Anyone with a disability knows firsthand that air travel when you have a disability is not always the best experience. Chicago, Illinois’s Mayor Richard Daley wants to change that, at least for passengers with disabilities who travel to or through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports.
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has launched a new disability awareness and assistance program to train airport employees on how to more effectively recognize and help travelers who may require additional assistance. Some front-line airport employees from the areas of terminal management, security, concessions, ground transportation, traffic management and Traveler’s Aid have received the training and wear a “Purple Airplane” pin signifying their ability to assist travelers with disabilities.
Chicago was the first city to implement a cabinet-level office for people with disabilities (1990) and recently the National Organization on Disability named Chicago one of the top two cities in the United States for accessibility. In doing so, the organization highlighted the City’s innovative programs and services for people with disabilities, including the accessibility of its airports. The CDA has also developed informational materials available at both airports and online to inform travelers with disabilities about the resources available to them at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. The brochures include a map highlighting accessibility throughout the airports.
I sure could have used these services when I was traveling in January and February, using a wheelchair due to surgery on both feet. A double thumbs up to Chicago and Mayor Daley!