[tabi] Fw: [Nfbf-l] New DOT Rules Make Flying Easier for Passengers withDisabilities

  • From: "Denyece Roberts, MSW, RCSW" <peace05@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2013 13:03:51 -0500

----- Original Message ----- From: "Patricia A. Lipovsky" <plipovsky@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <fcb-l@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2013 6:59 PM
Subject: [Nfbf-l] New DOT Rules Make Flying Easier for Passengers withDisabilities

-----Original Message----- From: Bob Acosta
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2013 4:15 PM

for your information:
DOT 92-13
Monday, November 4, 2013
Contact: Bill Mosley
Tel.: (202) 366-4570

New DOT Rules Make Flying Easier for Passengers with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced
that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its ongoing effort to
ensure equal access to air transportation for all travelers, is requiring
airline websites and automated airport kiosks to be accessible to passengers
with disabilities. In addition, DOT will allow airlines to choose between
stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them
to a row of seats, an option that will ensure that two manual, folding
wheelchairs can be transported at a time.

The new rules are part of DOT's continuing implementation of the Air
Carrier Access Act of 1986.

"All air travelers should be treated fairly when they fly, regardless of
any disabilities they may have," said Secretary Foxx. "These new rules build
on our past work in ensuring that our air transportation system is
accessible for everyone, while balancing both airlines' and passengers' need
for flexibility."

Under the new websites-and-kiosks rule, covered airlines are required
within two years to make pages of their websites that contain core travel
information and services accessible to persons with disabilities, and to
make all of their web pages accessible within three years. Websites are
required to meet the standards for accessibility contained in the widely
accepted Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The requirement
applies to U.S. and foreign airlines with websites marketing air
transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United

The rule also requires ticket agents to disclose and offer web-based
discount fares to customers unable to use their sites due to a disability
starting within 180 days after the rule's effective date. Airlines are
already required to provide equivalent service for consumers who are unable
to use inaccessible websites. Under the new rule, airlines must also offer
equivalent service to passengers with disabilities who are unable to use
their websites even if the websites meet the WCAG accessibility standards.

In addition, any automated kiosks installed at U.S. airports for
services -- such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags --must be
accessible to passengers with disabilities until at least 25 percent of all
kiosks at each airport location are accessible. Even if no new kiosks are
installed, 25 percent of kiosks at each airport location must be accessible within 10 years. The standards for accessible kiosks are based on those set
by the U.S. Department of Justice for ATM and fare machines in its 2010
Americans with Disabilities Act rule as well as the Section 508 standards
for self-contained closed products, such as copiers.

DOT's wheelchair rule provides airlines with more flexibility because it
permits airlines to transport passenger wheelchairs by strapping them across
a row of seats using a strap kit that complies with applicable safety
standards, in addition to stowing them in a closet or similar compartment.
In 2008, DOT issued a rule prohibiting airlines from using the
seat-strapping method on new aircraft as an alternative to stowing the
manual wheelchair in a closet or similar compartment. In that same rule, DOT allowed the use of a seat-strapping method on existing aircraft. Based on a
fuller evaluation of the costs and benefits, DOT has now revised its
position to also allow the use of seat-strapping on new aircraft subject to
certain conditions. For example, if an airline chooses to use the
seat-strapping method to stow a wheelchair, it must transport two
wheelchairs in the cabin if requested unless stowing the second wheelchair
would displace other passengers.

If an airline chooses to use a closet to stow a wheelchair, then it will
still be required to stow only one wheelchair in the cabin. However, in this case it must install a sign or placard prominently on the closet indicating that a wheelchair and other assistive devices are to be stowed in this area with priority over other items brought onto the aircraft by other passengers
or crew, including crew luggage.

The rule on accessible websites and kiosks is available on the Internet at
www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0177. In addition to accepting
public comments on the web and kiosk rule through this website, the
Department partnered with Cornell University's eRulemaking Initiative
(CeRI), Regulation Room, designed to improve the public's ability to
understand and participate in the rulemaking process. A goal of the CeRI
team is to make Regulation Room as accessible to as many users as possible. This partnership supports President Obama's open-government initiative. The
final rule on wheelchairs is available at the same website at docket


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  • » [tabi] Fw: [Nfbf-l] New DOT Rules Make Flying Easier for Passengers withDisabilities - Denyece Roberts, MSW, RCSW