Originally Posted: July 30, 2021
While catching a flight remains a simple part of life for most people, those flying as a wheelchair user may find flying a daunting proposition. While airlines are required to assist in making it possible to fly, it’s often not a pleasant process. Slings, hoists, and slide boards make the whole experience rather undignified, and all too often can end up with wheelchairs becoming damaged or broken, or even the passenger getting hurt.
“Airlines need to recognize that each of their passengers need to be treated with dignity,” SMU senior Brady Martin says. “Some call air travel a luxury and believe that we are privileged if we have the opportunity to travel by air. However, in the globalizing 21st century, air travel is often a necessity.”
Recognizing this inequity, Brady Martin is teaming up with All Wheels Up, the only organization in the world crash testing wheelchair tie downs and wheelchairs for commercial flight, for his 2021 Maguire Public Service Fellowship project.
“So many individuals with disabilities are unable to sit in standard airplane seats and therefore are unable to travel to distant locations,” Brady says. “I believe that it is the right of every individual to travel freely.”
Brady’s passion for disability rights advocacy stems from his relationship with his friend Danny who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and voluntary muscle movement. Brady says that for the past 10 years, he has witnessed the everyday challenges that Danny faces as a wheelchair user. This past summer, Brady spoke to Danny about his experience flying to Hawaii. READ MORE