White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2013 – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now offering assistance to travelers with special needs.
The disabled, the elderly and individuals with medical conditions are now being offered special assistance with airport security as part of a new push by the TSA.
In light of numerous complaints by travelers, the TSA has implemented a cadre of specially trained airport security screeners to assist passengers with disabilities.
More than 2,600 TSA officers, supervisors and lead staff have been trained specifically to address the issues that travelers with special needs may face. Each of the TSA employees received four hours of instruction on sensitivity and disability basics developed for them by several disability advocacy groups, and were educated on disability rights. These “passenger screening specialists” may now be requested by any traveler who has a disability or a medical condition which requires assistance or separate screening.
The goal, said a spokesperson, is to place a passenger screening specialist in the area of each checkpoint during regular screening hours, available to proactively assist any passenger who may need it, and to resolve issues or concerns. Any passenger who may need additional assistance is advised to arrive early at the airport and place a request for a specialist.
The new passenger screening specialist program follows on the heels of a public gaffe; the TSA was lambasted by critics after a video was released showing agents insensitively attempting to security screen a 3-year-old in a wheelchair. The video was posted online and quickly went viral.
The passenger assistance specialists are not new to TSA; they are working officers who were given additional training. The specialists were chosen from a pool of applicants who demonstrated interpersonal skills and the ability to process complex passenger issues. For passengers looking for privacy, a private screening can be requested, or a notification card can be printed out from the TSA web site, tsa.gov, and handed to an officer.
The TSA has also announced that it has a hotline resource for passengers with special needs. TSA Cares can be reached at (855) 787-2227. Learn more at www.specialneedsnewyork.com.
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