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Airlines Pledge New Protections for Flyer Accessibility

After years of troubling news about flyer accessibility on airlines, the major carriers now pledge a set of reforms to improve the passenger experience.
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.


Airlines for America released a letter signed by the heads of seven airlines, promising new work to ensure everyone can travel by air without difficulty.


Promises Include Advisory Group, Improved Transfers for Disabled Flyers

The letter acknowledges “Passengers with disabilities represent one of the fastest growing traveler segments, and we recognize the importance of facilitating a safe, seamless journey for them.” The group signing the A4A letter says that they support the “Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights,” and are committing to more resources.


The solutions proposed by the airlines include:


-Improving passenger transfers and the handling of personal mobility aids.

-Enhancing accessibility services training and education about disabilities for frontline employees.

-Creating a “passenger accessibility advisory group” among the airlines and the disability community to improve policies and operations.

-Supporting continued studies on “safe and feasible aircraft accessibility features.”


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.


New Reforms Come After Airlines Get Bad Publicity Over Handling Mobility Devices

The moves to improve the disabled passenger experience comes after years of bad publicity over how flyers requiring mobility devices are handled. In 2022, a member of Congress was denied boarding by Lufthansa due to his wheelchair, while a 2021 study concluded airlines could accommodate more passengers requiring mobility devices if they removed two rows of seats from aircraft.


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RRROOO November 11, 2022

This is a no win situation. The disable want to fly--as well they should. But in an emergency situation, what happens to the disabled traveler? Will anyone help that person? 

johninmelbourne November 5, 2022

So I guess the airlines who didn't sign the agreement are telling us, if you are disabled, we don't want you anywhere near our planes.  Fly someone else.

As for this so-called agreement, in reality, it will mean absolutely nothing 'cos the frontline staff won't be told about it, let alone trained to help customers.

As for removing two rows of seats, ain't gonna happen.  End of discussion.