Published – March, 2011
My wife uses a wheelchair. We are planning a road trip this summer to visit our great-grandson in a western state, which will require us to spend at least 2 nights at hotels. I’m dreading the trip because the last time we traveled, we had reservations at a hotel for an accessible room but when we got there the staff said we they did not have an accessible room available for us. How can they do that? If we have a confirmation number, shouldn’t they be required to give us the accessible room?
Dear Weary Traveler,
You have a great experience ahead of you and this should be an exciting time for you and your wife. Unfortunately, many people have reported similar problems with hotel reservations. But the federal government heard those complaints and has done something about it. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has new standards that went into effect on March 15, 2012. Several of these new requirements affect hotels, including reservations. Here is what you can expect on your upcoming trip:
- You will be able to reserve an accessible room any time and any way that another person could reserve a non-accessible room, as long as there is one available;
- The hotel staff will be able to answer any accessible questions you have about the rooms. For example, you can find out from the hotel staff how much space is under the sink so you’ll know if your wife can roll up to the sink without hitting her chair on the sink apron;
- The hotel staff will reserve the room-type you need and it WILL BE available for you when you get there;
- The hotel staff will remove that room from the inventory so no hotel staff member can give that room to another caller;
Speaking of hotels, another requirement that hotels must now meet is access into swimming pools. People with disabilities can independently get into pools with pool lifts or sloped entries.
If you encounter a hotel that does not follow these requirements, feel free to email us at askADA@disability-rights.org and I hope you have a fun time!