New Access Guides and ODO Project and Meeting News

May 2015 News

How well do you really understand disability? Are you able to spend the day in a wheelchair and understand how someone's life is impacted by paraplegia. Better yet, have you ever used a power chair for years without being able to move your arms or legs? Can you close your eyes, walk into your own home and find the bathroom from your front door? How many times have you had to plan your day around your bowel or bladder program? Have you helped a friend or family member who is temporarily set back by a broken limb? Do you think you could provide that type of help all day, every day? What would you do if you were unable to regulate your body temperature? What if there was an emergency and you could only see people running in a panic but could hear nothing? There's no way to experience all of these things and, believe me, you don't want to, but this summer close your eyes and your bias and just imagine for a second how the sun can feel different to everyone.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

United Airlines' Awareness Training at ORD

United Airlines regularly holds disability awareness trainings that feature members of its Customers with Disabilities Advisory Board. Speaking at the latest event, held May 7 at Chicago O'Hare, were Pat Pound, Dee Hepperly, Eric Lipp and Candace Cable, shown above (l. to r.) with Rosalie Crabbe, Manager of Accessibility Programs/Industry Affairs(far left). The four sessions allowed ample time for Q&A so board members could address the specific concerns of United employees and service providers. 

ODO Addresses Meeting on Accessible Kiosks

On May 6, Airlines for America (A4A) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) invited Open Doors Organizaiton to provide input on how best to comply with the new accessible kiosk mandate from the Dept. of Transportation. The multi-day discussion, held at United Headquarters in Chicago, drew more than 30 representatives from US and foreign airlines, US airports, kiosk manufacturers and software providers. Participating from ODO were Eric Lipp, Laurel Van Horn, Pat Pound and Constantine Zografopoulos. For additional information, contact Doug Mullen, Airlines for America.

ATTRI Workshop in DC

The culminating event in the ATTRI Smart Technologies and User Needs project took place in Washington, DC, on April 30. The all-day workshop drew 100 persons with disabilities, older adults and veterans/wounded warriors and their advocates. Among the presenters was ODO director Eric Lipp. ATTRI is a Dept. of Transportation (DOT) initative co-led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that focuses on identifying, developing and deploying transformative technologies, applications and systems that address mobility challenges of people with disabilities. A report on findings from the project's three webinars and workshop will be available shortly online. For additional information, contact Charlene Wilder at DOT.

Virgin America Hosts ODO Stowage Training at LAX

On May 14-15, Open Doors Organization, in conjunction with Global Repair Group (GRG), offered five training sessions at Los Angeles International Airport for Virgin America guest service leaders, ramp leaders, operations directors and several service companies. The hands-on trainings were led by ODO director Eric Lipp and trainer Candace Cable, shown above with Michael Bliwas (left), president, GRG, and two ramp agents. By sessions’ end, attendees remarked that now they have the self-assurance and knowledge to correctly handle and store wheelchairs and scooters with the care one would give the passengers themselves.

Virgin America Committee Meets in Las Vegas

The Virgin America Disability Advisory Committee, now in its third year, is made up of individuals with a variety of disabilities who are also frequent fliers. At the meeting in Las Vegas on May 12-13, members including ODO's Eric Lipp and Candace Cable critiqued the airline's new website, discussed how to resolve recent complaints and audited facilities at McCarran International Airport. One exciting piece of news: Virgin America will soon have AirBus 320s with accessible lavatories.

Upcoming Rulemakings

Curious to know what significant disability-related rulemakings are in the works at the Dept. of Transportation?  The DOT publishes a monthly report online that describes each and gives a projected publication date.. All modes of transportation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Air Carrier Access Act are included.

New US Guide

Candy Harrington's latest book on unique accessible lodgings represents two decades of research. Resting Easy in the US includes access details and photographs on 90 properties from B&Bs, guest ranches and rustic cabins to boutique hotels and even deluxe yurts. In short, something for everyone with reduced mobility who would prefer not to stay in a chain hotel. Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and other accessible travel books.

Accessible Amsterdam

A new access guide for Amsterdam is available online from Accessible Travel Netherlands. It provides 5 mapped routes through different neighborhoods with details on accessible restaurants, museums and attractions along the way. The guide also provides information on accessible transport options and shopping streets.  It is meant for wheelers and slow walkers of all ages including families with children.  In Amsterdam a free print copy can be picked up at Starbikes which also rents adapted bikes and wheelchairs. 

2015 CRO Classes

ODO offers Initial Complaints Resolution Official Training in major cities nationwide as well as overseas. Call 773.388.8839 or email Eric Lipp for details.
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