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Episode 17 – Flight for Equality: Disabled Travelers Unite

Published: Thursday October 12, 2023

Pushing Forward with Alycia | A Disability Podcast

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Welcome to Pushing Forward with Alycia, where we embrace the power of resilience, ambition, and conquering adversity. Our community believes in the boundless potential within every individual. Today, Marty, Alycia’s also disabled husband and road warrior, joins the podcast to share the challenges when traveling on an airplane. Travel, for them, often requires sacrificing a piece of their independence. Specifically, airline travel means Alycia surrendering her wheelchair, placing trust in strangers, and enduring flights without accessible restrooms.

Ableism Takes Flight

In this episode, we delve deep into the travel industry and the profound challenges faced by disabled travelers. Ableism often rears its head, casting doubts on the legitimacy of disabilities. Traveling as a disabled individual is akin to a puzzle with countless missing pieces. With each airline, a new challenge arises. The absence of a standardized process only adds to the complexity of the journey. We’ll explore the burdens, extra efforts, and the glaring inconsistencies that exist in the world of accessible travel.

The Rollercoaster of Travel

Our journeys are an unpredictable blend of heartwarming encounters and substantial obstacles. Inconsistencies in assistance levels and the perpetual fear of lost or damaged wheelchairs color Alycia and Marty’s travel experiences.

Ableism: The Systemic Barrier

It’s crucial to acknowledge that ableism isn’t always a deliberate act. It’s deeply ingrained within a system unprepared to cater to the diverse needs of disabled travelers. Disability should unite us, not divide us, as it’s a shared experience for 1 in 4 Americans.

Legislation for Progress

Hope is on the horizon with the U.S. Department of Transportation‘s goal to make airline restrooms accessible within a decade. Legislation brings optimism for a more inclusive future of air travel. Alycia and Marty’s vision extends beyond legislation. They aspire to see a future where accessibility is woven into the fabric of travel. This includes accessible products, services, infrastructure, and technologies, ensuring equitable experiences for all travelers.

A future where everyone’s journey is accessible.

Picture a world where we roll onto planes, seats accommodate all, aisles widen, and security checks are humane. That’s the vision Alycia and Marty have for the ideal future, travel seamlessly welcomes travelers of all abilities.

Advocating for Change

Their personal journeys have inspired them to advocate for change. Educating organizations about the challenges faced by disabled travelers is crucial for fostering a more inclusive travel industry. Travel has the incredible ability to infuse joy into Alycia and Marty’s lives. They firmly believe that every individual deserves to experience this joy. Together, let’s create opportunities and make travel accessible to all.

As we navigate this journey, remember to tackle each challenge with a smile. Compassion, understanding, and unity can shatter barriers and transform travel into an accessible and enjoyable adventure for everyone.

Seeing beyond limitations for an accessible future.

To make travel inclusive for all, we must expand our perspective. Embracing diversity and comprehending the unique challenges faced by disabled travelers is the initial stride toward crafting a travel industry that welcomes everyone.

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Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations on Pushing Forward with Alycia. Open hearts, clear paths. Let’s go.