Hello from Houston!
We have immediate news from the start of this 2-day meeting with Continental Airlines' Disability Advisory Board and their progress over the last six months since our first meeting in October. We're very excited to bring their update to you, as they have indeed taken our advice to heart and brought forth some excellent changes in their day-to-day operations in handling customers with disabilities.
We hope that you will begin to pay attention to the progress and improvements that companies like CO and direct your future business accordingly!
1. Now on Continental.com customers with disabilities can create a personal profile which includes all their special needs so they do not have to enter them for each and every reservation they book
2. Continental has beefed up their disability awareness training through an awareness day and the upcoming changes to the DOT regulations with the addition of 14 CFR part 382, which is an entire subject in and of itself, but is a wonderful new tool and benefit for PWD and their rights when flying.
3. Continental is developing a mobility device plaquard, which we have written about before, that will clearly spell out the simple operation and stowage needs for power wheelchairs and scooters. We'll post that as soon as it's ready!
4. Starting April 1st, lead flight attendants will finally be recognizable by a lead agent ensignia on their name tags so that customers with special needs can address their needs to this agent directly.
5. Starting May 13th, in conjunction with the release of the 382 document, passengers using Emotional Support Animals will be required to give 48 hours notice to the airline in order to prevent the increasing amount of fraud in this area. Note this does not apply to service/working/guide dogs, just psychological assist animals.
6. Also starting May 13th, additional FAA-approved respiration devices will now be accepted. Aside from the currently accepted BAC, ventilators and respirators will be accepted.
7. At many hub airports such as Houston, Cleveland and Newark, TSA has begun to expedite customers with service animals to a ''relieving area'' outside, through security and back, to help PWD meet their connections and therefore book shorter connections. Secure-area (plane side) relief areas are still being studied, but we still hope to help create those someday!
Again we are excited to bring these updates to you from Continental Airlines; please pass them on and stay tuned for more as we continue to progress with this board and its relationships with partners in the air travel industry! Congratulations, Continental!