Updated Air Carrier Access Act Now in Effect

The recently revised version of the Air Carrier Access Act went into effect this week (May 13, 2009). And that’s very good news, because ultimately it will make air travel more accessible for disabled travelers. Here are some of the major changes that are likely effect my readers.

  • It legally extends ACAA coverage to all flights arriving or depart the US, even those of foreign air carriers.
  • It requires the “prompt” deplaning of disabled passengers; which means that they must be deplaned as soon as the other passengers have disembarked.
  • Employees or contractors providing airport wheelchair assistance are now required to make a brief restroom stop (upon request) if the restroom is located along the path of travel to the gate.
  • The law now requires airlines to allow the on-board use of all FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators, ventilators, respirators and CPAP machines.
  • The updated law specifies the dimensions of the on-board wheelchair storage space as being 13 inches by 36 inches by 42 inches.
  • Airline personnel are now required to assist disabled passengers at inaccessible ticket kiosks.
  • It requires airlines to offer disabled passengers web-only fares that appear on inaccessible websites, by phone or another accessible reservation method.

Those are just the highlights — you can read the full text of the law on this DOT site.

So here’s to a more accessible summer!