ACI-ODO Workshop A Hit, Southwest Hospitality Summit, Airline Web Reviews, Chicago ADA Celebrations, Israel Access Guide and more!

July 2016 News

The response to my Huffington Post article about the Girl Scouts and ending use of the word "retarded" really stirred up some excitement. Not only did the Girl Scouts of America get the press they deserved, but I also received interesting reactions by email. Some of the parents I heard from took credit for helping to end use of the word while others were amazed that the children had no idea what the word meant. One mother said that she used to call "everyone and everything retarded and never actual knew what it meant." Another said, "It reminds me of the old song, Short People, by Randy Newman. What would my kids think of that?" Good question, I hope she writes me back!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

ACI-ODO Workshop A Hit
ODO's first classroom training for Airports Council International, "Accommodating Passengers with Disabilities," took place on July 22-24 at San Francisco International Airport. Speakers included Laurel Van Horn and Craig Kennedy from ODO, Jonathan Klein and Elisha Lujeho from Federal Aviation Administration and Jorge Garcia from SFO. The 11 attendees represented six airports: Atlanta-ATL, Baltimore-BMI, Minneapolis-St. Paul-MSP, Reno-Tahoe-RNO, Sacramento-SMF and SFO. Although billed as introductory, the workshop drew mainly experts, making group discussions on service animal relief areas, common use kiosks and other hot topics especially informative. Another highlight was the walking tour of  SFO's Terminal 2. In 2016 ACI and ODO plan to offer two such workshops at other airports nationwide. Special thanks to all participants for making this first event a success! (Shown above: Jorge Garcia-SFO, Paul Gann-SFO, Heather Leide-MSP, Neal Heaton-BMI, Chris Martin-SMF, Steve Mayers-ATL, Ted Ohm-RNO and Raymond Fisher-Travis, SFO).

Celebrating the ADA Chicago-Style
ODO was front and center this July as Chicago celebrated the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to participating in the Access Chicago expo at Navy Pier and the Disability Pride Parade, we hosted the ODO Z Life Beyond the Waters Beach Party on Sunday, July 24.. Now in its 8th year, the Beach Party drew 500 people of all ages, with and without disabilities. The 5-hour event featured adaptive kayaks and handcycling courtesy of Adaptive Adventures, live and DJ music by MDWSSD and plenty of BBQ from the Z Kitchen. United Airlines provided all the drinks and volunteers to serve throughout the day. Last but not least, the Chicago Park District made the beach accessible for all the wheelchair users. Definitely fun for all! See more great photos on Facebook.
Southwest Airlines Hospitality Summit
On July 22 Candace Cable represented ODO at the Southwest Hospitality Summit in Las Vegas, the second of four such events to be held this year. The important topic of how to improve customer service for passengers with disabilities had also been addressed by Eric Lipp at the previous summit. Attending the day-long event were 200 Southwest agents, managers, directors and VP's. Other topics on the agenda included brand management, best practices in customer service and top complaints. 

Airline Web Accessibility

A review of six airline websites serving the US market has found that none yet meets new DOT Air Carrier Access Access (ACAA) requirements. Of the six carrier websites analyzed by UserVision, Latam ranked highest, followed by Ethiopian, Norwegian, Qantas, Delta and Singapore. Read detailed reviews.

Digital Access Guide--Israel

Access Unlimited has a new, bilingual (English and Hebrew) web portal with detailed information on accessible tours and attractions in Israel. This digital version of their print guide, published in 2003 by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, will be continually updated and expanded. The sites are graded by level of accessibility and include information for individuals with physical and sensory disabilities. Contact Access Unlimited.

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CRO Training

ODO offers Initial 
Complaints Resolution Official Training
 at airports nationwide as well as overseas. Email Katy Rosseland or call 773.388.8839 to schedule a class.
For CRO Refresh, visit ODO Academy or email Eddie Ragauskas.
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