ACCESS Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee) was established to negotiate and develop a proposed rule concerning accommodations for air travelers with disabilities addressing in-flight communications, accessible lavatory on new single-aisle aircraft, and service animals.
The ACCESS Advisory Committee reached an agreement to improve the accessibility of lavatories on single-aisle aircraft and of in-flight entertainment.
Today, passengers who use wheelchairs cannot access a lavatory on single aisle aircraft and often must avoid flying or dehydrate themselves to avoid having to relieve themselves during flight. Under the agreement, there would be short term and long term measures taken to fully address the challenges persons with mobility impairments face when traveling on single aisle aircraft with inaccessible lavatories, eventually resulting in accessible lavatories in the future for individuals who use wheelchairs.
Also airlines today generally do not provide in-flight entertainment with captioning or audio descriptions. Under this agreement, certain movies and shows would be displayed on such aircraft with captioning to provide access to deaf and hard of hearing passengers. Also, audio described entertainment would be available to enable people who are blind to listen to the visual narration of movies and shows. Airlines would be permitted to display content that is not closed captioned or audio-described only if non-captioned or described versions are not available from the airline’s content provider.
The Department plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking ("NPRM") addressing accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft and in-flight entertainment.
The Committee was not able to reach agreement on service animals, the other issue, that it had been charged with negotiating. The Department intends to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking ("ANPRM") on service animals.
The ACCESS Committee formed working groups to address the three ACCESS Advisory Committee issues listed above. The working groups included Committee members and other experts and representatives. Working group meetings were held between the full, plenary meetings. Working groups were not authorized to make decisions for the Committee as a whole, but submitted their report, including any recommendations, to the full Committee.
- Final Resolution of the ACCESS Committee
- Annex A Accessible Lavatories Term Sheet
- Annex B IFE Term Sheet
- Annex C IFC Cabin Announcements Term Sheet
- Annex D Service Animal Vote Tally
- Minutes – First Plenary Meeting, May 17-18, 2016
- Minutes – Second Plenary Meeting, June 14-15, 2016
- Minutes – Third Plenary Meeting, July 11-12, 2016
- Minutes – Fourth Plenary Meeting, August 16-17, 2016
- Minutes – Fifth Plenary Meeting, September 21-23, 2016
- Minutes – Sixth Plenary Meeting, October 12-14, 2016
- Minutes – Seventh Plenary Meeting, November 2, 2016