Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Continental Airlines Disability Advisory Board Updates

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 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!


Anonymous said...

Any discussion regarding the use of wheelchair cushions in place of the regular seat? Sometimes we're allowed to pull their seat/floatation device and place my Jay cushion, most most times the answer is "NO" and so we place the Jay on top of the seat causing my feet to dangle off the floor - very uncomfortable and causes potential skin issues.

We've tried explaining that in the event of a water landing my Jay would prohibit the use of the floatation device but it lands on deaf ears most often.

Just a little food for thought...

Andy said...

We will definitely bring this up to them in the future meetings, as although most of us have brought up or had issues with this topic (esp. on the smaller planes with flatter seat cushions) no one has come up with the idea of removing their cushion and replacing it with your own.
GREAT comment! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Regarding ventilators...
We just spoke with Continental's oxygen desk and they maintain "absolutely not."
There is a conference in Houston, Texas in July for a group of families with children with a very rare form of muscular dystrophy (only 150 cases worldwide). Most of these boys are on ventilators and will be flying. Continental has a major hub in Houston, but these families will have to seek other airlines who are willing to accomodate ventilators.

Andy said...

Scott if you would send me your information directly, I'll keep you in the loop or put you in direct touch with someone at CO if you want, I'm thinking you got a false answer and would like to help you find the truth!

Cheap flights to Chicago said...

Thanks for the information..I am very happy that they are doing some thing for disability..I have to face so many problems while traveling due to my legs..Now something good can be expected..