Open Doors Organization

February 2012 News

 As many would attest, this has been the best winter ever in Chicago. As I write, it stands over 50 degrees here in February. This month we’ve announced our 4th Universal Access in Airports and we're very excited about its prospects! Also this month the DOT again flexed its muscle and made it clear that they will be auditing everyone’s written ACAA complaints at some point. As spring arrives and travel season begins, we hope that hotels, motels, resorts and other lodging facilities will embrace the 2010 ADA Title III regulation changes and seek our advice and assistance. ODO will be attending many trade shows and conferences this year so be sure to check our schedule online and reach out to us when we are in your area.  We also want to wish Jerri Voda, our administrative coordinator, a speedy recovery. We’re all with ya, Jerri!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

Universal Access in Airports 2012

October 16-18, 2012
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport

Universal Access in Airports (UAIA) provides a unique opportunity for dialogue among the various stakeholders in the aviation industry. This two-day conference, held biennially by Open Doors Organization since 2006, offers an open exchange of ideas and best practice solutions on customer service and accessibility for air travelers with disabilities and the mature.

TO REGISTER, download the Flyer/Registration form and email to:

A 2012 Preliminary Agenda will be posted in March.

To learn more about the topics addressed at UAIA and the speakers and sponsors who participate:
Universal Access in Airports 2010 Agenda
pdf msdoc

FAA Goes Mobile!

On January 20th, 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration launched its new mobile website, FAA Mobile 1.0 for mobile phones on iOS 4 and Android 2.2 platforms and higher.  This is not an application to download, simply plug into your smartphone's browser. This is a great way to have FAA information at your fingertips while you travel--read news, look up N-numbers, see airline statuses and delays, and more with this new tool.

New DOT Enforcements

Two air carriers--Spirit and Allegiant--have already fallen afoul of Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulations in 2012.   In a consent order served Jan. 27, the DOT fined Spirit Airlines $100,000 for failure to properly count and respond in a dispositive manner to written disability-related complaints. $50,000 will be waived if the carrier commits no further such violations for a year.

On. Feb. 15 Allegiant Air was assessed an identical penalty. Allegiant not only failed to properly count its written disability-related complaints in 2009 and 2010 but also responded to some by telephone rather than in writing. In addition, Allegiant violated the new DOT fare advertising rule by offering free fares without stating on the same web page that fees and taxes also applied.

For these consent orders, see, docket DOT-OST-2012-0002. 

New ADA Motorcoach Training Program

Open Doors Organization, in cooperation with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), has launched a new training program for intercity and charter/tour bus operators.  The first all-day training was held on January 30 in Platteville, WI, with 39 employees from 7 regional bus companies in attendance. 

Conducting the lively session were Laurel Van Horn, ODO Director of Programs, and Godfrey LeBron, UMA board member and VP Paradise Travel.  In addition to a disability awareness module, the new program addresses customer service and ADA reponsibilities of drivers, sales staff and administrators.  For details and pricing, email

Post-Security Animal Relief Areas at IAD

Dulles International Airport (IAD) has now done what many have argued is not feasible: install animal relief areas inside their terminals.  The two new relief areas are wheelchair accessible and feature artificial grass, a fake fire hydrant, waste bags and drainage and ventilation systems.  Locations of IAD's 2 indoor and 3 outdoor animal relief areas are posted on their website.

Govt. Affairs - Dr. Grover Evans

DBTACs: A Great Resource—Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs), funded by the government, provide information, materials, technical assistance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To reach the DBTAC for your region, just call toll-free 800-949-4232 (V/TT).

I’d like you to be aware of a webinar series now being hosted by the ADA National Network that focuses on changes to Title III ADA regulations and standards that come fully into effect this March 15th. The 6-week series, geared primarily toward hotels and lodging facilities, is already underway. Registration is still open and materials from past weeks are archived. The series features experts such as architect John Salmen.  For information and registration.
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Last month on Twitter

Our friend Scott and other children with Centronuclear (Myotubular) Diseases are being highlighted in an airport...
OpenDoorsOrg 11:11am via Facebook

Open Doors Org conducts FIRST over-road bus ADA training this week. FIRST bus training of its kind. Call 4 more details
Jan 30, 6:32am via txt

Jerri and Eric thank Mexico's gem Interjet. People with disabilities can count on Interjet!!
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 25, 4:07pm via txt

Great tool! FAA goes mobile for ios4 and Android2.2 :
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 23, 2:51pm via HootSuite

COOL! RT @LondonAccessApp: New App coming soon! Unlocking London for you! What ever your ability or needs!
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 20, 9:02am via HootSuite 1 retweets

ODO Jan2012 News - Accomplishments, Web Access, TSA Cares, Motorcoaches and more! -
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 18, 1:59pm via MailChimp

In LA all week training US Airways on stowing wheelchairs without damage! Flying with those we trust makes all the difference!
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 10, 12:20pm via HootSuite

New Technology Patent Hints at Further Accessibility Efforts by Apple Inc. #apple #accessibility
OpenDoorsOrg Jan 03, 12:10pm via HootSuite 1 retweets

Open Doors Organization (ODO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois was founded in 2000 for the purpose of creating a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. We aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.  more...


New York: 1/17-18
Chicago: 1/25-26
London: 2/08-09
Los Angeles: 3/14-15
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