In anticipation of the peak holiday travel season and in celebration of the 37th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), the US Department of Transportation (DOWRY) announced that it had launched a campaign on October 5, #AccessibleAirTravelto raise awareness of the right of disabled air travelers to air travel safe, dignified and accessible.
An estimated 5.5 million Americans use a wheelchair, and many of them face barriers when it comes to air travel. “Air passengers with disabilities deserve to travel safely and with dignity”said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “DOT is proud to partner with the aviation industry and members of the disability community to ensure all travelers with disabilities know their rights. »
Countryside #AccessibleAirTravel will promote the Declaration of air passenger rights disabled of the DOT through a quick and informative video that allows people with disabilities to understand and assert their right to safe, dignified and accessible air travel. DOT is partnering on this campaign with airlines, airports, ticket agents and disability organizations and these partners are sharing the video on their respective websites and social media channels in October.
There Bill of Rights was developed based on input from the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of passengers with disabilities, national disability organizations, U.S. and foreign air carriers, airport operators, service providers contractors, aircraft manufacturers, wheelchair manufacturers and national representatives. organizations representing disabled veterans. The Bill of Rights was developed to enable air travelers with disabilities to understand their rights and to ensure that airline personnel and their contractors respect these rights.
The ACAA, signed into law on October 2, 1986, prohibits the discrimination with regard to persons with disabilities in commercial air transport. Its adoption represented a decisive turning point for non-discrimination in air transport. Since the adoption of the ACAA, the Department has issued numerous regulations to remove barriers to accessible air travel.
In addition to the campaign announced on October 5, the DOT has taken a number of measures to improve transportation for people with disabilities.
-DOT awarded billions of dollars in the bipartisan DOT Infrastructure Act President Biden For modernize airport terminals and ensure they serve all passengers and workers, including by adding wheelchair rampsof the bathroom accessible, etc. The infrastructure law also includes the first-ever federal program to modernize old rail and subway stations, adding elevators, ramps and other improvements.
-To overcome many of the significant obstacles and challenges faced by passengers who use wheelchairs, the Department has initiated a regulation proposing, among other actions, to make it an automatic violation of the Department’s ACAA regulations to do so for airlines to mismanage the Wheelchair of a passenger. This notice of proposed rulemaking would also strengthen training requirements for airline personnel who provide hands-on assistance in transferring passengers and handling wheelchairs.
–Last month, the DOT announced thatUnited Airlines would implement industry-leading actions that go beyond federal requirements to improve the air travel experience for passengers who use wheelchairs. This action is part of an agreement with the DOT that follows a lengthy investigation by the department into a disability complaint filed against United by Engracia Figueroa.
In July 2023, the DOT finalized a rule that requires airlines to make more accessible bathroom new single-aisle aircraft. This final rule is the result of an agreement reached by the ACCESS Advisory Committee, which included representatives from airlines, individuals with disabilities, and other interested parties. Under the latter rule, airlines are required to take various measures to improve the accessibility of these toilets, without increasing their size in the short term. Additionally, in the long term, airlines are required to provide accessible toilets large enough to allow a passenger with a disability, and their companion, to approach, enter and maneuver within it if necessary. to use the airplane toilet.
On July 11, 2023, Secretary Buttigieg delivered a speech at the White House celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and urged Congress to pass legislation allowing passengers with disabilities to hire passengers. legal proceedings against airlines that violate their rights.
The DOT has begun laying the groundwork for a potential rule that would allow passengers to stay in their own chair rolling when they take the plane.
DOT works with industry, academia, and federal partners to encourage vehicles of the future – including automated vehicles, electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure – to be designed in an inclusive manner.
The DOT is committed to ensuring that air travel is safe and accessible and to improving the travel experience for people with disabilities. Air travelers who experience problems related to a disability can file a complaint with the Department. The department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection investigates every disability complaint it receives.