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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

DOT to Host Public Meeting on Air Travel by Wheelchair Users

The U.S. Department of Transportation is hosting a virtual public meeting regarding air travel by persons who use wheelchairs on March 24, 2022. During this meeting, there will be an opportunity to listen and learn from persons who use wheelchairs on the difficulties that they encounter during air travel and for airlines to discuss both the challenges that they face in providing accessible air transportation and the actions that they are taking or plan to take to improve the air travel environment. The meeting will better enable the Department to move expeditiously on any necessary action to advance safe accommodations for air travelers with disabilities using wheelchairs. A detailed agenda will be posted shortly.

This meeting will be held via Zoom Video Webinar, and is scheduled for March 24, 2022 from 10:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The meeting is open to the public subject to any technical and / or capacity limitations. CART and ASL interpretation will be provided; requests for additional disability-related accommodations must be sent to FlyingWithWheelchairs@dot.gov by March 21, 2022.

Actions to take before and during the DOT Meeting:

  • If you would like to make oral comments or submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting, you must request do to so by March 21, 2022. Email your request to FlyingWithWheelchairs@dot.gov. Make sure to identify which of the four topics you wish to address, or if you plan to address something not mentioned in the notice. (Questions or comments by people who did not make an advance request for oral comments will only be permitted if time allows.)
  • Invite your Members of Congress to participate in the meeting so they can listen to the perspective of wheelchair-users first-hand.
  • Highlight this meeting on social media and encourage your family and friends to do the same. Be sure to use #Flightmares and #JustPlaneWrong.
  • If you get the opportunity to speak, write down 2-3 points you want to make. Keep them brief as you will have a short time to get your point across.
  • Speak from your own experiences or what you know.
    • Introduce yourself (example: “Hello I am Jane, a disabled veteran and wheelchair user….”).
    • State exactly what action you want to see (ex. “I want to have safe and timely assistance in getting on and off an airplane”).

Actions to take after the DOT Meeting:

  1. Send your air travel story to your Members of Congress and ask if they will support the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act (H.R. 1696 / S. 642), which would improve air travel for people with disabilities by requiring airlines to provide accessible lavatories, ensuring new airplanes are built using new accessibility standards, and increasing enforcement options.
  2. Submit your air travel stories to air-access.org and encourage others to do the same. Also, share them on social media with #Flightmares and tag the Department of Transportation. Be sure to include photos, videos, and graphics about your experience if you have them.
  3. Sign and share PVA’s online petition to pass the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act.

Important social media handles:

Department of Transportation

  • Facebook: @U.S. Department of Transportation / @USDOT
  • Twitter: @USDOT

Secretary Pete Buttigieg

  • Facebook: @Secretary Pete Buttigieg / @SecretaryPete
  • Twitter: @SecretaryPete

Airlines for America

  • Facebook: @Airlines for America / @AirlinesForAmerica
  • Twitter: @AirlinesDotOrg

International Air Transport Association

  • Facebook: @International Air Transport Association / @iata.org
  • Twitter: @IATA

Paralyzed Veterans of America

  • Facebook: @Paralyzed Veterans of America / @ParalyzedVeterans
  • Twitter: @PVA1946

Important hashtags:

  • #JustPlaneWrong
  • #PushingAccessForward
  • #Flightmares

NCIL thanks Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) for their contributions to this alert!