by Shannon Coe, AT Network Program Coordinator
As people are traveling home from their summer vacations, it is helpful to know what to expect when arriving at the airport. Travelers with disabilities that use AT devices may have additional concerns about how their devices will be screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
I recently attended a webinar entitled 'Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions'. Even though I myself have traveled extensively, I was not aware of all of the resources TSA offers for travelers with disabilities.
At every airport, there are also Passenger Support Specialists (PSS) available near all checkpoints to provide proactive assistance to travelers with disabilities. PSS personnel are Transportation Security Officers and Supervisors who have received special training on disability etiquette, civil rights and assisting and resolving concerns of travelers. Now that I know there are PSS Supervisors at most checkpoints, I will tap into that resource if I need assistance with resolving any issues concerning my disability.
Below are some helpful tips for travelers with disabilities:
· Arrive at the airport early
· Know your needs and communicate your needs
· Separate medically necessary liquids and disability-related devices from your other property
· Request a private screening, if desired
· Request that a traveling companion stay with you during screening
· Request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist (PSS)
If you need to contact TSA’s Disability Branch, please email TSA.ODPO@tsa.dhs.gov. If you have a civil rights complaint, contact the Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement. Visit www.tsa.gov for more information.
Have you found TSA to be helpful when you have traveled? How have you and/or your AT been treated during air travel? Put your experiences in the comment box below and thanks for sharing.