Posted March 20, 2019
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that its newly reestablished Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) will hold its first meeting in Washington, DC on April 4, 2019. The ACPAC meeting was originally scheduled for January 16, 2019, but was cancelled due to the lapse in funding. The Department is also announcing today its selection of Blane Workie, Assistant General Counsel for the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, to serve as the Aviation Consumer Advocate, a position created by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. Please clicke here for the full Press Release.
Posted February 15, 2019
Establishment of the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force. The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the establishment of the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force (Task Force), a subcommittee of the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC). The Task Force is being established pursuant to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (FAA Act), signed by President Trump on October 5, 2018. The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act also requested that the Department establish such a Task Force. More information and the list of the Task Force's members can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-names-14-members-national-flight-sexual-misconduct-task
Posted January 10, 2019
On Friday, November 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a meeting of the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) to take place on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. See 83 FR 59447. Due to a lapse in appropriations, the ACPAC meeting scheduled for January 16 is cancelled. A notice announcing the re-scheduled meeting will be published in the Federal Register at a later date.
Posted December 21, 2018
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it is soliciting applications and nominations for membership on two federal advisory committees on air travel: the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee (ACAA Committee) and the Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee (AAPB Committee). These committees are mandated by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
The ACAA Committee will assess barriers to accessible air travel, determine the extent to which DOT is addressing the barriers, recommend improvements, and advise the Secretary on implementing the Air Carrier Access Act. Eligibility requirements and complete instructions on how to apply can be found at www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/ACAA-advisory-committee-solicitation.
The AAPB Committee will review options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services, and protect consumers from balance billing. Following this review, the AAPB Advisory Committee will make recommendations with respect to three general air-ambulance-related areas: (1) the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services as well as related insurance coverage; (2) the consumer protection and enforcement authorities of the Department of Transportation and state authorities; and (3) the balance billing practices of providers of air medical services. Eligibility requirements and complete instructions on how to apply can be found at www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/AAPB-advisory-committee-solicitation.
Applications and nominations for both committees must be received on or before January 15, 2019.
Posted November 15, 2018
Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee - Notice of Reestablishment and First Meeting. This notice announces the reestablishment of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC), formerly known as the Advisory Committee on Aviation Consumer Protection, as a Federal advisory committee. The Department has also established a National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force (Task Force) as an ACPAC Subcommittee. The Department anticipates the first meeting of the ACPAC will be held on January 16, 2019, at the U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Posted November 1, 2018
Enforcement Policy Regarding Reporting of Mishandled Baggage and Wheelchair Data. This notice of enforcement policy advises the public of the manner in which the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings intends to enforce the requirements in 14 CFR 234.6(b) for large U.S. airlines to report mishandled baggage and wheelchairs and scooters data to the Department for flights on or after January 2019.
Posted October 23, 2018
Enforcement Notice - Airline Reporting of Data on Mishandled Baggage, Wheelchairs, and Scooters. This notice addresses the obligations of large U.S. airlines to report to the Department mishandled baggage, wheelchairs, and scooters data following the enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
Posted May 16, 2018
Service Animals - Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The U.S. Department of Transportation is seeking comment on amending its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on transportation of service animals. The Department has heard from the transportation industry, as well as individuals with disabilities, that the current ACAA regulation could be improved to ensure nondiscriminatory access for individuals with disabilities, while simultaneously preventing instances of fraud and ensuring consistency with other Federal regulations. The Department recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities and wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also helping to ensure that the fraudulent use of other animals not qualified as service animals is deterred and animals that are not trained to behave properly in the public are not accepted for transport as service animals. Comments on the ANPRM must be received within 45 days of the date the notice is published. The ANPRM can be found at www.regulations.gov in docket DOT-OST-2018-0068.
Interim Statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals. The U.S. Department of Transportation is issuing a statement of enforcement priorities to apprise the public of its intended enforcement focus with respect to transportation of service animals in the cabin of aircraft. The Department regulates the transportation of service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and its implementing regulation, 14 CFR Part 382 (Part 382). The Department seeks comment on this interim statement, and intends to issue a final statement after the close of the comment period. Comments on this interim statement must be received within 15 days of the date the statement is published. The statement can be found at regulations.gov in docket number DOT-OST-2018-0067.
Posted April 24, 2018Notice to UAS Operators Proposing to Engage in Air Transportation. The Department is committed to encouraging innovation and the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and working with companies that would like to establish delivery methods, such as parcel delivery, using UAS. Companies and individuals that will be paid to deliver packages by UAS will need economic authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary (OST) if the package will cross state lines or the items in the package may be purchased by individuals throughout the United States. Companies and individuals may obtain economic authority by registering with OST. The details of the registration process are explained in the Federal Register notice.
