Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including a discussion about a national disability museum, passenger issues with Qantas and Jetstar, accessibility regulations for driverless vehicles and more.

Accessible travel news from around the web:

  • High School Seniors Call for a National Museum of Disability — Five 12th graders at Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts penned this piece for The New York Times, in which they advocate for the creation of a museum to preserve the history of disability in America. This is important, because they say:
    “The extent of what most Americans know about disability is limited — we see bright blue logos plastered on parking spaces or hear accounts of friends with challenges. We may know people with autism or dyslexia. We may see loved ones with permanent injuries or physical ailments. But for many, the understanding ends there.”
Power wheelchair stored in airplane's overhead bin.
Power wheelchair stored in airplane’s overhead bin.
  • Qantas Refuses to Transport Collapsible Wheelchair — Australian airline Quantas kicked a man off a plane and called the police because he stored his collapsible electric wheelchair in the overhead bin. Shane Hryhorec took to twitter with his story. He tweeted that the airline “wouldn’t allow my wheelchair in the overhead locker like (@EtihadAirways @SingaporeAir @JetstarAirways) have before.” Read more about this passenger’s experience at the link.
  • Budget Carrier Jetstar Unable to Accommodate Accessibility Needs — Dennis Kosmatos was looking forward to his trip to Phuket, Thailand, but at the boarding gate in Australia, Jetstar told him that they could not help him to his seat. This meant that he had to cancel his nearly three-week trip, and had to battle with insurance to be refunded for accommodation and other services in Thailand. The budget carrier noted that it is not a “full-service” airline, but shouldn’t every airline be required to provide the same level of disability assistance?
Man uses lift to access seat in tractor.
Man uses lift to access seat in tractor. | Image courtesy The Telegraph.
  • Paraplegic operates snow groomer at ski resort — After an accident left Antoine Montillon a paraplegic, he was in search of a new gig. One of his childhood dreams was to operate a snow groomer, a heavy-duty machine that is used to maintain ski slopes and trails. Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps, gave him that opportunity. The machine was modified with hand controls and other accessibility features, and he has gained a new career that he loves. Read about this man’s interesting story and watch the video at the link.
  • Access Denied to Driverless Vehicles — A bill introduced in the Senate last month, the AV START Act (S. 1885), would make it easier for companies to bring self-driving cars to American streets. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), the bill includes no requirements for vehicle accessibility, and in fact loosens the safety standards in these vehicles. This is an important read from The Hill. Let me know what you think about the future of self-driving cars in the comments below.

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!

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