If you’re a football fan like me, you’re more than aware that the Super Bowl is fast approaching! While chances are you weren’t able to dig into very deep pockets for those coveted tickets, you may have encountered problems or experienced frustration when trying to buy tickets for wheelchair accessible seats at a sports event, concert, or other event at a theater or stadium. The problem is that every venue around the world has different seating arrangements and different methods for buying tickets. Here are some suggestions for making the ticket buying process easier for accessible seats at your next event.
The first thing to do is visit the venue’s website. You should be able to find out what the level of accessibility is, to include where wheelchair seating is located and how to get to them (i.e. elevator locations). You should also be able to view the seat map, which should show where the wheelchair seats are located relative to the stage or field. Pay very close attention to the seat map because you want to determine the configuration of both wheelchair seats and companion seats if you’ll be attending the event with other people.
Adequate companion seating (or lack thereof) is often one of the most frustrating aspects of picking and buying seats for an event. Some venues, like the Amway Center in Orlando, have ample companion seating in the form of folding and movable chairs. Other places, like the Dr. Phillips Center (also in Orlando) have what looks like fixed theatre seats, but can actually be detached and removed. Then you have places like baseball or football stadiums that have bleachers or fixed seats. If you’re attending with more than one wheelchair user, sitting together could be difficult (or impossible). Your best bet is to call the venue to confirm what the seating configuration is to determine if it will suit the needs of your party.
Then comes the process of actually buying tickets. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, venues in the US that sell tickets online for events should have a system set up where guests can purchase wheelchair accessible seats the same way – and with the same ease – as regular seats. Sadly this is rarely the case. The venue website will indicate how to buy tickets, and whether or not you can purchase tickets for wheelchair seating online. If the venue uses Ticketmaster, you’re in luck. Ticketmaster doesn’t accommodate wheelchair seat purchases for every event, but when it does, the process is very easy. In many cases, you will have to call the box office to order your tickets. This is where it comes in handy to have the seating chart in front of you when you make the call.
Sometimes a venue offers you the option of purchasing a parking pass in conjunction with your ticket. This is really convenient, but you want to make sure that accessible parking is available at whatever lot your purchase a pass for. If it’s a parking garage or standard lot, there will likely be accessible parking. But what happens if you need a blue space and they’re all occupied when you arrive? You may want to call the venue to ask if you’re entitled to a refund if you can’t get an accessible parking spot the day of the event, and what alternate parking options exist in case this situation arises.
Are you such a huge fan that you’re willing to travel to see your favorite performer or team? Contact me at Spin the Globe/Travel for event package options!