On Thursday, June 8, Paralyzed Veterans of America joined forces with advocacy organizations to lend them a helping hand with the recently introduced Air Carrier Access Amendments Act of 2017 that is expected to reinforce the rights of airline passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility and take care of the frequently encountered gaps in air travel.
A quantum leap under President Ronald Reagan, ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) was signed into law back in 1986. It restricts discrimination based on a person's disability or lack of mobility during air travel. While access for disabled passengers underwent a radical overhaul with the help of ACAA, a slew of serious disability-related problems still recur in air-travel.
Just recently unveiled by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and co-sponsored by Senators Duckworth (D-IL), Markey (D-MA), Hassan (D-NH), and Blumenthal (D-CT), the ACAA would further tone up the original law's guardianship in order to confirm that airplanes are accessible, and more importantly ensure that people have favorable circumstances for their rights to be imposed and protected.
Back in 2016, over 30,000 passengers, which comprised a considerable number of Paralyzed Veterans of America members, registered disability-related complaints with airlines, National President David Zurfluh recalled. The iconic acquiescence of the Air Carrier Access Act more than thirty years ago banned discrimination against disabled passengers during air travel.
Regrettably, quite a few travelers with disabilities still come across broken equipment, absence or lack of seating accommodations and a bunch of other backbreaking challenges when making a journey by air. Mr. Zurfluh advised Congress to update this civil rights law without further delay.
Categorically, the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Amendments) Act will:
Shore up ACAA enforcement to incorporate definitive protections of the rights of disabled passengers, paired with a private right of action.
Ascertain that airplanes are designed bearing accommodation of people with disabilities in mind, and ensure airlines adhere to accessibility standards such as secured boarding and deplaning, announcements that are visually accessible and plenty of storage options for usable devices.
Better means of entry to sitting accommodations.
Close service gaps in air travel for disabled passengers. (Image: Peretz Partensky / flickr)