Tag Archives: travel

Recommended Reading for 24 December, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

The Broken of Britain: The GP’s Story by Dr Jest

So there you have it. Neither Pete nor Dud would have chosen to be where they are now, and neither has asked not to work when they were capable. Indeed both have rather struggled on when reason would have suggested they ought not. And I could name you a dozen others in a similar position. All present talk of making it more profitable to work than rely on benefit may sound very noble and high minded in the marbled halls of power, where hard graft means having a lot to read and a few late meetings to go to. It completely misses the enormous efforts made by the likes of Pete and Dud to keep going against the odds, and any move to impoverish them is little short of scandalous and should be relentlessly pointed out for the evil narrow minded bigotry it is.

Sarah at Cat in a Dog’s World: PWD and TSA

From information I’d heard from TSA administrators, I thought that the body scanners would reducethe need for physical pat-downs. Little did I know that TSA would use the new technology as an excuse to conduct more invasive pat-downs! It is obscene, especially when one considers that many people with disabilities don’t have any “choice” at all. If someone is unable to stand independently for ten seconds with their arms up, or if one wears any number of medical devices or prostheses…there is no “choice.” (And no, for many people, “don’t fly” is not a realistic choice.) There is, additionally, reason for concern about the radiation from the body scanners, particularly for cancer survivors and people who have a genetic predisposition to cancer. It is now pretty clear that body scanners, far from being a panacea, are making things worse. And people with disabilities are being affected disproportionately.

At Spilt Milk: Thanks for your help, doctor.

Make no mistake: I know that this only happened to me because I am fat. If I were a thin person and I walked through his door with the symptoms I described, he would have been forced to dig deeper. To ask me more questions, to hopefully come up with a wider range of options. Maybe run more tests.

United States: Megan Cottrell at ChicagoNow: Got a disability? You’ll see the difference in your paycheck

A lot of people might assume that if you have a disability, you might not make as much money as someone without a disability. But how much less? How hard is it for people with disabilities in Illinois to get by compared to their neighbors?

India: An unnamed special correspondent at The Hindu: Social barriers keep the disabled away from workforce:

Persons with disabilities are the last identity group to enter the workforce, not because their disability comes in the way of their functioning, but because of social and practical barriers that prevent them from joining work, a study on the ‘Employment Rights of Disabled Women in India’ carried out by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation of the National Commission for Women (NCW) has said.

Guillermo Contreras at Chron.com: State sued over care for disabled Texans

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in San Antonio, alleges the state isn’t providing some mentally and physically disabled Texans the opportunity to move into community-based settings, which advocates say are less restrictive and more rehabilitative than nursing homes.

Lastly, here’s a transcript of a story on Australia’s 7.30 Report program called Setting Sail:

Known as the ‘Everest of sailing’ the Sydney to Hobart race challenges the most seasoned of yachtsmen on what can be a treacherous ocean voyage.

Most of the focus is on the big maxi-yachts competing for line honours. But a unique crew of blind and deaf sailors is also commanding attention.

The charity organisation, Sailors With Disabilities, has been gifted a half-million dollar fast yacht, making them eligible for the first time in the prestigious Rolex Cup.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited. And have yourself a fabulous weekend.

Recommended Reading for Wednesday, September 29

Insomnia Anna says: “Yawn”

Raising My Boychick: On The Ubiquitous Use of “Crazy”

Now you’re just being melodramatic. Don’t you have bigger things to worry about?

Sure. I have mental health disparity because of racism and other bigotries, and exorbitant prices of prescription drugs, and insurance that won’t cover the medicines that work for me, and mental health wards closing, and overcrowding and dehumanizing protocols in the ones still open, and cops shooting people they know are unwell, and mental health used as an excuse to take away our kids, and a lack of effective treatments, and a terrifying mortality rate that people treat as a dishonoring failure in morality. I got lots of bigger stuff to worry about.

Where’s the Benefit: No Wonder People Think We’re All Scroungers

The coalition government’s attack on disabled people isn’t limited to reassessing benefits or encouraging members of the public to shop “scroungers”. Something rather more terrifying is going on: the government and associated entities are repeatedly, and persistently, describing Disability Living Allowance as an out-of-work benefit – which helps convince the general public that it’s a waste of “their” hard-earned tax.

