Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to find information. However, not all this information is necessarily correct. If you search for wheelchair friendly hotels and travel, you are likely to come across a whole lot of misinformation and even some outright lies. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.
Wheelchair Friendly Hotels and Travel Myths and Facts
Myth #1 – Air travel for disabled passengers is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990.
Airline accessibility is actually covered under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which is much older than the ADA.
Myth #2 – The ACAA gives disabled passenger’s companions free flights.
This would be very nice, but is not true. Sometimes, a “safety assistant” has to be designated to assist in an emergency situation, but this is generally simply another passenger.
Myth #3 – Wheelchair passengers are guaranteed to be assigned bulkhead chairs.
Only those with service animals or fused legs are guaranteed these seats.
Myth #4 – When you make a reservation at a wheelchair friendly hotel, you are guaranteed to receive the accessible room if you use your credit card.
When you pay with a credit card, you guarantee the rate, not the room. It is important that you actually block the room when you may your reservation, therefore.
Myth #5 – Roll in shower are installed as standard in accessible rooms.
The law states that hotels that have in excess of 50 rooms have to have a roll in shower in their accessible rooms. If they have fewer rooms then they can have a tub/shower combination so long as grab bars are installed.
Myth #6 – Wheelchair accessible shuttles are standard at hotels.
This is true only if the hotel offers shuttles. Shuttles are also often an outsourced service, so do make sure you check accessibility.
Myth #7 – ADA guarantees that cruise ships are accessible.
There was a ruling by the Supreme Court to ensure that any foreign-flagged cruise ship that comes to a port in this country must be compliant with the ADA. However, the exact rules and guidelines are sketchy. The U.S. Access Board and the Department of Transportation is working on this. Compliance continues to be voluntary.
Myth #8 – Cruise ships offer accessible shore excursions.
While cruise ships may offer those, they are not required to do so. It is your responsibility as the passenger to look into this before you decide to book. You can expect, however, the cruise liner to know or to find out for you whether or not the excursions are accessible and, if so, how.
Myth #9 – Theme parks allows wheelchair users to go to the front of the queue.
Again, this would be very nice but isn’t true. You may be able to use a different entrance, but that is only if the original entrance is not accessible. Very few attractions still have non-accessible entrances. This means that you can expect to have to queue just like everybody else