Disabled passengers say new guidelines current some larger obstacles to air journey


MONTREAL — Tracy Odell recollects with a mixture of delight and ache the sunny spring day two years in the past that her daughter bought married in California.

Delight within the milestone. Ache at having to overlook it.

Airways, she mentioned, successfully did not accommodate her incapacity, an issue that 1000’s of Canadians proceed to face regardless of new guidelines designed in idea to open the skies to disabled travellers.

As seating house shrank and cargo doorways had been typically too small for personalized wheelchairs, Odell reduce on the flights she as soon as took routinely for her work with a non-profit.

“My wheelchair is a part of me,” mentioned Odell, 61, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic situation that progressively prevents forming and maintaining the muscular tissues wanted to stroll, steadiness, eat and even breathe. “I’m helpless with out it.”

“It’s like if somebody says, ‘I’m sorry, you may journey however we’ve to unscrew your legs,’ ” mentioned Odell, who final took an airplane in 2009.

Her $18,000 mobility machine is not allowed within the plane cabin. Nor can it match via some cargo doorways with out being tipped on its facet, risking harm. Because of this, her husband opted to remain by her facet and miss their daughter’s San Jose marriage ceremony too.

Odell, president of Residents with Disabilities Ontario, is one in every of a lot of advocates who say new guidelines ostensibly designed to make air journey extra accessible fail to go far sufficient — and in some instances mark a step backward.

“It’s known as second-class citizenry. I’ve felt all of it my life,” mentioned Marcia Yale, a lifelong advocate for blind Canadians.

The laws, rolled out in June below a revised Canada Transportation Act — with most slated to take impact in June 2020 — do little to enhance spotty airport service or accommodate…



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