As I wrote in this piece for Guardian Comment is Free, the government’s State of the Nation report offers a woefully misleading representation of the nature and purpose of DLA. “There is a high degree of persistence among claimants of many low-income and out-of-work benefits”, it says. “For example … around 2.2 million people, including 1.1 million people of working age, have been claiming disability living allowance for over five years”.

New Muslim Comic Book Superhero on the Way [Comments are horrible]

The new superhero is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Intiative, a non-profit organization founded by U.S. philanthropist and businessman Jay T. Snyder.
The superhero’s appearance hasn’t been finalized, but an early sketch shows a Muslim boy who lost his legs in a landmine accident and later becomes the Silver Scorpion after discovering he has the power to control metal with his mind.

Astrid’s Journal: Autism, Intellectual Disability, and the concept of Primary Disability

The other point I have huge disagreements with, is the excusing of the lack of attention for intellectually disabled autistics from autistic advocacy groups. This excusing comes from the reasoning that these groups are concerned with autism, not intellectual disability, but you cannot specialize multiple disabilities away. In my opinion, autistic advocacy groups should be concerned with all autistics, including those with multiple or severe disabilities.

Disability Now interview with Dan Daw of Restless Dance Company in Australia: Dancing Dan: The Wizard from Oz

What’s the best thing about being disabled?
Watching people’s faces as the cogs turn when I use the words “dance” and “disability” in the same sentence – priceless!

What funny things get said about your impairment?
My favourite is at airports when the metal detectors beep and they presumptively say, “Oh, you’ve got a metal hip”. “No”, I reply, “I’m wearing a belt”.

Marissa at This is Hysteria: Go Where? Gender, Ability, Intersectionality and Constructivism Please note this is an image-heavy post, and the disability-specific stuff starts about halfway down.

This flawed way of understanding identity – each deviation from the default seen as a discrete layer – is reflected in the washroom signs indicating wheelchair access. Often, there is a male figure, a female figure, and a third non-gendered figure in a wheelchair. Disability is depicted as a discrete aspect of identity, to be layered on top of gender.

Simon Darcy at Accessible Tourism Research: Inherent Complexity: Accessible Accommodation Room Components

Most research had identified the generalities of accessible accommodation requirements without having any specific empirical approach to understanding the needs from a mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive perspective. Each individual has their own access discourse where they value the relative importance of certain room components based on their individual access needs (e.g. many wheelchair users require a roll in shower & hand held shower hose Photo 1). While the overall building codes and access standards identify a myriad of components, the individual only understands at least complex technical documents from what they require in an accessible room (Australian Building Codes Board, 1990; Standards Australia, 1992, 2001, 2002). On the other hand, the accommodation manager manly as a understanding that their establishment has a “disabled room” that people with disability should be other stay in. Hence, once an individual hears that establishment has an accessible room they believe that it will meet their needs (Darcy, 2010).

In The News:

Canada: Dead Veteran’s Last Battle Was for Disability Cheque. “On Feb. 27, he died at the age of 93 in Barrie, Ont. Three weeks later, the $55,000 disability cheque he had been expecting arrived, becoming part of the assets in his small estate. That is, until officials with Veterans Affairs Canada ordered the money seized. Quick may have qualified for a disability but now that he was dead the government wanted its money back.”

UK: MSP Drops disabled clause from assisted suicide bill “Bill Scott, Policy Officer at the campaign group Inclusion Scotland, welcomed the decision, saying: ‘That clause was dangerous, particularly at a time of cutbacks, to say to people you can’t live independently but you can apply for state-assisted suicide as if it’s a way out.'”

Australia: Disabilities ‘forgotten’: opposition “Senator Fifield said more needed to be done to help people with disabilities because neither Labor nor the coalition had “covered themselves in glory” on the issue.”

Traveling While Disabled: One Size Fits All?

When it comes accessibility, where it exists, it seems that it often begins and ends with some accommodation for wheelchair users. And it seems, at least in my experience, that this is especially so in the case of the travel industry.

Several weeks ago, my air conditioning at home died and my house was hovering at a near constant 90°F and I just couldn’t take it any more, so I headed off to a hotel room for a weekend. While I was at the hotel, the fire alarm went off. (Actually, it went off five times, but that’s a story for another time.) As I opened the door of my room to evacuate, I was shocked by a bright flash of light coming out of the room across the hall. In my rush to get out of the building (which wasn’t on fire or anything like it) I didn’t think about the flash. It wasn’t until I returned that I realized what I’d seen.

