Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, reintroduced the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act with Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN). This legislation would protect and expand the rights of airplane passengers with disabilities, improve air travel safety, and close service gaps that passengers with disabilities frequently encounter in air travel. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
"People with disabilities shouldn't have to face extra obstacles when they travel," said Rep. Titus. "They deserve equal access to our airports and airplanes. This legislation will expand their rights and safety while making air travel accessible and accommodating for all."
“This measure protects the rights of the flying public with disabilities and will improve safety for these passengers and everyone else,” said Rep. Cohen. “As the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, I am proud to support legislation that seeks to make travel more accommodating for those living with disabilities.”
“I’ve heard firsthand from Wisconsinites who have had their wheelchairs and assistive devices that are critical means to their freedom and independence damaged by airlines when traveling,” said Sen. Baldwin. “We must do better to ensure individuals with disabilities can travel knowing they will be treated fairly, and that’s why I’m proud to reintroduce the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act. This legislation will enhance the safety and rights that airline passengers with disabilities, including our veterans, need and deserve.”
For over 35 years, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) has prohibited discrimination based on disability in air travel. Despite that progress, too many travelers with disabilities encounter significant barriers, such as damaged assistive devices and wheelchairs, delayed assistance, unclear communications, and lack of onboard accommodations.
The Air Carrier Access Amendments Act will protect the rights of disabled airplane passengers, improve air travel safety, and ensure individuals with disabilities have equal access to the skies by:
- Requiring the Secretary of Transportation to assess civil penalties for Air Carrier Access Act violations and refer patterns of discrimination to the Department of Justice;
- Granting individuals with disabilities a private right of action in civil court;
- Requiring the Secretary of Transportation to formulate standards to address effective boarding and deplaning, visually accessible announcements, in-flight entertainment, seating accommodations, lavatories, and stowage options for assistive devices; Five years after the standards are finalized, airlines would need to operate aircraft that comply with them.
- Ensuring all covered gates, counters, ticketing areas, and customer services desks are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
This legislation is supported by the following organizations:
Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Cure Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, National Association of the Deaf, American Council of the Blind, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Jewish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), I AM ALS (IAA), Epilepsy Foundation of America, All Wheels Up, National Federation of the Blind, Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network, Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), United Spinal Association, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), The American Legion, Blinded Veterans Association, Judith Heumann LLC, AMVETS, ALS Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
More information about the legislation can be found here.