The Pinnacles at Phillip Island, Australia

The Pinnacles at Phillip Island, Australia
Photo by: Timo Balk (Stock Exchange)

Welcome back to Disabled Travelers!

On today’s blog we’ll take a look at the latest news around the world for handicapped travelers.

There are quite a few stories of interest this month, some of them good news, some not-so-good, but all worthy of note.

And it’s my job to rustle them all up and showcase them all in one place, so let’s take a peek at what May has in store for us.

The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler series is always worth a look, but they just posted a great article for wheelchair travelers: Q&A With Matt Getze, Wheelchair Adventurer. Matt is a truly amazing guy; a world traveler confined to a wheelchair since contracting polio early in life. During his trips around the world, he’s tackled destinations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, including places most wouldn’t associate with accessibility: Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia among them. The interview is great, and it includes some top tips for issues important to every traveler with a disability, like finding accessible hotels, dealing with airlines, and staying budget-friendly.

A storm may be brewing for Jetstar, a local airline operating in Australia. The low-cost carrier (think of JetBlue or Ryanair for comparison) is the subject of a lawsuit by wheelchair-bound lawyer Jude Lee, whose complaint alleges that he was “made to feel like troublesome baggage” as a Jetstar passenger, encountering delays and being barred from flights due to circumstances surrounding his disability.

Australia has well-known issues with accessibility, which it’s addressed in recent years with a major plan to ensure improved access for new construction; but with more and more people becoming conscious of basic rights of access, this could be a blow. The case is in its early stages, and a resolution could be many months away. We’ll be watching this one closely as it unfolds.

Also picking up on the story is the Sydney Morning Herald, which chimed in with an article calling on the nation to ease the pain of air travel for the disabled. It highlights some of the recent problems and legal wrangling over accessibility in the country, but also has a hopeful note, drawing comparisons with U.S. standards and calling on the government to prioritize the changes Australia needs. Hopefully, the members of parliament all picked up a copy of the Herald that day! The sooner we can all enjoy Australia, the better.

In “by Jove, I think they’ve got it” news, the industry website Travel Agent Central reports Disabled Travel Market Offers Opportunity. You might think there’s nothing new here for us Disabled Travelers, but it’s actually a very interesting take. Aside from the statistics and facts on the ever-growing market for handicapped travelers, there’s also a lot of intriguing “incidental” info, like the number of complaints related to access issues that the Department of Transportation has fielded lately. Members of the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality, a great organization I’ve pointed out a few times in our pages, are out in front of the pack in this article. Good work, guys!

That’s today’s news round-up, but I’ll be back with more news and views, as well as more great travel destinations, in the next Disabled Travelers blog, coming up before you know it. As usual, if you’ve got a story we missed, or want to share your take on the latest happenings, the comment form is only a click away. Thanks for reading, and as I’m sure Matt Getze would say, adventure on!


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