Good news! This year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will have Passenger Support Specialists available at every airport that can assist passengers with disabilities and their traveling companions during screening or resolve concerns before the passenger leaves the checkpoint.
United Spinal’s Able to Travel program is proud to be providing assistance in training all of these new Passenger Support Specialists.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to work alongside the TSA and offer our expertise on disability travel issues to ensure the concerns of disabled travelers are resolved quickly and efficiently,” said Kleo King, senior vice president of Able to Travel, a program of United Spinal Association.
Individuals with disabilities traveling may contact TSA Cares to arrange assistance for their airport screening. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. EST and weekends and Holidays 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST.
Able to Travel also encourages travelers with disabilities and medical conditions to opt in to TSA PreCheck if invited by an airline or to join Global Entry as a way to participate. Individuals will have to pay a $100 fee, which is good for five years, if they join Global Entry.
TSA PreCheck is free for passengers, but, again, an airline must invite an individual to join. If TSA determines a passenger with a disability or medical condition is eligible for expedited screening through TSA PreCheck, the passenger may be referred to the designated lane where he or she may undergo expedited screening. This includes but is not limited to individuals with service animals, individuals who use wheelchairs, those who have insulin pumps or similar medical devices, breast cancer survivors, ostomates, and those who require medically necessary liquids.
TSA PreCheck is now available in 35 airports and more than 6 million passengers have experienced. U.S. citizens with disabilities and medical conditions traveling domestically who are select Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs including Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS are eligible to participate.