It is much easier for people traveling with disabilities thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. It has been in place for 25 years and has had a big impact on improving the lives of people traveling with disabilities. Courtesy of Travel Leaders.
Travel has been made easier for those with disabilities. In the past it was incredibly difficult for individuals with disabilities to travel throughout the USA.
Much of this changed 25 years ago when President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA – for short) into law. The legislation has such a wide ranging impact. It ensures that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the wonderful world of travel that is so much a part of mainstream American life.
Airports, airlines, hotels and even cruise ships have all made great progress since 1990. They have upgraded older facilities and ensured that new ones are built to comply with the disabilities law. Today, a person’s disability should not be a barrier to them traveling from coast to coast and even around the world!
The ADA applies to people with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities. This includes such disabilities as seeing, hearing, speaking or walking. An individual with a non-chronic illness or condition of short duration, such as a sprain, broken limb or the flu, would generally not be covered. But someone who has recovered from cancer or mental illness would be included.
For places of public accommodation, that means installing ramps and widening doorways and putting grab bars in bathrooms. I also includes adding raised letters of Braille on elevator buttons and installing alert systems that can be seen as well as heard. These are all things that most of us take for granted but which were much less common 25 years ago. Improvements like curb cuts designed for wheelchairs are a benefit to everyone.
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) effective 5 April 2000, prohibits discrimination against a passenger who is disabled or who has special needs in air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of these passengers. ACAA responsible agencies – DOT for air travel compliance/information and DOJ for ACAA violations.
At airports, ADA compliance means ensuring that every part of the terminal is accessible to passengers traveling with disabilities. This compliance includes wheelchairs and those visually impaired or hearing impaired. This includes ticket counters and baggage claim areas, restrooms, drinking fountains, waiting areas and inter-terminal transportation.
Hotels, motels, and other types of lodging must follow some of the same rules as airports. The ADA also covers restaurants, spas, public restrooms and conference rooms.
Cruise ships are also required to comply with the ADA rules, even foreign ships if they dock in a U.S. port. Cruise lines have done a great job accommodating the needs of disabled passengers.
Traveling With Disabilities Just Got Easier!