With a wide array of challenges including large crowds, long walks, time constraints, and elevated noise levels; airports present no shortage of accessibility issues. In order to meet the needs of all travelers, airport executives and other personnel must become more aware of the issues that exist and must then work to eliminate them. Fortunately, they are finding new and inventive methods for identifying potential challenge areas.
In a special report for USA Today
Harriet Baskas recently put on an “aging suit” and traveled through a busy airport much as any other customer would. The difference was that the journey was made much more challenging for her by the limitations imposed by the suit. Blurred goggles, padded earmuffs, and 30 extra pounds of weight all integrated into the aging suit were designed to simulate would the experience of navigating an airport might be like for a person with a disability. She found the long hike to the boarding area as well as the process of collecting luggage at the baggage claims to be especially difficult.
Luckily, Baskas is not the only one to experience traveling in an aging suit. With 26 million people with disabilities using airports each year and the increasing population of people over the age of 65, executives are realizing that they need to take a hard look at accessibility issues. To that end, the aging suits are being employed to allow architects and others involved with the airport design process a chance to experience travel with mobility issues, visual impairments, and hearing loss. Although their experience is not exactly the same as that of a person with a disability, it is hoped that the insights they gain while wearing the aging suit may allow more the discussion of ways to improve airport accessibility in the future.
Accessible Air Travel
Air travel needs to be accessible to everyone, and airports need to work to eliminate some major accessibility challenges. If you or someone you know has experienced accessibility issues in a public place, airport or otherwise, please contact us with your concerns.