Airlines Tighten Leash on Emotional Support Animals

peacockIn response to a New York artist’s failed attempt to pass off her pet peacock (Dexter) as an emotional support animal on a recent United Airlines flight, the airline responded by tightening their emotional support animal policies beginning on March 1, 2018. Continue reading

National Parks to Remain Open During Government Shutdown

You just can't beat the views from the rim

You just can’t beat the view in Grand Canyon National Park

There’s nothing more frustrating than planning all year for a vacation, only to have it ruined by an unforeseen event, such as a government shutdown. I know this first hand, as I was out and about covering some national parks during the 2013 shutdown, and the gates were locked and facilities were closed. I had to reschedule my visits at a later time, so I could complete my book. Trust me, I was not a happy camper. Continue reading

Judge Delays Implementation of Airline Disability Regs

airplane_landing_199029In the final days of 2018, US District Court Judge John Bates dealt another blow to disability advocates, by further delaying the implementation of rules designed to track the number assistive devices damaged by US airlines. This Obama-era regulation was scheduled to go onto effect on January 1, 2018 until it was postponed another year by President Trump, under his agenda to reduce business regulations. Continue reading

VIA Rail to Upgrade Access in 2018

Canada’s national rail provider – VIA Rail recently announced that it plans to add more wheelchair tie-downs to their rail cars in 2018. And although this is great news to disability advocates, this access upgrade didn’t come without a battle. A battle that began back in 2016, when Marie Murphy and Martin Anderson traveled from Windsor to Toronto on VIA Rail. Continue reading

Air India Boots Power Wheelchair-User

airplane_landing_199029Although travelers in the US are used to the protections that the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) affords them in this country (and on flights to and from the US), that’s not how it works on foreign soil. In fact, I routinely get reports of wheelchair-users who were unceremoniously denied boarding at airports throughout Asia. Such is the case of Kaushik Majumdar, who recently tried to board an Air India flight from Bengaluru to Kolkata.

Notice, I said “tried”.

According to reports of the incident Majumdar was told at check-in that he would have to remove the dry-cell battery from his power wheelchair and transfer to a manual wheelchair at the gate. After he did this, he was also informed that he would have to disconnect all of the wires that ran to the battery case. Being leery about his ability to properly reconnect the wires, and concerned about possible damage to his wheelchair, he refused. And then Air India refused to accept him as a passenger.

Should this have happened? Well no it shouldn’t have, but it did. And although in the US, the ACAA prohibits the removal of non-spillable batteries that are appropriately marked and installed, that’s not the way it works with Air India.

So this is just a little heads up if you happen to have India on your bucket list. Tread lightly with Air India, as they don’t appear to be “power-wheelchair friendly”. And no matter where you travel, check with the airline to see what their policies are regarding the stowage of assistive devices before you buy your ticket. A little advance research could possible save you a whole lot of heartache – not to mention a ruined trip. In this case, forewarned is definitely forearmed!

Help Florida State Parks Beef Up Access

boardwalkLet’s face it, Florida State Parks were hit hard by Hurricane Irma. All 168 State Parks shut down when the stormed raged through the state in September; and although some parks escaped damage all together, others weren’t so lucky. Sadly, Bahia Honda, Indian Key and Long Key State Parks sustained the brunt of the damage in the Florida Keys.

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Safari West Loses Accessible Bus in Wildfire

Accessible tent cabin at Safari West will reopen in 2018.

Accessible tent cabin at Safari West will reopen in 2018.

Safari West – a favorite attraction of mine – partially reopened their facilities last month after the Tubbs Fire ravaged Sonoma county. Although much of the land surrounding this wild animal preserve was parched by the fire, the good news is that no animals at Safari West were injured or killed as a result of it. Continue reading

Looking Forward to a More Accessible Future

Work underway at The Lake House Restaurant in Grant Village

Work underway at The Lake House Restaurant in Grant Village

I’ve been writing about accessible travel for over 20 years now, and I can honestly say that I’ve see a lot of improvements since I first started. Years ago it was hard to find an accessible room at all, and now many hotels have pool lifts. Yes, I know there is always room for improvement, but I’m pleased at the direction that the hospitality industry is moving. Continue reading

Great Winter Deals at Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

If you’re looking for a heck of a winter hotel deal, then look no further than Lake Quinault Lodge. Located just outside of Olympic National Park on the south shore of Lake Quinault, this Northwestern Washington lodge is offering rates that start at a very affordable $87, from now until April 30, 2018. Continue reading