Barabara Jacobson

A Pioneer Remembered

It is with a heavy heart that we at Flying Wheels Travel inform you of the passing of Barbara Jacobson who died on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the age of 78. She and her husband Judd- who proceeded her in death – were pioneers in providing travel for people with disabilities.


Barbara and Judd began Flying Wheels Travel in 1970, years before the American’s Disabilities Act was passed. They pioneered accessible tours for people who used a wheelchair and opened the world of travel to hundreds.


Judd and Barbara met in Hawaii in 1968 when he was escorting a group of Minnesota farmers on a four-island tour of Hawaii for radio station KDHL, and Barbara was managing the office of TWA (Trans World Airlines) in Waikiki, the tourist center of Honolulu.


Barbara, who was born in England, subsequently moved to Judd’s home town of Owatonna, Minn. and they were married at Christmas of 1968. Judd worked for local radio station KDHL on air and in sales and marketing. As a Southern Minnesota radio personality, he escorted tours every winter to Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean accompanied by an attendant. Thus, with their wonderful combined experience in the travel industry, the Jacobsons opened their travel agency to provide corporate and vacation travel services to the people of southern Minnesota. At the same time, they also started Flying Wheels Travel in 1970, which specialized in travel for people with physical disabilities.


Barbara received the Condè Naste award for top travel specialist for people with disabilities in 2004-2006. In 2007, Condè Naste unfortunately discontinued this category.


We and hundreds of other people will be so ever grateful for all that Barbara Jacobson has done for us and the accessible travel industry.

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