Barriers disappearing in airports, airlines

The Open Doors Organization (ODO) reported that as more American adults with disabilities than ever take to the skies, far fewer encounter major obstacles at airports and with airlines.

Their current spending on air travel alone is nearly USD9 billion annually. These findings are from ODO´s 2015 nationwide survey, conducted by Mandala Research, LLC as a follow-up to ODO´s groundbreaking studies of 2002 and 2005 on the spending trends and market scope of US adult travelers with disabilities.

“The aviation industry´s investments not just in accessible facilities but also customer service and disability awareness training are clearly paying off,” commented ODO director Eric Lipp. “It´s true that a majority of passengers with disabilities still encounter obstacles, but we´re moving the right direction.” From 2005 to 2015, reports of major obstacles at airports dropped 21 percent (from 82 percent to 65 percent), while reports of obstacles with airlines dropped 14 percent (from 84 percent to 72 percent).

According to the ODO 2015 Study, 31 percent of American adults traveled by air over the past two years. These 11 million air travelers took 23 million trips and spent a total of USD9 billion just on their own flights. For the vast majority, these were leisure trips accompanied by one or more adult family members or friends, so the actual economic impact is actually double, USD18 billion. Air fares averaged USD400 while spending at the airport averaged USD20, double the amount in 2002.

The Open Doors Organization is a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of teaching businesses how to succeed in the disability market and make their goods and services accessible to people with disabilities.

Mandala Research, LLC, who partnered with ODO on this study, offers a diverse range of travel market research products and services–along with expert analysis–to Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.