We’re Working to Make Air Travel Universally Accessible

Aviation has been a major focus for Open Doors Organization (ODO) since its first Market Study in 2002 revealed not only how many adults with disabilities are traveling by air but also how many report barriers in airports and airlines.

Since ODO‘s first Airline Symposium in 2006, our projects in the field of air travel have continued to expand and gain recognition and respect in the industry. We aim to improve service and facilities for passengers with disabilities while helping airports, airlines and service companies benefit from this growing market.


  • Biennial Universal Access in Airports Conference
    • Since 2006
    • Save the Date: UAIA 2016, San Francisco, November 14-16, 2016
    • Sponsored by United Airlines (Presenting Sponsor), Virgin America and San Francisco International Airport
  • ODO Airline Symposium
    • Offered annually 2006-2009, biennially since 2010
    • Closed door sessions dedicated to sharing best practices and finding workable solutions to disability-related issues
    • 2016 ODO Airline Symposium: San Francisco, November 14
    • Sponsored by United Airlines and Virgin America

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  • ODO Disability Sensitivity Training from ACI Online Learning Centre
    • Produced by Open Doors Organization for Airports Council International (ACI)
    • First module in ODO/ACI series
    • 2-hour self-paced eLearning for airport and airline customer service staff
    • Designed to meet Disability Awareness Training requirements mandated in Canada and Europe and to improve customer service in the US and worldwide
    • For details and registration, go to ACI Online Learning Center
  • Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) Training
    • 1.5-day classroom training at major airports
    • Conducted by experts with disabilities
    • For a quote on personalized training, call 773.388.8839
    • CRO Training Flyer  pdf
    • Registration Form pdf
  • Online CRO Refresher Training Webinar
    • Updated annually with current regulatory updates, new topics and different guest speakers
    • Affordable, convenient way to meet the annual CRO training requirement
    • To Register, go to ODO Academy
    • For group registrations/volume discounts, email Eddie Ragauskas
  • Aviation Access Certification Program
    • Certification training for wheelchair service providers
    • 1.5 day Train-the-Trainer course
    • Full-day comprehensive program for employees that includes disability awareness
    • Developed by people with disabilities and professionals from the aviation industry
    • Designed to replace most training currently provided to employees
    • Aviation Access Certification Proposal pdf
    • For additional information and pricing, call 773.388.8839 or email Eric Lipp
  • Ground Handling Workshops
    • Reduces damage to assistive devices and injuries to ramp crew
    • Provided in partnership with Global Repair Group
    • Half-day session with hands-on training on wheelchairs and scooters
    • Available free on request at major airports
    • Call 773.388.8839 or email Eric Lipp

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  • Service Animal Relief Areas in Airports: A Guide from Open Doors Organization
    • Provides detailed guidance on how to construct, maintain and promote SARAs
    • Answers questions on the needs and preferences of service animals and their handlers
    • First released at 2010 Universal Access in Airports conference
    • Now reformatted with photos and expanded resource section
    • Free download pdf msword

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Technological Solutions

  • ODO-Designed Belt Loader Device
    • Holds wheelchairs securely on the belt loader, even in freewheel or on their side
    • Reduces injuries to ramp crew and damage to wheelchairs and even planes
    • Email ODO or call 773.388.8839 for details, photos and pricing

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Other Services

  • CRO 24-Hour Call Center
    • For foreign carriers with limited US service
    • Let ODO‘s expert staff be your Acting CROs
    • Toll-free calling from the US, Canada and overseas
    • Call 773.388.8839 for full details
  • Video Production
    • Staff training and promotional videos
    • Equivalent alternative videos for submission to DOT
    • Comprehensive service from script through editing
    • Call 773.388.8839 to discuss your project
  • Airline and Service Company Advisory Committees
    • Tap into the expertise of ODO‘s expert staff and consultants
    • Airlines served include American, Northwest, Continental and United
  • Consultative Services
    • ADA Compliance, Training, Product Design, Research and Marketing and more
    • No project is too small or large for ODO and its expert staff and consultants
    • From aircraft seat and aisle design to compliance reviews of major airports, Open Doors Organization has the experience
    • Research offerings include qualitative focus groups and mystery shopping as well as survey research
    • ODO Market Studies set the standard for research among travelers with disabilities and inform our marketing strategies
    • Call 773.388.8839 to discuss your project

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Aviation Resources

Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement, Department of Transportation. Includes Part 382 regulations and other Federal rules and guidelines, the Air Travel Consumer Report, Annual Reports on Disability-Related Air Travel Complaints and other useful disability-related publications such as the Model Training Program, Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) and Frequently Asked Questions.

DOT Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities. Provides general information on the rights of air travelers with disabilities, responds to requests for printed consumer information, and assists air travelers with disability-related issues that need to be addressed in “real time.” 800.778.4838 (V); 800.455.9880 (TTY) M-F 9am-5pm Eastern Time.

DOT Civil Penalties—Final Rule. Published in the Federal Register, November 21, 2008. Raises the penalty for each violation of the Air Carrier Access Act to $27,500.

Federal Aviation Administration

Disability and Accessibility: Complying with Regulations at an Airport. FAA Office of Civil Rights Webinar, June 29, 2010.

Access Board. ADA Access Guidelines that apply to airports and to the Title III places of public accommodation within them. For technical assistance, call 800.993.2822.

Transportation Security Administration. Site includes extensive Information for Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions.

PHMSA – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration . Federal safety regulations concerning transportation of hazardous materials such as lithium batteries.

Airlines for America (formerly Air Transport Association of America

Airports Council International (ACI)

Airports Council International – North America

American Association of Airport Executives

Advanced Aeromedical . Therapeutic oxygen and Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs) for air travelers. Cards detailing battery duration for FAA-approved POCs sent free on request.

Global Repair Group. Wheelchair repair and replacement service for airlines.

Canadian Transportation Agency

Canadian Aviation Regulations

Regulation EC No. 1107/2006. European Community regulation regarding the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when traveling by air.

EC 1107/2006 National Enforcement Bodies

See also Business Resources.

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