Atlanta, GA,
14:33 PM

Air Carrier Access Amendments Act Strengthens Rights of Airline Passengers with Disabilities

Proposed legislation would close common service gaps during air travel.

Advocacy organizations, including Paralyzed Veterans of America, have come together to support the recently introduced Air Carrier Access Amendments Act of 2017. The new federal legislation will strengthen the rights of U.S. airline passengers with disabilities and close common service gaps in air travel.

“This bill lays the foundation for the next generation of air travel for people with disabilities, like current disability rights laws have done for the built environment, ground transportation, technology, communications, services and supports,” said Mark Johnson, Shepherd Center director of advocacy.

The landmark Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), signed in 1986, prohibited discrimination based on disability in air travel and led to improved access for passengers with disabilities. The new legislation would strengthen the original law’s protections to ensure that airplanes are accessible, and that individuals have increased opportunities for their rights to be enforced and protected.

“The ACAA is very important in reaching equality,” said Minna Hong, Shepherd Center spinal cord injury peer support manager. “There has to be a personal buy-in from the airline industry and its customers. This may mean better training on both ends. The consumer has to understand their rights and be able to explain their needs so they can be assisted.”

The Air Carrier Access Amendments Act would ensure airplanes are designed to accommodate people with disabilities and ensure that airlines meet accessibility standards, including safe and effective boarding and deplaning, visually accessible announcements and better stowage options for assistive devices.

More information on the new legislation is available here.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America provides information here.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.