It’s been a long journey for the MiWuk people in Yosemite National Park, but it appears that things are finally moving forward on the construction of their traditional roundhouse on national park land. And the site is particularly significant, as it’s where their Wahhoga Village was once located, before the National Park Service leveled it in 1969. Continue reading
Many national parks have free loaner wheelchairs, and a few even have sand or beach wheelchairs, but as of May 2019 a loaner trackchair is now available at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (https://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm). This unique project was made possible by the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, who purchased an Action Trackchair (http://actiontrackchair.com) last August, and subsequently worked with the National Park Service to implement a program that allows wheelchair-users and slow walkers to explore some of the more rugged areas of the national lakeshore. Continue reading
Early last month the The International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved an accessible air travel resolution at their 75th Annual General Meeting in Seoul, South Korea. The resolution calls upon governments to follow IATA’s core principles for accommodating disabled passengers, and hopes to bring the travel sector together with regulators in order to provide consistent air travel access regulations throughout the world. Continue reading
There’s good news for wheelchair-users who plan to visit Athens this summer – the Acropolis elevator is up and running again. And apparently the repair was — at least in part — spurred on by Facebook. Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve probably read about the “Jon Morrow Incident” on Southwest Airlines, as quite frankly, it’s been all over the internet. Mr. Morrow, who has a fused spine and brittle bones, tried to fly unsuccessfully on Southwest Airlines last month with his Eagle Lift. Although the Eagle Lift is used to transfer wheelchair-users to their airplane seats in some parts of the UK, Canada and Australia, it’s not the norm – or even required — in the US.
Originally Southwest told Mr. Morrow that he could bring his lift so his aides could use it to transfer him to the airline seat, but the airline subsequently informed him that he would not be allowed to use and transport his Eagle Lift. The airline instead offered him the use of the aisle chair, which is standard in the US.
Was the airline wrong in doing this?
Well the airline was wrong for initially telling Mr. Morrow that he would be allowed to bring and use his Eagle Lift; but legally I think they are on firm ground for their final decision. Under the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines are required to provide boarding assistance that includes “boarding wheelchairs an/or on-board wheelchairs”. They did offer Mr. Morrow that type of boarding assistance, and there is no requirement for the airline to allow passenger-provided equipment such as the Eagle Lift.
It’s true that other airlines use the Eagle Lift for boarding, but I’m sure they’ve never had a request to transport one, as Mr. Morrow himself stated, “I’m the only individual in the world who owns one.” I expect Southwest’s big concern was in their their ability to safely transport this $15,000 piece of equipment without damaging it.
According to Southwest Airlines, “In this instance, the customer was informed that we do not have boarding procedures for the safe use of his personal Eagle Lift device, nor do our employees have training for storage of the device. This final decision was made after reviewing the device’s specifications and the requirements for transporting it and the customer safely.”
I’m sorry this happened to Mr. Morrow, but Southwest was within their right to not allow the Eagle Lift on board.
On the plus side, something positive may come out of this, as Southwest also said that they are “in contact with the manufacturer of this device to learn more about the device’s unique handling and storage requirements.” So who knows, maybe things will change in the future, and they will voluntarily allow the use and transport of this device. But like I said, for now, they are operating under the letter of the law.
In what appears to be a move to skirt the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) last month, rideshare giant Lyft claimed once again that it is not in the transportation business, and therefor is not not subject to the ADA. They further alleged that they are instead in the information business. Continue reading
Finding an accessible hotel room can sometimes be a chore, but imagine trying to find one with a ceiling track lift. Now if you live in the US you may be surprised to learn that such accommodations exist; however they are more common over in the UK. And that’s because of CHuC – the Ceiling Hoist Users Club. Thanks to their advocacy they have encouraged many properties to install ceiling track lifts. And they created a website that lists them all at www.chuc.org.uk.
This handy resource lists properties by location, and includes useful details – like if you need to provide your own sling – about the listing. The bulk of the hotels, self catering properties and B&Bs are located in the UK, but there are also a few in the US, Mexico, Australia and Continental Europe. There’s also a spot for visitors to leave comments or reviews about the listed properties.
Sadly the founder of this site passed away in 2008, but thankfully her works lives on today. So check out this site if you’d like to stay in a property with a ceiling track lift – especially if your travels will take you to the UK.
I’m always on the lookout for good resources for slow walkers and wheelchair-users; but I have to admit I stumbled upon Able Amsterdam (http://www.ableamsterdam.com) quite by accident. Either way, this combination blog and resource page is a must-read if Amsterdam is on your travel radar. Continue reading
The figures for reported wheelchair mishandling by US airlines are in for the second month, and I have to say I’m unimpressed. Continue reading
On the surface it would seem that rideshare services like Lyft would make accessible transportation more available to people with disabilities. But that’s definitely not the case in the San Francisco area, and DRA Legal is trying to do something about it. More specifically they filed a class action lawsuit against Lyft last month, in an effort to compel the company to provide wheelchair-accessible services in the San Francisco area. Continue reading