My room was across the hall from the two wheelchair accessible rooms in this hotel, and that bright strobing light was the fire alert for the hearing impaired.

In a wheelchair accessible room.

I’m not sure if this particular hotel figures that wheelchair users are more likely to be deaf, or that deaf people are more likely to use wheelchairs.

It seems more likely that the choice was made based on the common misconception that “wheelchair users must have wheelchair accessible rooms, but anyone can use one” thus it’s no big deal for a non-wheelchair using deaf person to have to stay in that space. This is, of course, not true. The lack of tub, higher profile toilet and lower sink and bed each have implications for people for a variety of physical reasons.

And clearly they either haven’t realized or simply don’t care that if a deaf guest has to be in one of the two wheelchair accessible rooms in order to be safe in a fire, that means a wheelchair user can’t be accommodated at that hotel at all.

And so it goes. There was no signage for blind guests, except at and in the hotel’s elevator. There was no way for a blind guest to use the navigation signs to get to the elevator, nor to figure out which direction their room might be in once they were off of the elevator.

And what of guests who have mobility limitations but don’t use wheelchairs? This is my area of attention, because that’s me. In particular, I have arthritis and precarious balance, and the place where this becomes an issue most frequently the shower. Far too often, there is nothing to hold onto to climb in and out of the shower (which is odd considering that bathroom falls are so common and so dangerous) and inside the shower, there are slippery floors, sloped toward the drain. Showering in a hotel for me is often an exercise in holding onto the shower curtain rod and barely moving for fear of falling.

A walk-in shower without a tub would be ideal for me, but the tourist or business class of hotel where I tend to stay (not being made of cash) doesn’t seem to think that such a thing is needed. (Oddly, large walk-in showers are present often on concierge floors or in higher end hotels as a luxury item.) But at the same time, the other modifications which are made in bathrooms in wheelchair accessible rooms are a burden to me. I’m left with the choice: do I fight with the shower or with the toilet? How does a person decide that?

The travel website Expedia allows users to search for hotels which have certain “Accessibility Options” like roll-in showers (not “walk-in” which points toward a fully wheelchair accessible room), equipment for the deaf, braille signage or accessible bathrooms (which may or may not have roll in showers, I have no idea why they’re listed separately) though it only seems to provide hotels which have such things. There is no guarantee that the room that a person books will have the accessibility feature that they need. And far too often, I’ve found that hotels aren’t even able to be sure that they’re giving a guest a room with the number of beds that were requested, or a non-smoking room according to the reservation. I have a hard time trusting that making a reservation for a room with a visual fire alarm will always result in getting one at check-in.

The answer is always “call the hotel directly.” Which is great, if the traveler is able to use a phone.

I am just cynical enough to believe that for planners, architects and managers in the travel world, accessibility is an afterthought, and the bare minimum which meets legal requirements is all that is done. We as PWDs should be glad that there are wheelchair accessible rooms, and if they don’t fit our needs, we just have to make do. They’re ADA compliant, after all.

I’m entirely sure that they could do better. What I’m unsure of is how to make that happen. This seems like an area where the usual catch-22 applies: they don’t have enough PWD as guests for a broader range of accommodations to seem necessary, but they don’t have PWD as guests because there aren’t sufficient accommodations. And as usual, we’re the ones who pay.

Recommended Reading for 24 September, 2010: Travelling Edition

This edition, like the transportation edition earlier this month, was Anna’s idea!

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites  tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily  endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Disability News Asia: Tata Motors buses for Commonwealth Games in India will be disabled-friendly:

Tata Motors will deliver disabled-friendly vehicles to the Delhi Government for the Commonwealth Games this year.

“We have an extra order to make 400 buses for the Delhi Transport Corporation to be used during the Games, of which some will be disabled-friendly,” Mr Ravi Pisharody, President, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors told Business Line.

flightmapping.com: EasyJet face French probe over disability policy:

France’s Transport Minister, Dominique Bussereau, has asked the French civil aviation authority, DGAC, to investigate allegations that easyJet would not allow disabled passengers to fly without a travel companion.

CBC: OC Transpo unveils visual, audio alerts:

OC Transpo unveiled on Friday its new announcement system that will give riders both visual and audio alerts about upcoming stops.

The $12 million system will include an interior display showing the bus route number and each upcoming stop.

