The DOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Accessible Air Travel contains nine primary rule clarifications, expansions and proposals that the Department hopes will improve the experience of disabled airline passengers who use a wheelchair to aid in their mobility. To learn more about the proposal, and how to submit public comment, read the Wheelchair Travel summary on the DOT NPRM for accessible air travel.

On March 28, I hosted a conversation to discuss these proposed changes to civil rights regulation with readers — the Accessible Travel Chat was well attended, and people had a lot to say and share about their vision for accessibility in air travel. We only managed to get through the first half of the discussion, which is available to watch here:

Readers who participated in the conversation raised many important points which I will consider in preparing my own response to the DOT’s NPRM.

Part two of this discussion is likely to be even more valuable, as we’ll discuss proposals 5 through 8, which include the following:

  • Passengers’ right to the prompt return of a delayed (left behind) wheelchair, and the responsibility of airlines when a passenger experiences harm as a result
  • Assert that passengers have a right to choose their own repair technician when a wheelchair is mishandled, plus how disputes between airlines and passengers should be resolved
  • Establish a clear requirement for airlines to provide a loaner wheelchair when the passenger’s own device is damaged or destroyed
  • Increase the frequency and scope of required training for airline staff who assist passengers or load wheelchairs

This conversation will take place on Thursday, April 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET (New York time). Registration is required and you can Register for the Accessible Travel Chat on Zoom. Please add your voice and experience to what is sure to be a vibrant discussion filled with many perspectives.

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