Author: AJ Willingham | CNN

Rumeysa Gelgi, the tallest living woman in the world, recently boarded a plane from her native Turkey to San Francisco.

It was not just any flight, however. This was the first Gelgiand one that emphasized the increasing importance of accessibility.

Gelgi, 25, stands 7 feet 0.7 inches tall. Its proportions are due to Weaver syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes bone overgrowth. She was Celebrity of Guinness World Records since she was a teenagerand stores the data in several size categories, including the longest fingers of a living person and the longest return of a living woman.

Gelgi travels regularly to share her story and uses her warm wit to spread a positive body attitude on social media. However, despite her international profile, she had never flown before. Like many people with Weaver syndrome, Gelgi uses aids to help her move around, and a long flight would require special accommodation for her extraordinary figure.

But in September, Gelgi finally took to the skies. In an Instagram post a few weeks later, she shared photos of the trip aboard Turkish Airlines, which became possible after the airline removed several seats on the plane so that Gelgi could comfortably rest on a stretcher on a 13-hour trip from Istanbul to California.

“A flawless journey from start to finish,” Gelgi he said on Instagram, praising Turkish Airlines staff and medical staff for their work. Gelgi said that while it was her first flight, “it will certainly not be my last.”

In her photos, Gelgi appears to be treated like a VIP, chatting with smiling staff on board the plane and enjoying a first class meal.

Gelgi, who is a computer programmer as well as a public spokesman, says she spends her time in San Francisco working with Guinness World Records.

CNN requested commentary from Turkish Airlines and Guinness World Records.

Making air travel accessible to all

Gelgi’s latest trip highlights the growing awareness of airline accessibility for people with physical disabilities and disabilities. Historically, air travel has been at least inconvenient for such travelers, and at worst offensive and painful.

CNN spoke to Linda Ristagno, Deputy Director of External Affairs for International Air Transport Association, which sets the global standards for air travel. Ristagno, which recently received the Open Doors Organization’s Disability Access Professional Award for her work, described what types of global and structural efforts are being made to improve accessibility for all travelers.

“We are committed to ensuring that all passengers can enjoy the freedom of air travel and we expect standards [among participating airlines and airports] be consistent so that everyone can receive the same level of aid, ”she said.

Ristagno says a recent meeting International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, has produced a historic resolution that will enable different parts of the industry to work together better to improve accessibility.

“This resolution encourages governments to work with airlines and disabled people’s organizations and all actors, including disabled travelers, to find solutions,” she said.

One of the greatest priorities that this resolution can help with is the principle of “universal design”, where accessibility is built into the very structure of buildings and mechanisms, not seen as an addition or modification.

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