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World Tourism Day's theme of Accessible Tourism
for all is about the creation of environments that can
cater for the needs of all of us, whether we are travel-
ling or staying at home. May that be due to a disabil-
ity, even temporary, families with small children, or
the ageing population, at some point in our lives,
sooner or later, we all benefit of universal accessibility
Which is why, we want to call upon the right for all
of the world's citizens to experience the incredible di-
versity of our planet and the beauty of the world we
live in. On this year's World Tourism Day we highlight
the importance and immense benefits universal ac-
cessibility has and can bring to society at large.
Travel by air for people with health issues, handi-
caps, disabilities or special needs can be challenging.
The following air travel tips will help make your
flight and trip, whether domestic or international,
easier, cheaper and safer.
When making your travel reservations, request any
carts, wheelchair services or any other transportation
you'll need. Fully describe your limitations and needs.
Get your airline ticket and boarding pass well ahead
of time so you don't have to wait in any lines. You'll
be able to arrange travel at a discount, get better
travel deals, and avoid last minute travel headaches.
Talk with your airline representative or travel agent
regarding the type of restrooms that are on the air-
plane. Call your airport and find out as much informa-
tion as possible about the restrooms and
handicapped parking at the airport.
You'll need to find out how you'll be boarding the
airplane at each of the airports involved in your trip.
You may need another type of airplane or alternative
route so you'll have Jetways, or jet bridges, into the
plane from the airport and not have to worry about
Air Travel Tips:
• Think about what seat arrangement will work best for
your needs. Would an aisle seat make it more convenient
to get to the restroom? You'll want to avoid sitting in the
emergency exit row. The passengers in this row may be
asked to help others in an emergency situation.
• Let the airlines and flight attendants know if you have any
assisting devices. Find out the best way to store them so
they arrive without damage.
• Always keep in mind what you can do easily and without
assistance, as well as situations that would require help.
• Can you transfer to seats by yourself? Will you need a
transfer board or assistance from airline staff?
• Consider hiring a travel nurse if you have serious health or
medical issues. There are travelling nurses' networks.
• Can you describe your wheelchair, scooter or walker, di-
mensions, weight, type of tires, type of batteries, etc. You
may need to take along spare batteries. You also may
need to rent or buy a travel wheelchair.
• Make sure to mention to your travel agent or airline repre-
sentative any assisting devices you may need or already
have like canes and crutches. Do you need a slow pace or
are you a slow walker?
• If you will be travelling through different time zones, how
will jet lag affect your situation?
• Consider how the following will be of concern during your
trip and discuss with your travel agent: upper body
strength, communication ability, speech issues, voice is-
sues, vision problems, hearing problems, heat issues, med-
ication needs, oxygen requirements, and dietary
requirements such as gluten-free meals.
• Try to arrange or book your air travel through experienced
travel agencies or tour operators that specialize in disabled
travel. There are a large number of agencies throughout
the U. S., Canada, Europe, Australia and many other coun-
• Just in case you need them, it's also good to know if there
are any travel agencies that specialize in disabled travel at
your destination, for return travel, local resources or travel
• At the airport let airline boarding personnel know that you
may need extra time to board the plane. Sit close to the
door at the gate so you're called first and then board at a
• After the plane has landed, never get off the plane until
you see or have your assisting device, wheelchair, travel
wheelchair, etc. Flight attendants have to stay on the air-
plane until the last passenger leaves. They will help you
while you're on the plane but once you're off the plane
they won't be able to help you.
• Make sure you carry your medications and back-up pre-
scriptions with you onto the plane, along with doctors'
names, addresses, fax numbers for faxing prescriptions,
phone numbers, medical diagnosis, names and dosages of
medications you're taking and any allergies you have.
• Photocopy passports, airline tickets, travellers cheques,
credit cards and any important papers.
United States TSA Security Screening for Persons with
The United States TSA has established a program for
screening of persons with disabilities and their associated
equipment, mobility aids, and devices. All disability-related
equipment, aids, and devices continue to be allowed through
security checkpoints once cleared through screening.
NOTE: Carry your health insurance information with you on
the plane. Know what you'll do if you encounter a health prob-
lem or medical emergency on your trip. Get travel insurance to
ensure less costly medical assistance. These emergency bills
may not be covered under your health insurance policy. It'll
ease your mind to have this back-up travel insurance and pre-
vent costly emergency medical charges on your trip. Emer-
gency medical costs can run considerably higher than
standard medical fees.
Info courtesy disabled-world.com and un.org
Always keep in mind what
you can do easily and without
assistance, as well as situations
that would require help.
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