Saturday, November 11, 2017

Disability & airline issues

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

   Around the global world there is now an awareness that the need of access for those with disabilities must be a prime goal both in design of public buildings and redo of city streets, as well, in every facet of life.
   For example, disability mandates extend to psychological and health issues requiring a service dog to accompany the disabled person everywhere, even aboard an aircraft—large over-size dogs now must be accepted by owners of large apartment building or condos, also in gated communities.

   I was flummoxed, then dismayed when I rec0ently took an inbound flight from Rome to JFK on Alitalia and discovered there was a change of aircraft, but my disability did not qualify me for a seat equal to the confirmed aisle seat I had chosen months earlier.
   Even more puzzling, when I was recovered from my recent flying ordeal, I researched the European Union’s criteria for airlines carrying persons with disabilities and filled out a complaint regarding the regulation that seemed to apply—I was informed that the regulation did not apply in my case.
   When I contacted the FAA’s legal department and related my complaint to one of their lawyers—that’s when I found out why the European Union said my situation did not apply—the FAA’s lawyer told me that when there is a change of aircraft, airlines are not required to inform the passengers, and not legally required to find a seat equivalent to the original confirmed seat.
   I was still confused and could not believe that airlines had no legal liability if there was a change of aircraft and confirmed seats were not honored, so I called the Department of Transportation’s consumer help line (1-855-368-4200) and left a message—within a few hours I received a return phone call.  Very carefully, and in great detail I was given the reason why a change of aircraft absolves airlines from considering persons with disabilities when new seats are assigned in place of the previously confirm seat.  Yet it made no sense to me that a computer driven overlay of seats for the changed aircraft allows airlines to disturb the travel plans of disabled passengers, reassign seats regardless of inconvenience, or worse, cancellation of trip.
   In fact, the Department of Transportation’s view is “make a plan B” for such an event” which might include asking for another flight,  even if the delay is more than a day, but he also indicated that a call to “your congressman” would help to revise the Disability Act by adding airlines to the transportation mandatory compliance regardless of change of aircraft.
  As well, you can file a consumer complaint against the airline which is available on the **Department of Transportation website, the airlines are required to respond to your complaint and the Dept. monitors the list to determine what airlines are frequent offenders.
   If you are disabled, and there is a change of aircraft that requires you to cancel your trip, you can file a complaint with the *ADA affiliated with the AG of the United States—on the ADA website you will see posts of complaints that were filed against Greyhound and others settled with an agreement to insure persons with disabilities can travel like everyone else.
   Be an activist, call AAPD (American Association of Persons with Disabilities) to ask how you can help to make airlines conform to requirements for persons with disabilities regardless of change of aircraft.



Friday, October 27, 2017

Uniquely egalitarian

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less


   In yet another way there is a unique dimension to my most recent travel experience—as I discovered when I visited the Italian city of Trieste, Austria’s Emperor Franz Joseph had some radical ideas, for instance, the Emperor’s conceptual ontological belief placed him in direct opposition to the Catholic church when Franz Joseph’s 19th century edict banned any religious edifices to be built in the city public squares.
   Trieste was an Austrian city in 1911, but after WWI when the city became part of Italy the tradition of open public squares for all was still part of the city’s ethos—as it was during WWII when the warring sides based spies in this city, and in the many years of the cold war East & West traded information and hostages.
    In 2017, this is still a tranquil city that continues to be open to all religions, beliefs and inclinations, still a truly egalitarian city where LGBT and everything in-between coexist in large open public spaces reflective of an architecture embodying a noble ethic with solid structures built along the waterside replete with boats large and small moored astride the main thoroughfare.
   As I was walking through the city I had the impression that everyone who participated in the city’s economy, thoroughly enjoys being part of the strata mix of upscale with hard working class folk who staff the local hotels and restaurants and maintain the city’s port and public thoroughfares, and they too are participating when lunching at the many street side cafes offering egalitarian prices for upscale menus. 

   Travelers will also find Trieste is a city where shopping is an egalitarian sport, not only featuring 5* clothing made of Italian woven materials and manufactured in Italy by family run factories, but 5* bargains at the Tezenis  underwear store at Piazza della Borsa selling so much more than guys and gals underwear at Walmart prices—the pants and everything in-between is manufactured in China, but with the quality control demanded by Eurozone standards.
   I can attest to the fact that the underwear I bought at Tezenis would only be available at a boutique store in the USA where prices are astronomical, sadly the chain maintains stores in Spain and Portugal, but not in the USA. 
   The stores like Arthur Davies at Via del Teatro 4/b sell the 5* quality and uniquely styled Italian made clothing that will make you a fashionista back home at prices that are unbelievably affordable. 

   If you decide to visit the uniquely egalitarian Trieste, I think you’ll agree that this is where comfortable travel for less $ is a reality, as for me, the more than I could have imagined remains in my memory available on those days when the winter doldrums strike.