Promoting accessible air travel at Miami International Airport

Ralph Cutié, Director and Chief Government Officer of the Miami-Dade Aviation Division, tells Worldwide Airport Evaluate how the division is dedicated to creating air journey accessible and the way they’re serving to passengers with lowered mobility (PRM) overcome obstacles.

MIAair Tour


The Miami-Dade Aviation Division, the operator of Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA), stays dedicated to its purpose of selling accessible journey and making certain everybody will get to benefit from the magic and marvel of flight, no matter their incapacity.

What we’re doing to advertise accessible journey  

In recognition of Nationwide Autism Consciousness Month in April 2023, Miami Worldwide Airport hosted its first post-pandemic MIA Airport Instruction and Readiness (MIAair) tour for greater than 40 youngsters with particular wants. The tour allowed members to stroll by means of the airport journey expertise from begin to end in a protected and managed atmosphere. Attendees included youngsters from the Kendale Lakes Elementary College’s behaviour administration class.

MIA was additionally the general winner of the 2021 Airport Accessibility Award in the course of the sixth Annual Airport Passengers with Lowered Mobility (PRM) Management Convention”

The youngsters, accompanied by their lecturers or guardians, practiced getting into the airport, getting boarding passes, going by means of safety, and boarding an American Airways aircraft. The programme additionally served as a studying expertise for airline and Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employees at MIA. Greater than 150 youngsters and adults with particular wants have participated within the excursions because the programme’s inception again in 2015.

The MIAair tour programme is only one initiative inside MyMIAccess, a various menu of companies, facilities, and knowledge for MIA passengers with disabilities which have gained nationwide and worldwide recognition. In July 2022, MIA acquired the Civil Rights Advocate and Associate Award from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which honours ADA coordinators and airport sponsors who’ve demonstrated excellence in assembly the letter and spirit of the Individuals with Disabilities Act and Part 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. MIA was additionally the general winner of the 2021 Airport Accessibility Award in the course of the sixth Annual Airport Passengers with Lowered Mobility (PRM) Management Convention, after incomes 50% of the votes from the digital convention’s 159 attendees from 42 international locations all over the world.

One other MyMIAccess programme is the airport’s accessibility lanes, which permit passengers with disabilities or restricted mobility arriving at MIA from international locations to request particular queueing help when travelling by means of the U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP) space.

If a passenger doesn’t request a wheelchair from their airline however nonetheless requires particular queueing help within the Customs space, they’ll full an accessibility lane request kind at MIA’s web site 48 hours prematurely of their arrival. As soon as they arrive at Customs and supply their title to a Miami-Dade Aviation Division (MDAD) worker, they are going to be directed to the accessibility lane for CBP processing. Submittal of the request kind gives entry to the particular help accessibility lane however doesn’t assure expedited service. Passengers with restricted mobility are additionally inspired to request a wheelchair immediately from their airline

Our on-site amenities to assist PRM

Throughout Mobility Consciousness Month in Might 2021, Miami-Dade County leaders and advocates for the native incapacity neighborhood held a plug-in ceremony to rejoice MIA’s set up of 10 new wheelchair charging stations. MIA is among the first U.S. airports to put in charging stations, which exceeds the essential Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) airport necessities. The charging stations can be found at eight post-security and two pre-security all through the airport. Places for the wheelchair charging stations and MIA’s different accessibility companies can be found on the airport’s MyMIAccess net web page.

Wheelchair charging station MIA

Wheelchair charging stations at MIA airport. CREDIT: MIA

In November 2020, MIA turned one of many first 10 U.S. airports and 34 worldwide to offer sunflower lanyards freed from cost to travellers with hidden disabilities. The lanyards, which act as a discreet indicator to airport staff that these passengers may have some additional time in the course of the journey course of, had been unveiled throughout a ribbon-cutting ceremony with neighborhood companions for MIA’s second multi-sensory room.

The purpose of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard world initiative is to boost consciousness that some disabilities, similar to autism, listening to loss, and PTSD, are usually not seen. MIA staff have additionally acquired customer support coaching concerning the lanyards and greatest practices for serving travellers with hidden disabilities.

Additionally in November 2020, MIA opened its second multi-sensory room in its South Terminal close to gate J3, the place younger passengers with cognitive and developmental disabilities can discover a calming place to loosen up in the course of the journey expertise. MIA’s different multi-sensory room is in its North Terminal, close to Gate D31. The rooms embrace sensory-soothing fixtures similar to an aquatic bubble tub, wall puzzles, cushioned seats, and a light-weight projector, all inside a dimly lit house. The rooms are open seven days every week from 06:00 to 22:00.

Lastly, MIA has 4 service animal reduction areas (SARA) which might be simply accessible to all passengers past safety, so service animals and pets can do their enterprise with out having to exit and re-enter the safety checkpoint.

Multi sensory room

Multi-sensory room at MIA. CREDIT: MIA

The SARA amenities are outfitted with a patch of Astroturf, two sprinkler heads, and a drainage system to keep up cleanliness, in addition to cleansing provides for homeowners to wash up after. If MIA’s four-legged travellers wish to get exterior the airport for some contemporary South Florida air, MIA additionally has three outside animal reduction areas exterior of its North, Central, and South terminals.

Selling accessibility assist digitally

In recognition of Blindness Consciousness Month in October 2019, representatives from Miami-Dade County, Aira, and the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired gathered at MIA to announce the airport’s addition to the Aira Airport Community – a free cellular service that permits blind or low-vision travellers to obtain up-to-the-minute flight data, navigate safety, use self-service kiosks, discover eating places and companies, determine baggage, and extra.

With simply the faucet of a button, Aira customers join with actual, extremely skilled professionals who can see their environment by means of their cellular machine’s digital camera. The app is free to obtain from the Apple App and Google Play shops, and due to Aira Entry, the service is free to make use of at MIA. 

Receiving worldwide recognition

In recognition of our dedication to prioritising and making certain an accessible, protected, and inclusive travelling expertise for passengers with disabilities, MIA was accredited by the Airports Council Worldwide (ACI) Accessibility Enhancement Accreditation (AEA) programme in Might 2023.

MIA is the primary airport in Florida and the second in america to be accredited by the programme, which was created by ACI in September 2022 primarily based on current worldwide greatest practices and suggestions, together with these within the ACI Airport and Individuals with Incapacity Handbook. The AEA programme additionally acquired enter from world airport members, trade companions, and accessibility advocacy teams.

We agree with ACI that it’s essential for airports to make sure that they prioritise their nationwide rules on all issues associated to accessibility, security, and inclusiveness of travellers, airport employees, and the visiting public, when relevant, whereas repeatedly enhancing entry for all and aiming to take away boundaries within the airport expertise.

Ralphie CutieRalph Cutié is the Director and Chief Government Officer of the Miami-Dade Aviation Division. He oversees operations at Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA) and 4 normal aviation (GA) airports within the Miami space, which collectively generate $31.9 billion in enterprise income and assist greater than 275,000 direct and oblique jobs. MIA leads the way in which, dealing with greater than 50 million passengers and greater than 2.7 million tons of cargo yearly, putting it amongst America’s busiest worldwide passenger and cargo airports

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