Traveling is great! According to the weed-advocate hero we never knew we needed, Rick Steves, travel opens us up to new traditions, languages, ways of doing things, strains of weed. It’s great!
Also, traveling sucks! Those quaint cobblestone roads aren’t so quaint in a wheelchair. Those beautiful stairs that feature in everyone’s Mexican vacation are impossible for anyone with limited mobility. An ability to read lips is now useless when the language isn’t English.
Here’s a great mantra for those in the travel industry: GO BEYOND COMPLIANCE.
Explore everything as someone who cannot see, hear and walk. How do you then create a meaningful experience for everyone?
Here’s a seemingly small change that Delta is making:
Delta Air Lines just announced a uniform change that’s not just for looks. Flight attendants for the airline will soon have a uniform label that identifies whether they know American Sign Language, or any of the 300 other sign languages from around the world.
This is wonderful! Imagine the thousands of people who will feel safer because of this simple communication? It says “TALK TO ME” to so many people!
Disability while traveling is more visible as people become more vocal on social media. In particular, those who have had their wheelchairs mishandled by airlines have become a rallying cry for many.
The staff at American Airlines eventually tracked down the chair, which went from Texas to Ohio, back to Texas, then to Iowa, and eventually made it to Minneapolis, its initial destination. The couple spent an entire day in a hotel room with Nic flat on his back and they missed a fitting for a modified van for Nic so he can drive and return to work. Being without his chair was dehumanizing and disappointing.
If Nic experienced a muscle spasm, he could fall on the floor and he couldn’t move in or out of bed, or to the bathroom.
“I think it was 13 hours I was in bed,” Nic told TODAY. “It wasn’t just a bummer, it was a safety issue as well.”
We’re very excited that people with disabilities are having some say in the travel industry. Travel is amazing—but this shouldn’t be how people experience the world while on vacation or at home:
Carden Wyckoff got her first glimpse of the Seine River in Paris in a most unusual way. An “assembly line” of strangers lifted her up over a barrier so she could get closer to the water. In Barcelona, when Wyckoff became lost and couldn’t find her way home, two strangers escorted her to her hotel.
It will take a lot more people understanding why accessibility matters to create widespread change. Have you faced obstacles while traveling or seen someone comport themselves in some way to make a trip? Or have you helped? Join us in the As Me group on Flick Chat and let’s talk about it.
Lemonada will discuss disability and accessibility on As Me with Sinead, coming this fall.