Travel News > February 2010 > Online travel agency assists disabled holidaymakers

Online travel agency assists disabled holidaymakers

24/02/2010

Online travel agency Expedia has made it easier for disabled travellers to find suitable accommodation on its website in the United States and plans to make the same changes to its UK site soon.

Holidaymakers in the US can now search for hotels that have accessible bathrooms, ramps, Braille or raised signage and equipment for guests who are deaf.

Expedia was forced to make the changes following a court case in the United States last year. The court ruled the travel agent must add facilities on its site to make it easier for travellers with physical disabilities to reserve rooms.

Expedia features more than 15,000 hotel rooms that are accessible for physically disabled holidaymakers. Once a customer chooses their accommodation the travel agency will contact the hotel to make sure that all their requests can be met. If not, the travel agency will find the holidaymaker a suitable alternative.

Expedia vice president John Morrey said the new search option was a much-needed part of the online travel booking process. He added: "We are proud to be able to meet the needs of disabled travelers who require accessible accommodations."

Disabled holidaymakers should also note that they are entitled, under European law to assistance when flying. This should be provided by the airline if requested at the time of booking.

Also worth noting is that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility cannot be denied a seat on a flight, unless the aircraft doors are too small to allow access or there are safety issues.

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