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 provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.