News & Events

September 2019 Newsletter

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Key topics from September 2019:

  • First Global Accessibility Symposium hosted by IATA, in partnership with ODO and Emirates
  • ODO to participate in IATA Global Airline Passenger Symposium in Warsaw
  • ACI/ODO Accommodating Passengers with Disabilities Workshop at CVG
  • Exciting news from the TSA
  • …and more!

IATA Global Accessibility Conference

The IATA Global Accessibility Symposium will take place on 05-06 November 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Symposium, kindly hosted by Emirates, will offer an unparalleled platform to debate with stakeholders and passengers how air transport can be a truly accessible and inclusive industry for passengers with disabilities.

Don’t miss the chance to engage with leaders, subject matter experts and outstanding speakers in the aviation industry and, of course, take advantage of some great networking opportunities!

Click Here to Learn More!

ODO at IATA General Meeting

Eric Lipp, ODO Executive Director, was on hand at the 75th IATA Annual General Meeting when the International Air Transport Association passed a Resolution on Passengers with Disabilities that commits member airlines to provide “safe, reliable and dignified travel” and calls on all aviation stakeholders to do the same. It also requests national governments to follow IATA Core Principals in developing legislation and on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to apply them in their mulitilateral initiatives. Two key core principles that IATA is now focusing on are “harmonization” and “coordination” so that individuals can have consistent end-to-end service no matter their location.
A 15-minute interview with Mr. Lipp, who addressed the General Meeting in Seoul, South Korea, is posted online at the IATA website.

ACI & ODO Workshop Dates Announced!

Airports Council International (ACI) and ODO will host the Accommodating Passengers with Disabilities (APD) Workshop twice this year, the first at MSP and the second at CVG. This 3-day course provides an introduction to US disability rights legislation, architectural accessibility standards, the latest regulatory changes, and also highlights new technologies, resources and best practices from airports worldwide.

MSP Course: August 20-22, 2019
CVG Course: October 22-24, 2019

For details and to register, visit ACI Global Training.

ODO and Aira Partner to Improve Travel and Tourism for People with Vision Loss

ODO is excited to announce a partnership with Aira to expand the availability of Aira technology in public places, benefiting individuals with vision loss worldwide. Aira provides its users with personal, on-demand, and professionally-trained sighted guides called Aira agents, who assist users with wayfinding, reading printed text, and finding nearby places of interest. Visit Aira’s website to learn more! Aira’s latest Access Partner is Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium which will offer free minutes to visitors while onsite.

Press Release

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

TSA Award Ceremony
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 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

Featured Training

2019 ODO Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) Training

Open Doors Organization regularly offers Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) training at major airports in the United States such as New York and Chicago. These classroom-based group trainings allow air carriers to conveniently train one or more new CROs.

Upcoming Initial CRO Training Dates:
Oct. 16-17: Chicago-ORD
Nov. 13-14: Chicago-ORD
Dec. 10-11: New York-JFK

For more information and a full list of dates, click here

Featured Project

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.

ADA Motorcoach Training Flyer