Researching national park access can be tedious, especially where lodging is concerned. National park lodges are operated by concessionaires, who operate under strict guidelines, and are responsible for the repair, improvement and daily operation of the facilities. Continue reading
Now that my newest national park title is released (www.barrierfreeolympic.doc), it’s time to sit back and reflect on my time in Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades national parks. Even though these Washington state gems contain some pretty rugged terrain, they also boast a veritable treasure trove of accessible trails, attractions and lodging options. And although it’s hard to pick just one favorite, here are my top five accessible travel finds in Washington’s national parks. Continue reading
If you’re headed to Arizona or New Mexico in the near future, be sure and pick up a copy of RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips, before you hit the road. As someone who has logged a lot of miles in both states, I can absolutely tell you that author Rick Quinn really hit it out of the park with this title. Continue reading
Back by popular demand, “Alcatraz: Life on the Rock” is now on display at San Francisco’s Parc 55 hotel. This well-curated exhibit, which is slated to run through June 28, 2018, commemorates the 55th anniversary of the closure of the island prison, and gives visitors a look at what life was really like on “The Rock”. Continue reading
Have you ever checked into a hotel only to find that the bed in the accessible room was too high or too low for you? Well you’re not alone. Trust me, I get a lot of mail about this issue. It’s a real problem for managers and guests alike, as there are no regulations regarding bed height. Continue reading
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
In 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
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
Although 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!