Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including a new wheelchair for airports, an increase in the number of accessible UberWAV vehicles, Ryanair prioritizes an on-time departure over a wheelchair user, a new accessible tour to Machu Picchu and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • Town invests in accessible sports field — Kearney, Nebraska is in the process of constructing a baseball and soccer field that will be accessible to people with disabilities, including wheelchair users. The field will be used by many people from around the region, especially for Challenged Baseball, which “is a program through little league specifically for kids with special needs.”

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  • Air Chair concept named runner-up for 2018 James Dyson Award — Amer Siddiqui and Ali Asgar Salim, two students from the UAE, designed a new wheelchair to be used on airplanes and in airports. Although it is reported that the chair would allow disabled flyers to remain in a single seat for their entire journey (from the departure gate to the arrivals hall, including during flight), nearly all fully immobile passengers travel with their own wheelchair. Personal wheelchairs should be gate-checked and returned to the passenger at the aircraft door. The Air Chair could be useful in boarding and for trips to the lavatory during flight, however.
  • Rather than take a delay, Ryanair strands passenger with wheelchair — Dan Kirkham, a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy, was recently left stranded by Ryanair at Manchester Airport. Dan turned up to the gate for his flight to Madrid well before boarding, but the assistance staff never showed. Rather than wait for the assistance team to help Dan, Ryanair staff cleared the flight for departure, leaving Dan behind at the airport. How would you feel if an airline did this to you?
UberWAV Dodge Grand Caravan with rear-entry wheelchair ramp extended.
UberWAV Dodge Grand Caravan with rear-entry wheelchair ramp extended.
  • Uber to increase number of wheelchair accessible vehicles — Uber has signed a new contract with MV Transportation to provide wheelchair accessible rides through its UberWAV platform. The company will be providing accessible rides to Uber users in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Toronto. In 2019, the company is expected to partner with Uber in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Have you used UberWAV in any of these cities?
  • New accessible tour to Machu Picchu debuts — Peak DMC and Wheel the World have teamed up to offer a new accessible tour to Machu Picchu for people with disabilities. Other activities one the tour include a visit to the Sacred Valley, kayaking on Piuray Lake and exploring the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. I have always dreamed of making my way to Machu Picchu, so it’s fantastic to see that this may now be possible.
  • UK Government’s plan to make air travel more accessible — The UK’s Department for Transport has announced plans to create a new passenger charter which will expand the rights and protections for people with disabilities who travel by air. The draft charter removes limits on airlines’ liability for damaged wheelchairs, new requirements for accessible lavatories and increased attention to the way wheelchairs are stored on airplanes. Click the link for the full details and for reactions from UK disability advocates.

Check back every couple of weeks for the latest roundup of accessible travel news. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the know!

Feature image courtesy Pilar Elorriaga/Wheel the World/Facebook.

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