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Society Supports Provisions to Improve Air Travel for People with Disabilities

April 19, 2016

The National MS Society--along with several other disability organizations including the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the United Spinal Association and Easter Seals--has supported provisions that would help improve air travel for people with disabilities and have been included in Congress's bills to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The House of Representatives worked on a bill that would reauthorize the FAA and included one disability provision led by Representative Larsen (WA-2) that would require the FAA to move forward with a rulemaking on accessible airplane lavatories. This bill stalled in the House earlier this year.

In its FAA reauthorization bill, the Senate has included four disability-related provisions that would require: a study of airport accessibility best practices for individuals with disabilities, limited mobility, or visual or hearing impairments; a study to determine the ways individuals who use wheelchairs can be accommodated through in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems; a report on air carrier training policies related to assistance for persons with disabilities; and establishment of an advisory committee for the air travel needs of people with disabilities. Senators Nelson (FL) and Blumenthal (CT) also filed Society-supported amendments to provide increased enforcement of the protections available to travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA); these amendments, however, were not included. 

The Senate is expected to approve the reauthorization bill and then send it to the House of Representatives to be considered. The Society thanks Senators Thune (SD), Nelson (FL) and Blumenthal (CT) and Representative Larsen (WA-2) for their leadership in helping improve air travel for people with disabilities.

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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