Airlines Promise New Protections for Passenger Accessibility

November 3, 2022

The major U.S. carriers say they are now committing to a number of internal reforms to improve airline accessibility for flyers requiring a mobility device or other accommodations. 

This includes things like more training for employees, providing wheelchair assistance, and making sure that boarding and deplaning processes are as smooth as possible. The airlines are hoping these changes will help make air travel more comfortable and accessible for everyone.

In a letter released by Airlines for America, the heads of 7 U.S. carriers are pledging that all flyers will be able to travel without difficulty:

Airlines for America’s (A4A) passenger airlines jointly commit to taking steps to improve accessibility and services for passengers with disabilities. Passengers with disabilities represent one of the fastest growing traveler segments, and we recognize the importance of facilitating a safe, seamless journey for them. 
A4A’s members fully support the rights of passengers with disabilities set forth in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights, especially the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We recognize the need for a specific commitment to remove barriers to safe, accessible air travel.
To achieve our accessibility objectives, we commit to:
> Establishing a passenger accessibility advisory group within our airlines to work directly with the disability community to improve our policies and operations;
> Improving passenger transfers and the handling of personal mobility aids;
> Enhancing our accessibility services training for frontline workers and educating our employees about passengers with disabilities;  
> Supporting the continued study and development of safe and feasible aircraft accessibility features that broaden air travel opportunities for passengers with disabilities.
Our industry has long been engaged in a variety of initiatives to increase air travel accessibility. This commitment marks a step forward in strengthening our dedication to enhancing the travel experience for all passengers...

The letter was signed by the leaders of the three legacy carriers, along with those from Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. Although the letter promises reforms to come, they did not put a timeline on when flyers could expect to see changes happening on the front line.

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