Let's face it, because of weather-related delays, long security lines and crowded planes, traveling during the holidays is a hectic time. Offering designated security lines for families is an improvement. As a person who has baby-sat, I know that a stroller or a car seat are necessary objects to have for babies and for young children; when accompanying children on a trip, there is no such thing as traveling light.
The needs of other passengers who routinely need help have often been overlooked. Shouldn't there be security lines for all physically disabled passengers as well? People needing wheelchairs are routinely accomodated, but other disabilities are not acknowledged at airports and train stations. Other than braille signs at elevators, I am not aware of accomodations for blind and deaf passengers.
For instance, the safety films do not have any one signing the message in case there are deaf passengers traveling on the plane. Other less obvious disabilities are not also not attended to at airports and train stations. Why should this be? After a recent trip to four Northeastern cities a few weeks ago, I was very aware of the obstacles in the way of a passenger with a physical disability while taking public transportation.
Neither the planes nor trains offer much in accommodating people with disabilities other than the obvious ones. With the exception of American Airlines, the planes that are flown on long trips these days are smaller than in the past. This is the case even on the major routes. They have narrow aisles, which limit how much passengers can stand and stretch during the flight, and the seat designs do not offer enough space for passengers to fit most luggage under their seats, let alone have adequate leg room.
Flight attendants most of the time couldn't be relied upon to provide assistance in placing my bags in the overhead bin, which I was not able to reach because of my disability's limitations. The fact that planes didn't have enough space for me to put my bag under the seat made my bag inaccessible while in flight.
When traveling on Amtrak trains, I found it difficult to take two rollaway bags onto the train, because frequently there was an open gap between the platform and the train or there was a narrow staircase that passengers had to climb in order to board the train. I almost fell a few times negotiating lifting two bags and hoping over the gap or climbing the stairs. (Before you tell me to learn how to pack more lightly, this was a long trip involving business, and I needed two bags, one carry-on to hold my books, medications, laptop and other electronic equipment, and another for my wardrobe). Just like families with young children, disabled passengers need to move safely at their own pace as well.
I know that the airlines and Amtrak are in dire need of revenue, but making accommodations for those who are afflicted with "invisible disabilities" might attract more customers from this growing community.
Causes Tennessee Reed Supports
green and safe environment, anti-war, equal educational opportunities for all children, affordable health care for everyone, equal pay for equal work,...