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Safe and Accessible Air Travel

More than one in every 100 wheelchairs and scooters transported in the aircraft cargo compartment of domestic flights are damaged, delayed, or lost.  Enabling passengers to stay in their personal wheelchairs on aircraft, a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Disability Policy Priority, will increase the safety and dignity of air travel and increase access for travelers with disabilities. 

Watch a video of Secretary Pete Buttigieg talking about DOT’s commitment to advancing safe and accessible air travel for people with disabilities

Air Carrier Access Act

Learn more on the DOT Aviation Consumer Protection webpage about the Air Carrier Access Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel by U.S. airlines regardless of where their operations take place and by foreign airlines on flights to and from the United States.

Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights

DOT worked with members of the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee, which includes voices from the disability community and industry stakeholders, to create the Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation. This easy-to-use summary will empower travelers to understand their rights and help the travel industry uphold those rights.

Disability Policy Priorities to Enable Safe and Accessible Air Travel

As part of DOT’s Disability Policy Priorities, adopted in July 2022 during a celebration of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department has committed to the priority actions below to enable safe and accessible air travel.

DOT Priority


Develop and advance a research roadmap, building from the U.S. Access Board and Transportation Research Board Report on the Feasibility of Wheelchair Securement Systems on Passenger Aircraft, to support future rulemaking

Passengers can stay in their personal wheelchairs on aircraft, a generational improvement in the equity, safety, and dignity of travel

Issue rulemaking on Ensuring Safe Accommodations for Air Travelers with Disabilities Using Wheelchairs

Decrease in number of passengers with disabilities whose wheelchairs are damaged during air travel and are injured in transfers to/from aircraft

Issue Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Final Rule on Accessible Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft: Part 2

Passengers in wheelchairs can access lavatories on aircraft

Expand compliance and enforcement activities related to the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation in 14 CFR Part 382

Decrease in frequency of incidents where passengers’ civil rights are violated and increase in equal access to quality air transportation service for persons with disabilities

Educate people with disabilities about their rights under the Air Carrier Access Act and how to exercise them

Last updated: Friday, October 28, 2022