For many people with disabilities, traveling is a scary thought – an even scarier thought for them is the idea of traveling alone. TSA Cares makes any adventure much more comfortable for those suffering from sensory issues, injuries, and various other medical conditions; however, the program is open to any individual who might like extra support navigating the airport.
Though you will likely find many employees within any airport who are willing to assist you, TSA Cares provides additional peace of mind in that you may contact them prior to travelling and arrive with the comfort of knowing someone will meet you at security and help you get through the screening process to your destination. Those wishing to utilize TSA Cares should contact TSA before their trip to make arrangements.
The program launched in 2012 with the intention of helping those with disabilities remain supported and fear-free when looking to fly. Blindness, wheelchair-usage, extra medical equipment, and so much more make travelling a terrifying and uncertain feat. These individuals, especially when traveling alone, experience great difficulty in trying to reach their gate or go through security on their own. A TSA Cares passenger support specialist waits for them at security and personally guides them through the process to help maintain their dignity and smoothen the process significantly.
Nonahood News director of content Nicole LaBosco recently suffered from a shattered ankle and happened to travel during her brief disability. Her experience with TSA Cares while traveling in another state led to her curiosity and appreciation for the program.
“When it came to traveling while injured, I was honestly terrified,” said LaBosco. “It had only been six days after my injury and five after surgery. I was in a wheelchair and had a soft cast with a boot. When it came to going through security, they escorted me through and asked if I could walk. I told them I couldn’t put any weight on my foot, and they still had me stand in the full body scanner without my crutches – not something I was prepared for.”
According to the CDC, 64 million Americans currently live with a disability. This equates to 26% of the American population, or one in four adults. Of this substantial number, only a rough 18,000 requests for assistance through TSA Cares have been made, thus far, in 2021. TSA Cares would like Americans, with disabilities and without, to know that they are there for them when they are ready to travel.
“I didn’t even know the TSA Cares program existed,” said LaBosco. “Had I known, I would’ve looked into it more to see if it could’ve eased any of my travel anxiety while injured.”
Central Floridians can be rest assured that our own bustling Orlando International Airport offers TSA Cares to their patrons as well. For a more comfortable and accessible way to travel, call (855) 787-2227 at least 72 hours in advance of your next trip. Visit https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support for more information.