US Senator Urges Commerce Committee to Improve Air Transportation Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, DC: A U.S. Senator Cory Booker sent a letter to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chairman U.S. Sen. John Thune and ranking member U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson urging the Committee to incorporate additional language to guarantee improved accessibility for people with disabilities through the nation’s air system in the Federal Aviation Administration authorization.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol“The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986 sought to address the needs of this population by prohibiting discriminatory treatment of persons with disabilities in air transportation, but after decades of implementation, these provisions must be updated to reflect modern times.  Air travelers with disabilities continue to face extreme, unnecessary barriers that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis,” the Senator said.

“Numerous claims against airline carriers have been dismissed in court when brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, leaving many individuals aggrieved by an onerous petition process within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and nowhere to turn when their complaint is not adequately addressed.  We must and can do better,” the Senator concludes.

People with disabilities continue to face extreme barriers to equal access to the nation’s air system. A 2015 report to Congress found 27,556 accessibility-related complaints filed by passengers to the (USDOT) in 2014, half (12,977) of which pertained to failure to provide adequate assistance to those in wheelchairs. Airline passenger D’Arcee Neal is one of the individuals who has suffered neglectful treatment during his travel.

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