gambling space, an 18-hole golf course, "high thread count sheets" and eight of its 200 rooms accessible for people with disabilities, this review says. (Dice photo by Michael Connors via

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lodge in Canadian Rockies has accessible rooms

If you're into winter seclusion, you might consider Kilmorey Lodge in the village of Waterton Lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Much of the town and surrounding area closes up during the winter, according to this report. But the lodge has plenty of amenities, and two accessible rooms.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Passengers with disabilities still can board early for free on Wizz

Wizz Air, a European discount airline, will make an exception to its new policy of charging for priority boarding for people with disabilities. But I can't help but think someday some other company will not. (Photo by Sirkhan via

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Look for smarter elevators

In taller buildings, be on the look out for smarter elevators as you travel. They seek to have riding an elevator be more of a non-stop experience. And, some models adjust for passengers with disabilities. (Photo of a not necessarily smarter elevator by Allen Conant via

Traveler recommends blind masseurs of Cambodia

I'm not much for massage. But if you are, and traveling in Cambodia, Nomad Rick recommends Seeing Hands, a service of blind masseurs. Says Rick: "There is no better way to get out the knots than one of these massages. The masseuses are friendly and seem to be able to find every little knot. I guarantee you’ll feel like a new man or woman after getting one." (Photo of Angkor, Cambodia by Nicolas Raymond via

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Firsthand cruise ship accessibility experience shared

This advice about boarding the cruise ship Norwegian Dream from Rich Dziak: "We had an hour delay after check in waiting for "wheelchair" assistance for my 82 year old father. Finally we boarded, after an aggressive check-in clerk helped us. If you need wheelchair assistance from the terminal to the ship be expected to wait for the chair. It's a long gangway from the terminal to the ship, and you best be in good shape for the walk and climb up the ramped gangway." (Photo of some cruise ship, not necessarily the Norwegian Dream, by Mike Rash via

Coatesworth reviews travel accessibility across Europe

If you're planning a trip to the UK, or much of Europe, it's worth a check at Disability Access to see if Mike Coatesworth has been to your destination. If he has, you'll get an insightful and no nonsense review of accessibility and the sights in general. Lots of photos too. (Photo of lower walkway of Blackpool's Queen's Promanarde by Wild Horse Films via Mike reviews Blackpool -- several times.)

Study to measure safety of traveling on buses in wheelchair

Ever wondered what the safety of traveling on public transit in a wheelchair is? Some University of Louisville researchers are launching a research project to find out. The researchers believe their work is groundbreaking: “There really are few or no studies in scientific literature addressing the safety of people who remain in their wheelchairs while on buses or in other types of motor vehicles,” said Gina Bertocci, professor and endowed chair of biomechanics in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering. The study will examine "how wheelchair riders board, ride in and disembark from buses. They will study videotapes of riders captured by on-board cameras to analyze potentially unsafe situations and suggest preventive measures," a press release says. "The study also will perform in-depth analysis of wheelchair-related incidents." Putting some data behind the issue may help drive the creation of safer wheelchair travel arrangements. (Bus photo by Kenn Kiser via

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Parathlete takes new buses for a ride

New accessible buses at Hull in the UK are up and running and have received the endorsement of parathlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, reports Interestingly it was the first bus trip ever for the winner of 16 Paralympic medals.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Study: Airlines have room for improvement in accomodating disabled

American airlines are much better at accommodating passengers with disabilities than some of their counterparts around the world, as many posts on this blog will testify. But even US airlines have room for improvement, points out this article by Jane Engle of the Los Angeles Times. She outlines several shortcomings of the industry found in a recent study -- the key one for this blog's readers being:
'The promise: "Properly accommodate disabled and special-needs passengers.'
The reality: More than 80 percent of fliers with disabilities encountered problems, such as insensitive staff and delays in requested service at U.S. airlines and airports, according to a 2005 survey by the Harris Interactive polling company that the report cites.
Twelve of the 15 airlines and their contractors, the inspector general found, were not complying with their own policies or with federal requirements for training employees to interact with passengers with disabilities.

(Image via

Mercury News offers airlines tips

Wonder what airlines' responsibilities are in accommodating passengers with disabilities? Here's a good quick synopsis.
(Image via

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Man crossing Europe hoping for reunification of Korea

Choi Chang-hyun has traveled some 13,000 km through 20 European countries in about a month in his power wheelchair. The trip has not been without adversity: "When I travel these bumpy roads in Europe, I get excruciating pain in my teeth. I have to hold the control gear for my wheelchair tightly in my mouth and it puts such pressure on my throat and back that I can't sleep at night." But if he can do this, he reasons, Korea can unify as well.

Israeli tourism sites to become more accessible

The Israel Tourism Ministry and National Insurance Institute are committed to spending NIS 12 million (almost $3 million in US dollars) on improving accessibility at various Israeli tourist sites. “The money will be used chiefly towards making existing tourist sites accessible, since new sites being built are already suited for the handicapped,” Tourism Minister Yitzhak Herzog said in a article. "Simultaneously, we’ll advance accessibility regulations regarding hotel accommodations, at existing and new buildings, together with the hotel and tourism industry and the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee.” $3 million over three years may not sound like huge money, but the article points out that the previous budget for such spending was only about about NIS 500,000 to 1 million (about $120,00 to $240,000 US dollars) per year in recent years. (Photo of view of Hafia, Israel by Jim Arndt via

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ramp on, ramp off the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus

The folks at the Kuala Lumour Hop-On Hop-Off bus were nice enough to supply some photos of their bus, which I posted about a couple of days ago. Here's a pic of the wheelchair ramp.

Travelers Aid ready to help at Hartsfield-Jackson

If you get into a jam at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, GA -- and who hasn't? -- remember the Travelers Aid desk. They might be able to help

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Seeing Kuala Lumpur via bus

The KL Hop-On Hop-Off is a semi-glass roofed, double decker bus that can take you to the sights of Kuala Lumpur -- even if you have a disability, according to this article. (Photo of Kuala Lumpur scene, which you may or may not see from the Hop-On Hop-Off bus, by abstractic via