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What We Are Trying to Accomplish

  1. Protect the rights of people with disabilities as guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  2. Make air travel more accessible for people with disabilities. 

Why It’s Important

  1. Enacted more than twenty-five years ago, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and ensures certain rights and access when it comes to employment, government agencies and facilities, public transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications. Enforcement of the ADA is vital to ensuring that people with disabilities are independent and can fully participate in society.
  2. Congress passed the Air Carrier Access Act in 1986 to guarantee people with disabilities receive consistent and non-discriminatory treatment during air travel. While progress has been made, people with disabilities still face many challenges when traveling by air including damaged mobility equipment, difficult boarding and de-planing and inaccessible lavatories. 

Happening at the National Level

  1. ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620): This bill—which the Society and hundreds of disability organizations oppose—would create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to enforce their rights under the ADA and access public accommodations like grocery stores and doctors’ offices. While public accommodations have had many years to come into compliance with the ADA, H.R. 620 would put the burden back on individuals with disabilities to determine what violations have occurred, provide the business with notice of the violation and afford them time to correct the problem. H.R. 620 has passed through a House committee and could be brought to the House floor. There is no such bill in the Senate. 
  2. Accessible Air Travel: 
    • The Air Carrier Access Amendments Act (S. 1318) would take important steps to make air travel more accessible for people with disabilities including: developing standards for airplanes to be more accessible; improved training for air carrier personnel and contractors to better assist people with disabilities; strengthened enforcement mechanisms including the ability for individuals to file a civil suit; and creating a U.S. Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on the Air Travel Needs of Passengers with Disabilities.
    • Disability-related provisions have been included in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill and the Transportation Security Administration Modernization Act.
    • Regulations are pending related to required reporting by airlines of lost or damaged wheelchairs and scooters, as well as requiring accessible lavatories on single aisle airplanes.

Take Action Now

Share you travel story on the Air Access website.