Here is a round-up of the latest news in the world of accessible travel and disability, including a shocking story of airport wheelchair pushers threatening a disabled woman for tips. There’s some positive news too, including 3 popular U.S. cities for accessible travel and a man building wheelchair accessible ramps in his community.
Accessible Travel News from Around the Web
- Woman alleges airport staff extorted her for money — Katherine Frances Wolfe, a 62-year-old Briton traveling from Goa, India to London, England, said that two wheelchair assistance staff threatened her and forced her to give them money at the Goa Airport. “The two men that were supposed to be assisting me, stopped me in a random space in the airport, where I was helplessly surrounded by both men towering over me, angrily telling me, ‘if you do not pay us, then we will just leave you here’,” she said. In total, the equivalent of nearly $50 U.S. Dollars was taken from her.
- United Airlines Lost 2 Wheelchairs on the Same Flight — Karah Behrend and Ryan Major both gate checked their personal wheelchairs on a United Airlines flight from Jacksonville, Florida to Houston, Texas, but the wheelchairs were never loaded on the aircraft. They both had connecting flights, to Phoenix and New Orleans, respectively, and neither passenger was reconnected with their personal wheelchair until the following day.
- Wheelchair User Responsible for Iceland’s First Accessible Gas Station and 500+ Access Ramps — Two years ago, Haraldur Þorleifsson dreamt up an idea to make businesses in Iceland more wheelchair-friendly, while he sat outside a shop that he could not enter with his own mobility device. He formed Ramp Up Iceland to build hundreds of wheelchair ramps across the country, and he recently managed a project to create Iceland’s first accessible gas station. Way to go, Haraldur!
- 44% of U.K. Disabled People Say Sidewalks are Inaccessible — I’ve never been to a city where I didn’t believe that greater attention should be paid to sidewalk accessibility, but my experiences in London, England have generally been good. You can read about accessible London sidewalks in my London wheelchair travel guide. The U.K. extends well beyond London and this statistic suggests things may not be so accessible outside of the British capital city. In an article for Forbes, Gus Alexiou reports that “the most common complaints amongst pedestrians with disabilities related to a paucity of drop curbs, uneven surfaces and steep slopes as well as seasonal barriers such as ice and overgrown vegetation.”
- Research Identifies 3 Popular Destinations for Disabled Travelers in the USA — A survey conducted by The Valuable 500 into accessible travel identified 10 destinations that disabled people report as being accessible to them. USA Today highlighted the three U.S. destinations that made the list and provided some surface-level information about accessibility in those cities.
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