Reeve Summit Panel Explores Travel Accessibility

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on January 16, 2020 # Events, Travel, Reeve Summit

It’s been 30 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. However, the ADA does not govern air carrier accessibility. The Air Carrier Access Act was enacted in 1986 to address accessibility gaps created by the ADA’s lack of jurisdiction over travel. How far have we come? What is it like for a person with paralysis to travel by air or navigate a city today? How much of a difference have 30 years of government-mandated accessibility standards made to real people facing real challenges on the road or in the air?

These are among the questions that will be debated at a panel discussion on accessible travel at the upcoming Reeve Summit 2020: Where Care, Cure and Community Connect. The session, “Tips and Tricks: How to Make Your Travel Less Stressful,” features celebrated wheelchair-travel blogger John Morris, who’s clocked over a million air miles; Dallas Thomas, an accessibility expert at Southwest Airlines, Supriya Raman, Ph.D., the Transportation Security Authority’s lead staffer on accessibility issues, and Ray Prentice, a compliance official at Alaska Airlines. Anjali Forber-Pratt, PhD, a disability researcher and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, will moderate.

John Morris, a triple amputee, is one of the foremost experts and advocates in the field of accessible travel, educating through his website and advising companies through his consultancy. His Wheelchair Traveler blog catalogs what he’s learned exploring the world “with one hand, a passport and my power wheelchair.”

As an accessibility compliance expert at Southwest Airlines, Dallas Thomas is charged with ensuring that universal accessibility is weaved into all aspects of passengers’ journeys and that airline-passenger protection regulations are met. He serves as a subject-matter expert on accessibility policy across Southwest Airlines, the broader airline industry, and the disability rights community.

Supriya Raman, PhD., manages two agencies within the Transportation Security Administration charged with ensuring that all TSA programs and activities for the public afford equal access and opportunity for individuals from federally protected classes. She is Acting Manager of the Disability Branch and the Multicultural Branch within the Traveler Engagement Division in the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement.

Ray Prentice, a 30-year Alaska Airlines veteran who currently acts as Director of Customer Advocacy, has spent much of his career helping ensure smooth travel experiences for customers with disabilities. He is responsible for compliance with consumer protection regulations, including the Air Carrier Access Act, and serves as Alaska Airlines’ liaison to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.

The Reeve Summit will be held at the Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C., from February 26-28, 2020.

Click here to register for the conference.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.