Laurel Van Horn


Director of Programs

Laurel Van Horn has specialized in accessible travel and hospitality since 1987, working as a writer, educator and access consultant. Since joining Open Doors Organization in 2004, she has primarily focused on developing and delivering customer service training for airports, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and ground transportation companies including Amtrak. Laurel also plays a key role in design of the ODO Studies of Adult Travelers with Disabilities and is ODO’s expert on accessibility standards and universal design. 

Laurel is currently a member of the design team, led by Alliiance and UrbanArch, for the Memphis International Airport terminal modernization project. Other recent projects include an Accessible Workplace Facilities Handbook for Alaska Airlines and an ADA Transition Plan for Salt Lake City International Airport. She serves on a number of accessibility advisory boards and working groups including IATA, ACI, MSP, SEA, PDX and Amtrak.

Formerly the executive director of SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality), Laurel also edited their magazine, Open World for Disability and Mature Travel. She has since written for numerous disability magazines, websites and scholarly journals, reporting on developments in inclusive travel worldwide. Laurel has extensive experience overseas, having conducted access projects and awareness training in Thailand, India, Egypt, Dubai, South Africa, Peru, Chile and Panama. While at SATH she helped write accessibility guidelines for cruise ships as a member of the US Access Board’s Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee. 

A long-term resident of New York City, Laurel has an M.A. in Economics from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.