Friday, April 12, 2024
HomeNewsAir Travel is Often Dangerous for People with Disabilities

Air Travel is Often Dangerous for People with Disabilities

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U.S. Army veteran and frequent traveler who uses a wheelchair discusses perils of flying and why change is needed now.

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PVA has long been at the forefront air travel accessibility. The organization is working to ensure safer procedures for transferring travelers with disabilities to and from wheelchairs and seats, shorter lengths of stay in one-size-fits-all aisle chairs where prolonged sitting can cause pressure sores, blood clots or even death, and accessible airplane restrooms which are currently inaccessible for people who use mobility devices, leading to extreme and unhealthy alternatives.

The public can support PVA in their fight for equal accessibility for all people by signing up for ongoing news and to learn how to help at

Although progress has been made, there are still glaring problems. The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act aims to ensure people with disabilities receive consistent and nondiscriminatory treatment when flying. Unfortunately, travelers still encounter significant barriers such as damaged wheelchairs, delayed assistance and lack of procedures and training for airline staff. These obstacles are not only inconvenient, but they take away the dignity of travelers with disabilities and can cause serious injuries.

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About Shaun Castle:
Medically-retired Army sergeant Shaun Castle, with his one-of-a-kind charisma and outgoing personality, determined years ago that he had the potential to be a voice for veterans. “One thing I’ve always been able to do very well is talk. I know most veterans are shy, so if my contribution is to share the story, then it’s all worth it,” says Castle.

He has also become an advocate for all people with disabilities through his work as deputy executive director for Paralyzed Veterans of America.

While on active duty in the Army, Castle served in Kosovo, Macedonia and missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism. He also served as a protective services officer to two four-star generals.

During a training exercise in Germany, Castle suffered an injury that left him paralyzed and forced to medically retire from the Army. As part of his rehabilitation, Castle fell in love with wheelchair basketball. He went on to play for the University of Alabama men’s wheelchair basketball team and professionally in Europe.

A seasoned media professional and public speaker, Castle has been a key contributor to PVA adaptive sports programs and stakeholder outreach efforts. He has also been actively involved in advocacy for the disabled community, frequently testifying on Capitol Hill.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at

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