Disability Travel - Any experience from the new IATA code DPNA?
Sep 12, 10, 12:02 pm
I have a 7 years old son with mental retardation and Autism.
Last time we arrived to US after 10 hours flight and was facing 1 hours waiting in line to pass immigration he freaked out, lying on the floor, screaming, kicking others in line, spitting on the floor etc.. as he does not look disabled, everybody just looked angry at him due to his "bad behavior". I tried to explain the situation for a TSA officer, but they didn´t care and just asked me to get back in line..
anyway, I was so glad to see that IATA has now introduced a new SSR instead of the standard wheelchair services.
the new Special Service Request element is for disable passengers with intellectual or development disability needing assistance and is called DPNA.
We are arriving to Dulles (IAD) airport after a long flight and are to continue ti LAS. I will be travelling with my wife, and three kids (age 4, 7 and 9 where the 7 years old is the one with special need). What kind of service can I expect?
This is new to me - I'll ask around. I look forward to seeing other responses.
Sep 13, 10, 1:20 pm
i am looking forward to any information that you can provide. i did search the fliertalk and the only think I could find was when someone had an extract from British airways internal documents:
(ref Customer Service Manual Section A33 Additional Needs Passengers)
In May 2008 a new IATA keyword, “DPNA”, (disabled passenger with intellectual or developmental disability needing assistance) was introduced. This keyword is to be used for a passenger with an intellectual or developmental disability. Use of this keyword will guarantee appropriate assistance at the airports of departure, arrival and transit.
“DPNA” will only be used for a self-reliant passenger with an intellectual or developmental disability, not for passengers who have mental ill health.
Examples of disabilities that are covered by this keyword are Alzheimers, Downs Syndrome, Autism, Dementia, Learning Difficulties (other) and Cognitive Impairment. However please note this is not an exhaustive list.
the SSR is available in system but very few agents seems to be aware of its existence and I am interested to know if airports and airlines are handeling this as a standard WCHS, WCHC request or if they actually are doing something else.
In our reservation in now mentioned :
SSR DPNA SK NN1 CHILD WITH AUTISM AND MENTAL RETARDATION. CAN BE NON-COOPERATIVE/S3
I have heared cases where the captain does consider such a message as a safety risk and has denied boarding, so I hope this will not be the case.
Yeah, that does sound like a possible two-edged sword. I'll let you know what (if anything) I get from the feelers I put out.
Sep 13, 10, 8:46 pm
For what's it worth...The Captain has final authority onboard and has to consider the safety of his crew members and passengers...As a Consultant for several airlines in Passenger Disability I can attest that there have been several incidents involving the DPNA SSR that have been both favorable and unfavorable. The Airlines are required to make sure the DPNA has an "escort" or a represenative making sure things are fine between connecting flights and et cetera kind of like a WHCR but there have been some documented incidents of denied boarding due to the DPNA being "unfit" to fly at the time of the flight.
Apr 7, 11, 4:47 pm
I'm an airline employee at the airport. When we see DPNA it tells us there is a passenger with a non-mobility, non-visual, and non-auditory disability. Our response is to try to find the passenger and ask them what if any assistance they might need. We then pass along that information to the inflight crew as necessary.
Aug 25, 12, 1:31 pm
Sorry for dredging up an old thread, but I figured it was worth it.
Any updated experiences with this?
I need to call the airlines and get some kind of notation on our reservation, and it seems like this may be the right one, but I don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot, either.
Dec 20, 12, 5:06 am
We have used this in various flights the passed 2 yesrs in Europe, US and Asia.
It has been much of hit and miss. Most peopel (travel agents as well as gate agents and crew) still do not have a clue what this means. Sometimes, as mentioned before, we have been approached and asked what assitance we need, in other cases (in asia) this has been equal a wheelchair or just ignored.
My experience is that it is worth having it in the reservation in case something happens. If for example flights are cancelled the note in the reservation usually allows priority in any rebooked flight (happened twice).
For example our UA LAS-ORD was severly delayed and while everyone was forced to wait kindly, they did re-book us to an AA flight. The ability to not be able to wait is one if the main issues in autism and I assume the fact that after 2 hours waiting he started to hit the gate staff, scream, spit etc could also have played a role in their decision to "ousource" us to another airline :rolleyes: