Changes to Transportation Access for People with Disabilities

On July 26th, 2022, we celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Across the nation, organizations and people with disabilities marked this occasion in a variety of different ways, from community picnics, to hosting grand openings of accessible buildings to making announcements about new policies to help move the Disability Community forward. 

silhouette of airplane in golden hour
Photo by Marina Hinic on

I was absolutely thrilled to learn about all these different celebrations and partake in some of them. I also loved reading the comprehensive list of all of the ways that the Biden-Harris administration has been advancing Disability Rights over the past year. My favorite announcements, however, came from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Bill of Rights for Airline Passengers with Disabilities

In early July, the U.S. Department of Transportation published the first-ever Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights. This easy-to-use document summarized the 

fundamental rights of people with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and empowers travelers with disabilities to understand and assert their rights.The Bill of Rights enumerates ten specific rights for air travelers with disabilities, including: 

  • The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect
  • The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations
  • The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format
  • The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities
  • The Right to Assistance at Airports
  • The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft
  • The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal
  • The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations
  • The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features
  • The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue

Changes Are Coming for Wheelchair Users

While this Bill of Rights was a huge announcement, the U.S. Department of Transportation did not stop there! On the 32nd anniversary of the ADA, the U.S. Department of Transportation held a celebration where Secretary Pete Buttigieg made several huge announcements. The biggest one by far was that the Department of Transportation is working towards creating a new rule to allow wheelchair users to stay in our personal wheelchairs while flying. This is a groundbreaking announcement as countless wheelchair users are injured every year while flying. And more often, our wheelchairs are damaged. Being able to stay in our wheelchairs when we fly will truly be life changing and I am so excited that the Department of Transportation is working towards this goal! 

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.

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