I happen to know many employees who have a disability and travel on business regularly.
If you are an employer of such employees, how would you feel if following a business trip your employee told you that when checking in at the airport recently with her service animal, she was told that the airline would have to charge her for her pet and that the dog could not fly in the cabin with her? When she told the agent that the dog was a service animal, protected under the ADA and exempt from such fees, the agent responded by saying, “I doubt that. You look normal to me.”
I would like to say that this woman was horrified but she was not because this is not the first time she has heard such comments. You see, Wendy is not blind nor does she use a wheelchair which is the stereotypical expectation of someone requiring a service animal. Wendy is a disabled veteran with a hidden disability.
While it is difficult to obtain specific data on disability related discrimination, we know it occurs way too often. If you employ someone with a disability who travels for business, it might be helpful for your corporate travel department to partner with travel agents who specialize in travel for the disabled. Such resources can be found at www.abletotravel.org.