January 3, 2019 was a dark day for the aviation industry with the loss of Southwest’s co-founder, Herb Kelleher. Herb exemplified what aviation should be.. he made flying not seem like the commodity that it is. He was good to his customers and great to his employees, all of whom loved him. It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a pioneer but we are hopeful that other leaders in the industry follow in his admirable footsteps.
News & Events
Remembering Herb Kelleher
UAIA 2018–Best Ever!
At Universal Access in Airports 2018, held Aug. 27-29 at the InterContinental Minneapolis Airport, the atmosphere was electric as airports, airlines, service companies and tech firms shared best practices and the latest adaptive technologies. With Austria, Canada, France, the UK, Switzerland, and even Japan represented, this event was the most international to date. Networking is key to fostering ongoing exchange, so UAIA always kicks off with a lively cocktail party. Then it’s down to work with two jam-packed days of presentations, discussions and more networking. Winner of this year’s ODO Disability Access Professionals Award, presented at UAIA, was Phil Burke, MSP Director of Operations, a tireless champion of accessibility and inclusion. Special thanks go to United Airlines, presenting sponsor, and co-hosts Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Global Repair Group. For additional photos, visit us on Facebook. UAIA Final Agenda: docx pdf
ODO Wins TSA Coalition Award
Open Doors Organization is the recipient for 2018 of the TSA Disability & Multicultural Coalition Partnership Award. This is the second time that ODO has been recognized for its work with the TSA in improving the screening process for travelers with disabilities. The award ceremony took place at the 16th Annual TSA Coalition Conference, held August 7, 2018 at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, VA. Presenting the award to Adrea Lipp, ODO Director of Operations, was David P. Pekoske, TSA Administrator (shown above).
ODO Leads ACRP 01-31 Project
Open Doors Organization is lead investigator on a new Airports Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) project entitled Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities. It’s a broad topic and an exciting one. Partnering on the research, which kicked off July 2016, are Alliiance, Arora Engineers, Trillion Aviation and Indiana University. In addition to a literature review, ODO will be conducting surveys of aviation executives and travelers with disabilities, carrying out interviews and site visits at a number of airports in the US, Canada and Europe and holding focus groups on user needs. The guidebook will be published in 2018.
ODO Wins Amtrak Contract
We’re delighted to announce that Open Doors Organization has won a competitive bid to develop and deliver ADA training to Amtrak frontline employees and supervisors nationwide. Under the 3-year contract, we will once again hold classes in numerous cities across the country, drawing on our network of skilled trainers from each region, many of whom have a disability. To make the curriculum as useful and practical as possible, one of our first steps will be to get input both from Amtrak supervisors and members of the disability community. We also plan to create videos modeling best practices in communication and assistance for customers with a range of disabilities. Our end goal: to create an exciting, interactive training that helps Amtrak employees, whatever their job, provide the best possible customer service to everyone.
Disability Travel Spending at Record High $17.3 Billion
In conjunction with the ADA 25 Celebration, Open Doors Organization has released its much anticipated 2015 Market Study. It confirms once again that this is a strong market that’s still growing. American adults with disabilities now spend $17.3 billion annually on just their own travel. Conducted by Mandala Research, the 2015 Market Study is a follow-up to ODO’s groundbreaking 2002 and 2005 surveys. New this year are an expanded section on cruise travel and data on the use of mobile technology and ride share services. The 53-page report is available for sale on the ODO Academy website.
Press release: pdf doc
Key Findings: pdf msword
2019 ODO Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) Training
ADA Motorcoach Training
In January 2012 Open Doors Organization (ODO), in cooperation with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), launched a new training program for intercity and charter/tour bus operators. The program is designed to help companies meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and also provide the best possible service to their clients with disabilities including older travelers.
The lively, full-day training is conducted by two trainers, one a disability expert from ODO, the other a UMA board member and motorcoach operator. The morning session, which covers ADA basics, disability awareness and service on the coach, is for all personnel including drivers. The afternoon session, which addresses company policies and procedures, is for management
and sales staff.
The training is being marketed to state bus associations as well as to individual companies and groups of companies. A 2-hour Refresh Training is also available. For details and pricing, email
Laurel Van Horn, Director of Programs.