Leah Jane at The Quixotic Autistic: Travelling while Autistic:

I want to note something about travelling while autistic, especially across international borders. It is not easy. These days, flying is difficult enough for neurotypical travellers, but for those of us who are disabled, it takes on a whole new level of struggle, humiliation, and anxiety. My own experience is negligible, but others go through sheer terror in their effort to get from point A to point B.

Harriet Baskas at USA Today: Travelers with disabilities face obstacles at airports (really? really?):

[…]next month the Open Doors Organization (ODO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will host a conference about universal access in airports. On the agenda: tools, technology and training to help both airports and airlines do a better job of serving travelers with disabilities.

Lastly, a quote from Mhairi McGhee of the Haringey Disability First Consortium:

In a city like London, if you can’t get about easily, safely and cheaply, then no matter how many hearing loops, braille leaflets or ramps there are, you do not have real access to services.

That’s from Disabled ‘can’t use’ half of all bus stops in the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal, or, should I say, the ‘Hornsey’ and Crouch ‘End’ Journal.

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Recommended Reading for Friday, 21 May: Flying While Crip Edition

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

A grainy black and white photograph of an airplane over an airport.

Leaving…on a jet plane…if the airline will let you.

Photo by Flickr user Olastuen, Creative Commons License.

BBC News: Eastern Airways grounds Welsh wheelchair athlete

A wheelchair athlete heading for a race is angry he was stopped from boarding a flight on safety grounds.

Richie Powell, from Carmarthenshire, said Eastern Airways stopped him flying from Bristol to Aberdeen last Friday.

The airline said his booking had indicated he was able to climb the aircraft steps unaided and Mr Powell was refused boarding on safety grounds.

Alison Grant at Cleveland.com: Continental Airlines faces $100,000 fine for disability-rules violation

During a compliance inspection at Continental’s Houston headquarters, enforcement officers discovered that Continental had a policy of classifying disability complaints based on what the airline called the customer’s “point of passion.”

However, many of the complaints involved more than one disability-related issue, each of which is supposed to be individually tabulated. By recording just the significant issue in each situation, Continental “substantially underreported” its disability-related complaints, the Department of Transportation reported Monday.

News.com.au: Banning mentally ill passengers from flying ‘illegal, unworkable’

Yesterday, terrorism expert Clive Williams said that people with violent tendencies resulting from a mental illness were over-represented in domestic aviation problems. He suggested putting people who were regarded as mentally unstable on a watch list.

“I know that’s going to be a bit controversial but if aviation security is the key issue, then clearly we should be careful about who we allow to fly,” he told The Australian.

Insurance Journal: Injured Passenger Can Sue Airline for Negligence in State Court

The plaintiff in the suit, Joseph Elassaad, is a single-leg amputee who relies on crutches to walk. His suit against Independence Air stems from a 2004 incident in which Elassaad fell down a flight of stairs while attempting to disembark from an aircraft that had flown him from Boston to Philadelphia.

The fall injured Elassaad’s shoulder, tearing his cartilage and requiring surgery. He sued in state court, alleging that the airline failed to provide him with a wheelchair or another means of exiting the plane.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Jetstar Airways Accused of Mis-Treating a Handicapped Passenger…again

Jude Lee is disabled, needing a wheelchair, and last August wanted to fly from Darwin to Melbourne on Jetstar. The airplane was not at a jetway and an airline employee informed him the lift was broken. Lee claims he was treated like “troublesome baggage” as a male employee carried him onto the aircraft.

Then January of this year Lee was looking to fly from Singapore to Darwin. He was checked in and waiting at the gate to board, when he was told the airline did not have an aisle wheel chair. Again, to be able to fly he had to be carried onto the plane by hand.

Previously linked, but highly relevant:

evilpuppy at Incoherent Ramblings from a Coffee Addict: “I Have Always Depended On The Kindness Of Strangers…”

I recently had the misfortune of booking a flight on your airline. Flight 844 to fly from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California from 11:51am-2pm on April 5, 2010. I say misfortune because the events of that flight have left such a poor taste in my mouth and horrible feelings in regards to the personnel working for you that I highly doubt myself or any of my friends, family, and acquaintances will every use your airlines again.

(And an update, ‘The United Saga Continues.’)

Edmonton Journal: Airline apologizes for forgetting blind teen

The 18-year-old was waiting for flight attendants to escort her to a connecting flight to Florida when she heard the plane door seal shut. Ten minutes later two maintenance staff happened to find her on an unscheduled check of the plane.