Capitol Correspondence - 05.28.24

Enhanced Accessibility for Air Travelers with Disabilities Enacted in New Aviation Legislation

Share this page

People with disabilities are set to see significant improvements in air travel thanks to new changes included in the recently signed reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A new law requiring comprehensive training for airline workers assisting passengers who use wheelchairs is set to take effect, ensuring flight crew are prepared before boarding procedures and the storage of mobility devices. Additionally, airline websites, apps, and kiosks must now be accessible, and the FAA is tasked with reviewing evacuation procedures to ensure quick and safe deplaning for all passengers in emergencies.

Travelers with disabilities can now request seating accommodations for more leg room, proximity to restrooms, or to be seated with a companion. The legislation also ensures passengers are informed about the option to reserve onboard wheelchairs.

A provision inserted into the bill supported by ANCOR will require all medium and large airports to install or maintain at least one universal changing station in every terminal, with appropriate signage to guide users. A new pilot program will provide grants to airports to further improve accessibility.

The Department of Transportation must also submit a strategic roadmap to Congress within a year, evaluating the feasibility of restraining wheelchairs on commercial flights. If viable, a report detailing the economic and financial impacts of such seating arrangements will follow within two years.