Traveling with Limb Loss
It quite natural and common to be fearful of your first travel after an amputation. Keep in mind that most firms involved in providing transportation and housing for travelers have made special arrangements to cater to the needs of people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, travelers with disabilities cannot afford to be nearly as carefree in making their travel arrangements as can able-bodied people. Travel-related firms simply don't provide the same quality of special-needs services in all locations. Therefore, the challenge for travelers with disabilities is to foresee their special needs in detail and check carefully to ensure those needs are met every step of the way. The watchwords are: plan, check, and double-check. Unfortunately, even when this is done, things don't always turn out as anticipated. Travelers should know how to protest and assert their rights when things go wrong. Travelers must also know how to make-do and how to survive with minimal discomfort when things don't turn out as expected. That includes knowing when to stop protesting and start cooperating to your benefit. Remember you are the guest.
The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) has a Fact Sheet which can be extremely helpful for anyone traveling with limb loss. Click HERE to read that Fact Sheet.
TSA Transportation and Security Association
Click HERE for the main TSA website. It should contain the most current information.
The TSA contact phone number is 1-866-289-9673
or they may be contacted via e-mail at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
The Customer Service Manager for the State of Missouri (including St. Louis) is Debra A. Thomas.
Her phone is 314-656-1160/1153 and her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because TSA policies and procedures change frequently, links to TSA web pages will be provided rather than trying to update this page each time TSA changes a policy.
TSA established a coalition of disability-related groups and organizations to help the agency understand the concerns of persons with disabilities and medical conditions. These groups have assisted TSA with integrating the needs of persons with disabilities into airport operations. The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) is part of that coalition.
Every person and item must be screened before entering each secure boarding area. The manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger's disability and any equipment he or she may need to bring through the security checkpoint.
Detailed information about the screening process as it applies to persons with a disability may be found HERE.
Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.
The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
Of course there is a webpage TSA Cares which contains additional information as well as a few other methods of contact.
National Limb Loss Information Center
An extremely helpful subset of the ACA is the National Limb Loss Information Center This index page provides access to a tremendous wealth of information. If you can't find what you are looking for, give them a call at 1-888/AMP-KNOW and they will be glad to help. My experience is they have always sent a lot of material in response to any question I had.
The National Limb Loss Information Center also has assembled a list of useful links for anyone traveling with limb loss. Just go to the Information Center and search for travel with limb loss.
Rail Excursions and Vacations
The best starting point to gather information about Amtrak services for the handicapped is the Amtrak website. A particularly useful page from the Amtrak website is Amtrak Reservations for Accessible Travel. Of particular interest is the following statement: "Amtrak offers a 15 percent rail fare discount to passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility and a traveling companion."
To understand some of the variety that Amtrak has to offer, go to Amtrak Information.
By using the menu across the top of the page, you can explore vacations, trips, and tours, which are available from Amtrak. Some of the tours also utilize special rail systems like the Grand Canyon Railway
The top menu item Our Destinations provides a complete view of the Amtrak routes.
Another menu on the right side of the page accesses a lot information about rail travel on Amtrak. Be sure to check out the link to Special Needs and Accessibility
These next two websites provide links to a large collection of tours, excursions,
and vacations in the US, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world.
Many of the US trips are via Amtrak.
Vacations by Rail
This next website is a bit harder to use, because it trys to cover everything related to trains.
Directory of Rail Websites
The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad is a
three hour accessible tour tracing the history of the oil industry in PA.
Many specialty tours of this kind may be found by using Google.
The downtown St. Louis, MO station is described here.
STL Amtrak Station
It seems to be completely accessible and it has 116 long-term parking spaces.
The Kirkwood, MO station is described here. Kirkwood Amtrak Station
It seems a bit more spartan then the downtown station, but probably is okay. There are 40 long-term parking spaces. However, the only train that stops in Kirkwood is Missouri River Runner to Kansas City.
As part of the Trails and Rails program, a National Park Service guide from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is onboard from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri.
Special Amtrak Trains
The Texas Eagle
Looking for a rail trip to the West Coast. Here are details about The Texas Eagle which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.