Why Understanding the Law is Essential

Those of you who know me, know that I?m a real stickler for “understanding access laws”. Truth be told, I do drone on about it, but it is important. Why? Because unless you understand the access laws you probably won?t know what to expect as far as accessible travel is concerned.

Case and point is an internet article I just read by a person I?ll call Miss Informed. She apparently went on a trip and didn?t find the access she expected and now she is trashing the properties and providers for this and warning people about the “pitfalls” of accessible travel. That would be OK if she actually had some understanding of the law.

First off, she was surprised that the accessible room she reserved did not have a roll-in shower. If she understood the law she would know that properties with under 50 rooms aren?t required to have any accessible rooms with roll-in showers, and that a room can be termed “accessible” without having a roll-in shower. She should have specifically requested an accessible room with a roll-in shower if indeed she needed one.

Second, she complained about the bed height in the accessible rooms, and said that those tall pillow top beds certainly couldn?t be acceptable under the ADA. The truth is, bed height is not something regulated under the ADA. Now I?m not saying that there aren?t some tall beds out there, but you need to realize it?s not a feature that is regulated by the law. If bed height is an issue for you, you need to call and ask about it before you book your room. It should also be noted that some slow walkers prefer the higher (to a point) beds so they don?t have to bend as much to get in and out. Bottom line — no matter what your preference, it?s best to ask before you book.

And finally, Miss Informed complained because the hotel didn?t have a wheelchair available to lend to her. She felt her room was too far from the reception area and considered it an access issue. Yes, it can be for slow walkers, which is why you need to ask about the location of the accessible room before you book. Hotels are not required to provide wheelchairs under the law. Occasionally you will find one that happens to have one on hand, but it?s not the norm and certainly shouldn?t be expected.

In the end, you need to understand the law and make sure you ask a lot of questions before you book your room. And for goodness sakes, don?t believe everything you read on the internet. There are many more Miss Informeds out there, and some of them make a habit of spreading misinformation about access.

Become an educated consumer!