May 31, 2013

TSA makes Improvements for Passengers with Disabilities

A three year old child in a wheelchair was traumatized by TSA agents in the airport while travelling to Orlando, Florida. The incident occurred in the St. Louis airport on February 9th.

The response to this incident by the TSA is an aggressive promotion of a new program designed to assist and facilitate the special needs community when navigating the mandatory security checks when travelling.

The program is supported by 3,000 volunteers of the 45,000 TSA screeners. These volunteers go through a 3 hour training course designed to make the screening process more comfortable and respectful to the disabled passenger while ensuring a high level of aviation safety. Specialists would be available on an as-needed basis.

This new program is part of TSA Cares, a toll-free help line (855-787-2227) that special needs travelers can call for assistance through security with certain medical devices, most specifically wheelchairs. With advance notice, an airport can remove specific encumbrances for specific needs. An autistic child who is unable to encounter large crowds, loud noises and flashing lights or perhaps queue for long periods without a serious reaction is greatly assisted by this program. Although not mandatory, notification allows the TSA to have properly trained staff available.

The TSA apologized for the unfortunate incident in St. Louis and explained the agent was a new employee at the time.

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