DOT Releases Final Rule on Accessible Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft
July 26, 2023
Today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released its long-awaited final rule on Accessible Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft
. Its release marked the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The rule broadly applies to two types of single aisle aircraft, those that seat 60 or more passengers and those that seat 125 or more passengers.
For single aisle aircraft that seat 60 or more passengers, aircraft have 3 years to implement training and information services for people with disabilities. Specifically, these trainings are for on-board wheelchair (OBW) use, storage, and assisting passengers to and from the lavatory using an OBW. Additionally, information on accessible lavatory features must be on the airline website and in the plane. The rule also clarifies when these aircraft can display the international symbol of accessibility on lavatories.
The rule specifies several changes for single aisle aircraft that seat 125 or more passengers. These aircraft have 3 years to ensure at least one lavatory onboard has accessible features including grab bars, accessible faucets and controls, accessible call buttons and door locks. Aircraft must have minimum obstruction for an OBW and have an available visual barrier for privacy on board the craft. The rule also specifies several requirements for OBW’s such as locking wheels, safe transfer to and from an aircraft seat, and allow partial entry into a lavatory to permit an OBW to toilet transfer.
Finally, one of the biggest changes applies to new single aisle aircraft that seat 125 or more passengers. New single aisle aircraft ordered 10 years after the rule (or delivered after 12 years) must have at least 1 accessible bathroom that can fit a person with a disability and an attendant. This is a big win for the disability community as the proposed rule
gave an 18–20-year window to implement this change.