AirTran Fined $500k for Disability Violations

September 3, 2010

AirTran has been hit with a half-million dollar fine for violating U.S. Department of Transportation rules designed to assist air travelers who have a disability.   According to a DOT news release, the airline may choose to use $200,000 of the $500,000 fine to “improve service to disabled travelers beyond what is required by law.”

DOT’s news release doesn’t cite specific examples of these violations but its investigation revealed a “number of violations” of the requirement that airlines help disabled travelers, with wheelchairs, lifts, etc., when boarding aircraft.  The release also reports that AirTran’s “complaint files showed that it frequently did not provide an adequate written response to complaints from passengers.  AirTran also failed to properly categorize disability complaints in reports filed with the Department.”

There is no mention of the fine on AirTran’s web site.


Travelgimp = Travels With Eddie

August 29, 2010

A new name and a new start.   A re-invigorated blog focusing on traveling with a handicap is in the works.  New adventures are about to be added to the few that were written in 2008 and I hope that you’ll add some of our own.

As they say….watch this space!


Nationals Park on a Scooter

August 13, 2008

What a great night at the ballpark last night!  Even though the Nats lost to the Mets 4-3, (on a bogus hit-by-pitch call that walked in the winning run), the trip was a total success.

Since it was my first trip to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.  I drove my trusty Pride Sonic there, rather than taking it on Metro, though a Metro stop is only a couple of blocks away.  Parking Lot E, where handicapped spots are provided, is right across the street from the stadium.  You can buy a parking ticket on-line at http://www.nationals.mlb.com, show it and your handicapped hang-tag or plate to the attendant, and you’re in.  (It ain’t cheap, though, $35.  Then, again, the beers are $7.50, so it’s all relative).

I stopped at a vendor outside the stadium for a Nats cap, ($10 outside but $15 inside), and scooted over to the elevator at the 3rd base side entrance.  (There’s also an elevator on the 1st base side).  Nicely done curb cuts and ramps inside the stadium make this all easy.

There are handicapped areas behind most seating sections, with fixed and folding chairs plus places for scooters.  Each space is assigned, so you need to either buy a ticket for the handicapped section or trade a regular seat ticket for a handicapped seat.  Two of the H/C sections, by the way, are field-level, just past first base and third base.  You get a better, overall view from above, but you can’t beat the up-close-and-personal field-level sections.  I sat at field level in front of section 113.

The stadium staff couldn’t be friendlier and the atmosphere and views at the stadium, of the Capitol and the Anacostia River, can’t be beat.

I went as the guest of a friend, so I don’t know from experience, but I’ve been told that seats in the h/c areas are a few bucks less expensive than the regular seats…which range in price from $58 to $5. You can almost always get a good seat, even behind home plate, in the h/c area.  (And if you go to the h/c area on the third base side tell Paul, the usher, that Ed sent you).


Discounts for gimps on D.C. Metro

July 26, 2008

It’s not well known, but the Washington, D.C. Metro system offers discount fare cards for folks with disabilities.. It’s not an easy card to get, however. You need to have your doc fill out an application that asks several questions relating to your ability to get around. Then, you need to appear, in person, to get a picture taken for a photo ID. The card needs to be renewed every 3 years.


On Amtrak's Acela

July 26, 2008

I traveled from Washington, DC to NYC and back on Amtrak’s Acela in June.

It was a little bit of a haul for me, walking with my cane from the cab at the front of Union Station to the Customer Service office, where I asked for a wheel chair. I’d called in advance, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Anyway, before too long a Red Cap with a chair did appear and took me right to the train. I discovered that each car has a single seat at each end that’s supposed to be reserved for handicapped travelers. I think I even could have taken my scooter with me. There was room for it in front of that seat and I was told that they would put down a ramp to allow me to ride it over the gap between the platform and the train.

At the the NYC end they, again, weren’t quite ready for me, but after waiting about 5 minutes on the platform a Red Cap with a chair appeared to take me up an elevator and to the cab line.

Returning a few days later it took 20 minutes of waiting, and 3 calls on the phone at the Red Cap stand on the 31 St. side of Penn Station to get someone with a chair. Once he appeared, however, it was smooth riding down to the train and from the train to the cab line at the DC end.


Traveling with a handicap.

July 26, 2008

I tell people that “I’m slow, but I usually get where I’m going. ”

I have M.S., which makes traveling a bit of a challenge. Wheelchairs in airports…using a scooter to get around if a have to “walk” more than a couple of blocks, etc. But I regularly travel for business and pleasure, mostly in the U.S. but sometimes internationally, and want to share what I’ve found with fellow gimpy travelers…hoping you’ll do the same.

I’ll also be on the lookout for news stories about people with handicaps, (a word I prefer to “disablities,” new items to help with our travels, and other things of mutual interest. So, stay tuned (or logged-in).