First, let me just say: I’m not a lawyer. But to me, the laws on ticket sales for ADA (“handicap”) seating read straight-forward.
“Venues are required to sell tickets for accessible seats in the same manner and under the same conditions as all other ticket sales. Tickets for accessible seats must be sold…during the same stages of sales (pre-sales…) as non-accessible seats.” – ada.gov
Here’s what happened.
My wife was in charge of reserving pre-sale Coldplay tickets for a group of us, including my brother Ian, who uses a wheelchair. The concert is at Lincoln Financial Field (LFF) and tickets are also available through Ticketmaster.
She found that ADA seating was not available during pre-sale. Both Ticketmaster and LFF told her this. Legally, Ticketmaster may be off the hook because the law says “venues,” not “third parties.” So LFF is the one in trouble.
Let’s talk about Ticketmaster first. Even if they’re not legally responsible for selling pre-sale ADA seats, it’s unethical and discriminatory not to.
My wife posted on Ticketmaster’s Facebook page, tweeted at them, and got no response. At the same time, she was making phone calls.
Hours later, she got the tickets through LFF, which probably makes them legally protected too.
The problem is that it’s a hassle for folks who need ADA seating to get their tickets, and it’s not just at LFF. This is a common occurrence (see the Facebook comments above).
To me, it feels like Ticketmaster and LFF are saying, “You’re in a wheelchair? Oh, you have to wait in line behind all of the able-bodied people.” To me, they’re ableists (for another example, see here).
Why can’t people who need accessible seating buy tickets when everybody else does instead of waiting an extra week?
Do those people have less rights?