My other frustration is the baby-changing tables in the accessible stall. Needless to say, it takes a while to change a baby, which means someone in a wheelchair must have an additional wait for the stall.
Some years ago I traveled with one of my sisters for the first time, and I told her that every time we visit the airport restroom, the accessible stall will be occupied by someone changing their clothes, reading a book, or just someone (not a wheelchair user or someone with an apparent disability) using it. What I predicted came true--she couldn't believe it.
What makes it more frustrating is that I cannot walk and so can't use the restroom on an airplane. If, due to a connecting flight, I don't have time to wait for the accessible stall to be vacated, I might not be able to use an accessible restroom for hours. The best solution to this issue was knocking on the door and stating my need.
When I was working, the accessible stall often was occupied by someone with no apparent disability who was reading a book. This often meant I had to delay using the bathroom.
While the frustrations continue, I think it would help if the stalls were identified as accessible as a reminder to others.
I have read your magazine for years and always find it helpful and enjoyable. Keep up the good work.
I share Mr. Hoover's feelings but think in my experience a lot of it is just ignorance.
Since the stalls are unmarked and most people are not that aware of handicap issues, why not use the "best" stall? Maybe Paralyzed Veterans of America should print and sell some decals users can put on the doors of handicap stalls so it is clear they are reserved for people with mobility issues. I doubt many merchants/ businesses would balk at an official-looking decal on their handicap stalls.
Fun story: I was in a restroom at a Chicago airport. The handicap stall was taken, but an "attendant" (or janitor?) saw me, banged on the stall door and told the occupant to get out of there because it was a wheelchair stall. The occupant said he was "busy," and the attendant threatened to go in and drag him out of there if he wasn't out in 30 seconds. The fellow sheepishly came out and moved to the next stall.
Richard Hoover is right on about airport restrooms and their use by other than disabled persons.
My frustration is with the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. It has numerous self-contained restrooms for us, but it is rare that an airport or airline employee is not using it. I have emailed my complaints, but with encouragement from this article I am going to start calling until change happens.
As a paraplegic for the past 20 years, I, too, am constantly running into non-wheelchair users who use the accessible restrooms.
I find it annoying if I see them enter when a vacant standard stall is empty, but I rarely time the event like that.
Richard Hoover wants even more government control of our lives by hoping they will read his article and "do something about it." Well, I say that's ridiculous. Why can't people stand up for their own beliefs and directly confront the offenders coming out of the stalls instead of needing Congress to do it for them?
We have too much government control in this country already. We don't need more, especially of this nature.
Las Cruces, N.M.
Editor's note: For additional comments on the restroom issue, visit PNOnline at pvamag.com.