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Congress Passes FAA Extension Including Provisions to Improve the Air Travel Experience for People with Disabilities

July 15, 2016

In mid-July, Congress passed and the President signed into law a bill that extends funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2017. Two provisions included in this law seek to improve air travel for people with disabilities. First, the law directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to move forward with long overdue regulations implementing the Air Carrier Access Act. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits disability-based discrimination in air travel and provides certain accommodations for passengers with disabilities. Second, the FAA extension calls for the Government Accountability Office to review air carrier training practices for their personnel and contractors and then calls for the DOT to disseminate training best practices to air carriers for use.

Before this bill passed, the House and Senate had been working on more comprehensive FAA reauthorization bills. The Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill included four disability-related provisions and the House’s FAA reauthorization included the provision encouraging ACAA regulations which was ultimately part of the House- and Senate-passed FAA extension. The Society appreciates Congress’s efforts to improve the air travel experience for people with disabilities and looks forward to working with other disability advocacy organizations and the DOT to ensure that these provisions are implemented effectively.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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