For People With Disabilities, Vacationing is Often Anything But!

By Dawn Grabowski

Women with disabilities are even more likely to be victims of violence or rape than non-disabled women, and are less likely to be able to obtain police intervention, legal protection, or prophylactic care.

Group of wheelchairs stationed at an airport

With the summer months fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, it is again time to plan vacation travel. But for people with disabilities, this is no easy task. We are often met with numerous challenges, starting upon arrival at the airport. Four out of 10 travelers with disabilities have had their mobility aid lost or damaged by an airline, while six in 10 have experienced extended wait times for mobility assistance at the airport before and after a flight.

In fact, during the first quarter of 2021, airlines reported 712 mishandled wheelchairs or scooters — which amounts to almost eight per day. Spirit Airlines experienced the highest percentage of incidents, damaging 2.88% of enplaned wheelchairs and scooters, followed by JetBlue (2.27%), American Airlines (1.57%), and Frontier Airlines (1.55%). Airlines weren’t legally required to report damages to mobility equipment until December 2018, when Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, who uses a wheelchair herself, added a provision into the FAA Reauthorization Act. Still, many travelers are continuing to make the repairs on their own since this allows them to regain their independence more quickly…

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