Excuse our tardiness, our newsletter author resides in NYC
Open Doors Organization

October 2012 News

October has been a highly dynamic month for ODO and especially our New York office which remains without phone, cell service and electric power, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. So we're publishing a few days late but with lots to report. Both Universal Access in Airports and the 2012 Airline Symposium were a huge success and had record attendance. In Seattle we announced our new Aviation Access Certification Program that will provide training developed by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. Gateway Group One has already signed on with training to begin in January 2013.  For bus travelers, it's also a landmark month. On large carriers like Greyhound, service is now 100% accessible!  And growing demand for our ADA motorcoach training shows the industry is finally paying attention to our needs and our business.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

UAIA 2012, The Best So Far!

The 4th Biennial Universal Access in Airports, which took place Oct. 16-18 in Seattle, had record attendance and strong educational content from start to finish. Heartfelt thanks go out to our many sponsors, panelists and delegates. Highlights included an impassioned opening speech by Brad Tilden, the new CEO of Alaska Airlines, and a panel of frequent flyers with disabilities sharing their experiences and preferences.
UAIA 2012 Program

2012 DAPA Award

Ray Prentice, Director of Advocacy at Alaska Airlines, is the recipient of ODO’s Disability Access Professionals Award, presented at UAIA 2012 by executive director Eric Lipp. The tribute is given in recognition of Ray’s “decades of advocacy for people with disabilities in air travel and his invaluable contributions on ODO’s Advisory Board.” Congratulations, Ray!

ODO 2012 Airline Symposium

This year's Airline Symposium was hosted by Boeing at their Customer Experience Center on Oct. 16.
54 representatives from 12 airlines were in attendance including 2 foreign carriers: Aeromexico and Qatar. Executive director Eric Lipp described ODO initiatives to reduce damage to wheelchairs and unveiled the new belt loader device he helped to design. The group discussed recent customer service issues brought to ODO's attention and how to resolve them. 
A final highlight was a tour of the Center's mockups of the Boeing 787, 777 and 737 interiors.

ADA Motorcoach Training

Next Group Trainings
Orlando, FL, Nov. 30, 9am – 5pm
Holiday Inn Main Gate East
FL Motorcoach Assn.
Contact Linda Morris

Memphis, TN, Dec. 3
Nashville, TN, Dec. 4
Knoxville, TN, Dec.10
9am – 5pm
TN Motor Coach Assn.
Contact Deborah Neese.

Atlanta, GA, December 17, 10am – 6pm
Stone Mountain Park
Sponsored by Georgia Motor Coach Association
Contact Linda Morris

New ODO Aviation Certification Program

Beginning in early 2013, Open Doors Organization will offer a new and unique Aviation Access Certification Program designed to improve quality and standardize service by airline wheelchair service employees nationwide. Eric Lipp, ODO Executive Director, announced the new program on October 17 at the 2012 Universal Access in Airports conference in Seattle. Press Release

Gateway First To Sign On!

Gateway Group One, a leading airline passenger service company, is the first in the nation to collaborate in ODO’s new Aviation Access Certification Program. Training by Open Doors Organization will begin in January 2013 for Gateway Group One, which will then roll out the program to the company’s wheelchair service employees across the country. Over 1500 employees are expected to enroll and become Certified Access Providers in 2013.  Press Release

ADA Deadline Finally Here!

On Oct. 29, 2012, large, fixed-route motorcoach operators must be 100% accessible. This means that customers who need a lift or ramp will no longer have to provide 48-hour advance notice. More than 30 companies in the US qualify as large carriers with annual revenues of $9.3 million or more including Greyhound, Megabus, Coach USA and Peter Pan. But travelers beware! If the trip involves interlining with a small carrier, advance notice is still necessary. How will consumers know if companies are large or small? The DOT plans to issue additional guidance and regulations shortly.

Accessible Travel & Tourism

Know someone with a disability who needs to learn more about traveling with one? Odds are good you do - send them to our Travel Tips page for tips on topics like: Planning An Accessible Vacation, Accessible Recreation, Access Guides, Booking Accessible Hotels, Planning An Accessible Cruise and more.
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Nov 1 Open Doors Org in NY still closed! Laurel is safe with no power, call our Chicago office if you need assistance from ODO in NYC!!!

31 Oct The eliminating barriers Daily is out!
30 Oct Helping an autistic child cope with air travel
30 Oct We've got lots of upcoming ADA Motorcoach trainings. Sign up today! Orlando, FL, November 30 Sponsored by...
25 Oct Welcome US Travel and ttra to Chicago. Currently sitting in on Lodging forecast occupancy up 6%. STR says demand is huge right now!! ...
22 Oct Thousands of people require accessible changing rooms while traveling in airports because accessible stalls alone...

19 Oct I posted 40 photos on Facebook in the album "2012 Airline Symposium & Universal Access in Airports Conference"

18 Oct  Ray Prentice accepts our Disability Access Professionals Award for his outstanding work providing excellent...
17 Oct UAIA is going great so far! Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines moved the crowd with his personal story.
16 Oct  ODO is hosting dozens of carriers RIGHT now at Boeing We welcome especially Qatar Airways! The session is amazing we will have accessib ...

10 Oct  ODO consultant Pat Pound is working with U. of Texas School of Nursing on how people who are blind or low vision...
9 Oct Eric weighs in on required pool lifts in this Memphis newspaper.
8 Oct Laurel toured in Curacao w a local tour operator w a disability. Joseph Cares provides accessible transportation...
8 Oct Laurel toured in Curacao w a local tour operator w a disability. Joseph Cares provides accessible transportation & holidays on the island!
4 Oct Accessible attractions in Curacao: Pelican Boat Trips () has an accessible pontoon boat. Great for kids in wheelchairs!
3 Oct FCCA today: Laurel's on a panel for "Special Needs Travelers" with reps from Carnival & Norwegian, Special Needs Group & Suburban Transport.
2 Oct Laurel's at the Florida Caribbean Cruise Assoc. Conference in Curacao. Look for upcoming tips on accessibility on the island!

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...

Remaining 2012 CRO Trainings:

Los Angeles: 12/05-06

Stay tuned for 2013 training announcements in our next newsletter

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