Open Doors Organization

December 2012 News

This holiday season ODO will celebrate its 12th year in public service. Many said it could not be done and many said we were crazy to try and everyone said I was crazy to quit my job, but here we are and we have now been able to penetrate the world. In fact your donations last year touched over 7 people for every dollar, pound or euro you donated. Not only do we touch millions yearly, we do so on a level that has a global reach. This year we continue to need your support and now more then ever we need to prove that accessible travel is real and needs to be addressed. The population continues to age and to make great changes we need 3-5 years to get them implemented, so it’s important to start now! And starting now begins with your donation this holiday season. So if it is $1 or $1,000, your donation will count and you can be confident in your contribution. May you, your family and friends have a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

Our Year in Review

It's been another great year for ODO. This issue reviews our top accomplishments in 2012, from new programs to the continuing success of earlier initiatives. All of our supporters, in the general public and in travel and tourism, share credit for what we've achieved this year.  Let's make 2013 even greater!
--Laurel Van Horn, Editor

UAIA and
2012 Airline Symposium

The 4th Biennial Universal Access in Airports, held in Seattle on Oct. 16-18, was our largest ever and, judging by delegate feedback, the best so far. ODO’s 8th Airline Symposium, hosted by Boeing at their Customer Experience Center, also had record attendance. Both events foster the spread of best practices and improve accessibility for air travelers with disabilities in the US and abroad.

ADA Bus Training

This new program, launched in January 2012, continues to grow in popularity. Classes have been held in 8 states--FL, GA, IL, MD, NY, NC, TN and WI—for over 500 owners, managers and employees from 122 motorcoach companies. Special thanks go to the state bus associations that sponsored trainings and to United Motorcoach Association (UMA) for their ongoing support. 2013 Training Schedule. (Photo: l. to r.: Ken Presley, UMA; Laurel Van Horn and Godfrey LeBron, ODO)

Cruise Ship Safety Videos

Safety aboard cruise ships came under closer scrutiny this year following the Costa Concordia accident. By coincidence the two new safety videos created by ODO for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. were released that week. One focuses on emergency evacuation of passengers using wheelchairs, the other on safe techniques for assisting passengers with disabilities on ship gangways. These videos are now used for training onboard Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

ODO In Print

A chapter on ODO’s Market Studies was published in 2012 in Best Practice in Accessible Tourism, edited by Dimitrios Buhalis, Simon Darcy and Ivor Ambrose.  The ODO Studies will soon be featured as well in the UN World Tourism Organization’s Manual of Good Practices in Accessible Tourism, due out in 2013.

Ramp Crew Workshops - US and UK

This popular program, cosponsored by Global Repair Group, had another banner year with trainings in multiple cities for American, United and US Airways. In 2012 these workshops also went international.  Prior to the Olympics and Paralympics, ODO director Eric Lipp (shown above) conducted trainings at London’s Heathrow for ground handling firms representing 92 airlines.

Onsite Repair At Heathrow

Thanks to ODO’s close working relationship with the British Aviation Authority, our partner company Global Repair Group in 2012 was able to open the first-ever wheelchair repair service at a major airport. During the Paralympics, loaner wheelchairs and scooters were stocked at Heathrow. In some cases, repairs were complete before passengers even exited baggage claim. Wow!

ODO Belt Loader Device

In 2012 ODO for the first time began creating and marketing hardware designed to reduce damage to mobility devices during air travel. Our new belt loader device enables wheelchairs and scooters to move securely to the cargo bay without personnel holding or riding up the belt with them. The new device was unveiled at the 2012 Airline Symposium and several carriers have already placed orders.

New Aviation Certification Program

ODO's new training program for airline service companies is not set to launch until Feb. 2013 but a major company, Gateway Group One, already signed on in October 2012 and plans to certify over 1500 employees next year. Press Release.

Spreading The Word

Raising awareness through speaking engagements remains a vital part of ODO’s mission. This year ODO staff members gave presentations for Airports Council International, American Association of Airport Executives, C-Sun Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, Federal Aviation Administration, Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, Lighthouse for the Blind, National ADA Symposium, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Transportation Safety Administration and Wounded Warriors, among others. (Photo: Brittany Stern)
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21 Dec  ODO will be closed through Jan. 1st. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday and look forward to doing more great work in 2013!

19 Dec  Virtuoso Luxe Report's top trend for this year? Increased multigenerational trips (aka more older adults looking for travel accommodations).
17 Dec  Laurel & Godfrey's ADA Motorcoach training in Georgia has 89 attendees from VA, GA,TX, and TN!
16 Dec  Indoor map tech poses challenges, opportunities
14 Dec  Eric did 2 great webinars with TSA. Thx TSA for taking such an active role in ensuring that people with disabilities are treated right!
14 Dec  Unfortunate situation in Tampa Eric will address
14 Dec  Eric doing a training webinar for TSA congrats to TSA for disability outreach.
 12 Dec  Eric Gus and Dee taking off now on 787 Dreamliner! United always up for positive change.
10 Dec  Getting ready to board Dreamliner with new Staxi aisle chair! @ Houston with United
10 Dec  Laurel and Godfrey trained 100 people at an ADA Motorcoach class in Knoxville, with attendees from VA, KY, and TN!
7 Dec  Gus & Eric r heading 2 Houston on new United 787 Monday will post thoughts on plane!
5 Dec  MSP Airport introduced indoor animal relief areas! Find Info Desk in Concourse E to access or check out for more info.
4 Dec  Laurel & Godfrey training motorcoach companies on ADA, today in Nashville. Operators from three states: Tennessee, Kentucky, & Ohio!
3 Dec  Laurel and Godfrey had an ADA Motorcoach Training in Memphis today with a record 84 participants! Call us today to get trained!

1 Dec  November News from ODO, We've Been Busy!

New Animal Relief Area - MSP

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport now has an animal relief area inside the secure area of Terminal 1-Lindbergh, adjacent to Concourse E. According to Steve Wareham, Director of Operations, the inspiration for this new, convenient facility came from the Customer Feedback Panel at UAIA 2012 and comments made by Christina Buckley, an ODO Consultant who uses a dog guide. Learn more.
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...

2013 CRO Trainings:

Los Angeles: Jan., Dates TBA shortly.  Call 773-388-8839 for details.

Stay tuned for 2013 training announcements in our next newsletter

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