Drury Gets Access Right

I have to admit that I love Drury properties for the little extras they provide – the popcorn and soda snacks, the Kickback happy hours and the full hot breakfasts. But beyond that, they also seem to have a good handle on access needs; and by that I mean they remember the little things that are often overlooked by other hotel chains. The Drury Suites in McAllen, Texas is a prime example of that, and here are a few of the sometimes forgotten access features that they nailed. Continue reading

Access Board Extends Public Comment Deadline on Passenger Vessels

Just when I thought there was actually some glimmer of hope to actually getting some cruise ship access regulations on the books in my lifetime, I got this fateful e-mail from the Access Board.

“The Access Board is extending the deadline for public comments on accessibility guidelines it has proposed for passenger vessels an additional 120 days. Comments on the guidelines, which were released in June, are now due on January 24, 2014, instead of September 23, 2013, as indicated in a published notice. The extension will more than double the allotted time for comments and is responsive to concerns raised by interested parties on the need for additional time to review the rule and prepare feedback, including responses to questions posed by the Board.”

So of course I decided to check out the comments that have been received. There were only a handful, and besides mine there were a few from consumers, as well as three from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The consumer letters all addressed access issues. Can you guess what the CLIA letters addressed? Well…drumroll… they all asked for a 120 day extension to fully evaluate the proposed regulations. So here we are back at square one.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CLIA, it is the world´s largest cruise association and it focuses on the “promotion and growth of the cruise industry.” I’m sure they will come up with lengthy comments and encourage the Access Board to adopt less restrictive regulations. After all, the cruise lines are CLIA members.

In all fairness, I think the Access Board should hear both sides. And since “disabled passengers” don’t have an association to speak for them, it’s up to each and every one of you. That’s right – you!

So if you’ve even taken a cruise and had a problem, or are thinking about taking one but can’t because of an access issue, then it’s time to let the Access Board know. As long as the regulations are going to be delayed, you may as well have a voice in the outcome.

 

Comments on Proposed Passenger Vessel Guidelines

Here are my comments on the proposed guidelines for passenger vessels. You can submit your own comments here after reading the proposed regulations. You have until September 23, 2013, so let your voice be heard on this matter.

Continue reading

Will Cruise Lines Follow Suit on Pool Access?

As you probably are quite aware, cruise ships are technically covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, however since there are no specific access regulations – known as the ADAAG – it’s still rather a moot point. The ADAAG for cruise ships has been a work in progress by the US Access Board for many, many years; and quite frankly I’m stymied by the delay. But that’s another issue. Continue reading

Breaking News — DOJ Extends Deadline for Pool Compliance

Well, the Department of Justice (DOJ) once again surprised me when they announced their decision to extend the compliance date for access to pools and hot tubs in places of public accommodation. While I had hoped that pools would be open for business this summer, that’s the case at all. In fact the DOJ extended the compliance date to January 31, 2013.

Yep, you read that one right. Continue reading

My Comments to the DOJ

As promised, here are my comments to the Department of Justice, in regard to their proposed delay in implementation of the access regulations for pools and spas. Feel free to use any part of it you desire for your own comments. You can submit them here, but do it today, because we only have until April 4, 2012

To Whom it May Concern

As a travel writer who has covered accessible travel exclusively for the past 16 years, I am dismayed and disappointed at the 60 day delay for implementation of the new pool and spa access regulations. And my readers feel the same way. The prevailing mantra seems to be “We’ve already waited 22 years — why do we have to endure more delays?”

And I agree, and strongly oppose the 180 day extension for implementation. For several reasons. Continue reading

New Hotel Regulations Coming Soon!

Starting on March 15, some long awaited access regulations will go into effect — regulations that will make travel more accessible to everyone. I’m talking about the new hotel ADAAG;? which will require hotels to make sure that disabled guests actually get the accessible rooms they need. Continue reading