If you logged any air travel with your wheelchair in 2016, unfortunately, chances are that you were one of the 14,591 people reporting complaints involving a lack of wheelchair services. Despite federal law that has been on the books for over 30 years to ensure people with disabilities don’t face barriers when they fly, all too often, wheelchairs are damaged or destroyed, and worse yet, people sustain bodily injuries simply trying to board or deplane.
As United Spinal’s President and CEO, Jim Weisman, has said, “Fourteen thousand barriers harming wheelchair users who just want to fly like everyone else, sends one loud and clear message, Congress has more work to do.”
Thankfully, there is some good news on the horizon. Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin and Representative Jim Langevin of Rhode Island are both championing air travel rights for people with disabilities with the introduction of two bills, (Senate bill S. 1318 and House bill H.R. 5004, both called the Air Carriers Access Amendments Act
The bill puts more teeth in existing law, by:
- increasing penalties for damaged wheelchairs, and allowing air travelers to sue in court to recover damages.
- ensures higher standards for accessibility, safety and airport and airline employee training.
- help create a passengers with disabilities bill of rights along with a Federal advisory committee on the air travel needs of passengers with disabilities.
United Spinal Association wholeheartedly supports both these bills, but we need you, your family and friends to call your Members of Congress and ask them to please co-sponsor S. 1318/H.R. 5004, the Air Carriers Access Amendments Act.
Read The Position Paper (PDF): AIR CARRIER ACCESS AMENDMENTS ACT