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TSA Launches Helpline For Disabled And Special Needs Travelers

Tsa New Helpline

First Posted: 12/23/11 09:30 AM ET Updated: 12/23/11 02:59 PM ET

Just ahead of the Christmas travel rush, the Transportation Security Administration launched Thursday a hotline intended to assist disabled and other travelers with special needs.

The helpline, TSA Cares, aims to provide specific information on screening procedures and policies to assist travelers in negotiating security checkpoints.

The toll-free number is 1-855-787-2227.

“This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport," TSA chief John Pistole says in a statement from the agency.

The agency has repeatedly made headlines in recent years for its ham-fisted screenings of passengers with walkers, in wheelchairs and using colostomy and urostomy bags.

In a call to the hotline late Wednesday, a reporter for The Huffington Post reached a live TSA representative after just two rings. The woman, who would only give her name as Ruth and said she wasn't authorized to speak to the media, helpfully offered the phone number for the agency's public affairs office in response to questions.

In a statement, the TSA suggests "that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary."

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Filed by Paul Brady  |