After several high-profile controversial security screenings, the TSA has launched a program to better assist people with disabilities. The Passenger Support Specialist program, which began earlier this year, provides 3,000 employees to help resolve security conflicts involving passengers with disabilities. Passengers or security staff can request assistance from the specialists.
Mary Peterson, accessible-travel consultant with Able to Travel, says her organization has trained many of the specialists. The training has placed emphasis on proper disability etiquette. In the past, passengers had complained about the lack of communication and compassion from TSA agents.
Peterson says passengers need to be up front about their disability and clearly communicate their needs. She suggests passengers call the TSA Cares helpline at 855/787-2227 before traveling to address any concerns.
It remains to be seen how successful the program will be, but Peterson is optimistic it will alleviate many problems. “It’s definitely moving in the right direction when it comes to screening passengers with disabilities,” she says.