Orlando strives to let disabled holiday-makers enjoy their vacation as much as the usual tourists; today we take a closer look at its airport accessible features.
Orlando Airport has two terminals, A and B, and in both you can check-in and then board the aircraft without changing levels.
Prior to arrival
Travellers requiring a wheelchair for use within the airport are asked to contact their airline in advance. Like many popular tourist spots, Orlando airport is very busy. Foregoing on requesting assistance in advance may result in having to wait to be helped.
There are disabled parking places in both A and B garages, as well as in the Terminal Top Parking located above the terminal and accessed from Level 3. Disabled parking spaces can be found on all levels of parking close to the lifts, with the highest number available in Levels 1 and 2 of both terminals. There is screening before you enter and payment via E-Pass or SunPass electronic toll cards only.
Disabled parking is also available in the economy car parks and the shuttle service to and from the terminals is accessible. Passengers may be dropped off on Level 3 (Departures) kerbside check-in if it is provided by their airline at either A or B Terminals, while designated loading and unloading zones can be found on both Levels 2 and 3 of both terminals.
Inside the terminal
A wheelchair-friendly roll-on/roll-off train system operates between the main terminals and the gates in both terminals. Additionally, lifts, escalators and moving walkways minimise walking distances. Walkways operate from the parking areas to the main terminal, and from one side of the terminal to the other.
Travellers with an internal or external medical device such as a pacemaker, whose doctor has recommended that they do not go through the metal detector or have a handheld detector search, can request a pat-down by a TSA security officer instead. If mobility-impaired travellers are unable to get out of their wheelchairs, the chair can be inspected while they are in it. Otherwise, they will be assisted to walk through the detector.
Travellers with hearing disabilities do not need to remove their aids or the external part of a cochlear implant when going through security. If a hearing dog is used, it will remain with its owner at all times while going through the security checkpoint.
Mobility aids such as crutches or walkers that will fit into the x-ray machine must be x-rayed. White canes used by travellers with visual disabilities can be hand-inspected by a security officer before being returned so that the traveller is able to guide him or herself through the metal detector.
The terminal building
Airport porters known as skycaps are available to assist passengers with services including kerbside check-in, carrying baggage and wheelchair assistance. Travellers are advised to contact their airline to arrange for assistance from its skycaps and it is customary to tip a few dollars for services provided.
All public toilets are wheelchair-accessible, and companion restrooms can also be found Levels 1 and 3 of both terminals and at all four airside gate areas. These can be used by disabled travellers and their companions.
Luggage carts are available across the airport for a nominal fee, but cannot be taken through security. Electronic carts are not available.
All pay phones are accessible and have volume control settings. TTY video phones can be found at the Level 3 information booths at both the east and west ends in terminal A. Pagers and emergency phones are all hearing aid compatible and have volume control.
About the author:
Emma Firth has been writing professionally for 14 years, most recently for the Telegraph in the UK. She writes mostly on health, fitness and social media.