Posted December 7, 2017
Withdrawal of the Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. The Department is withdrawing the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees issued on January 9, 2017 (82 FR 7536 et seq.). The SNPRM proposed to require air carriers, foreign air carriers, and ticket agents to clearly disclose to consumers at all points of sale customer-specific fee information, or itinerary-specific information if a customer elects not to provide customer-specific information, for a first checked bag, a second checked bag, and one carry-on bag wherever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers. The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department’s and Administration’s priorities and is consistent with Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.
Withdrawal of the Ancillary Airline Passenger Revenues notice of proposed rulemaking. The Department of Transportation (the Department) is withdrawing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued on July 7, 2011 (76 F.R. 41726 et seq.) that proposed to collect detailed revenue information regarding airline imposed fees from those air carriers meeting the definition of a large certificated air carrier. We are withdrawing this rulemaking in light of the comments we received. The withdrawal of this rulemaking corresponds with the Department’s and Administration’s priorities and is consistent with the Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, January 30, 2017.
Posted October 25, 2017
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has reached agreements with Alaska Airlines/Virgin America and Spirit Airlines to expand greatly the availability of airport kiosks that will be accessible to individuals with disabilities. DOT also reached an agreement with All Nippon Airways (ANA) to make the airline’s mobile website accessible for individuals with disabilities.
The agreements are available at: www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability and www.regulations.gov. The agreement with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is in docket DOT-OST-2017-0168. The agreement with Spirit Airlines is in docket DOT-OST-2017-0169. The agreement with ANA is in docket DOT-OST-2017-0167.
The interactive guides and other helpful disability-related information: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is posting on its website two interactive guides designed to supplement disability-related trainings that airlines are required to provide to their personnel and contractors under DOT rules. DOT worked closely with disability-rights organizations, airlines and airports to ensure that these guides are of optimal use. The interactive guides and other helpful disability-related information can be found on DOT’s website at: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability-training.
Posted September 26, 2017
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), 49 U.S.C. 41705, prohibits discriminatory treatment of persons with disabilities in air transportation. The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21; Public Law 106-181) requires, among other things, that the Secretary of Transportation “regularly review all complaints received by air carriers alleging discrimination on the basis of disability” and “report annually to Congress on the results of such review.” This is the twelfth such annual report to Congress, which covers disability-related complaints that U.S. and foreign passenger air carriers operating to, from, and within the U.S. received during the 2016 calendar year, as reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation (Department or DOT) by those carriers. The report can be found on DOT’s website at: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/2017-report-disability-related-air-travel-complaints-received-2016
Posted September 12, 2017
The FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit to Congress a report assessing airline personnel and contractor training programs to assist persons with disabilities. The Act also requires, based on the findings of the GAO report, the Department of Transportation (Department) to develop, make publicly available, and appropriately disseminate to airlines best practices that the Secretary considers necessary to improve the reviewed training programs.
On May 31, 2017, the GAO issued a report (GAO-17-541R) that analyzed the disability training programs of 12 airlines, which account for approximately 75 percent of U.S. passenger enplanements. The GAO found that all of the reviewed airlines have initial and recurrent disability training in place for their employees and contractors who interface with passengers with disabilities, some airlines voluntarily implement quality assurance programs to improve their disability training programs’ performance, and some airlines have established disability boards to increase awareness among employees about disability issues. The GAO also reviewed the Department of Transportation’s oversight of airlines’ disability training programs and found that the Department uses a variety of oversight methods to ensure airlines comply with the Air Carrier Access Act and the Department’s implementing disability regulations including analyzing passengers’ complaint data, conducting compliance inspections, and pursuing enforcement actions. The GAO report did not contain any recommendations to the Department.
The Department has available disability training and informational materials that can be used to supplement the training and education of airline employees and contractors at: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability-training and has determined that it is not necessary to issue a best practices document based on the GAO’s findings in its report.
Posted March 29, 2017
The Department of Transportation is amending its regulations by extending the compliance date from January 1, 2018, to January 1, 2019, for the provision concerning reporting of baggage handling statistics in the Department's final rule on enhancing airline passenger protections. This extension is necessary to ensure consistency with the change of compliance date for the Department's final rule on reporting of data for mishandled baggage and wheelchairs.
Posted March 2, 2017
Extension of Compliance Date for the Final Rule on Reporting of Data for Mishandled Baggage and Wheelchairs and Scooters Transported in Aircraft Cargo Compartments. The Department of Transportation is extending the compliance date of its final rule on reporting of data for mishandled baggage and wheelchairs in aircraft cargo compartments from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019. Under that final rule, the mishandled-baggage data that air carriers are required to report changed, from the number of Mishandled Baggage Reports and the number of domestic passenger enplanements to the number of mishandled bags and the number of enplaned bags. The rule also requires separate statistics for mishandled wheelchairs and scooters used by passengers with disabilities and transported in aircraft cargo compartments.
Suspension of comment period on the Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. The Department of Transportation is suspending the public comment period for the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees. The Department published the SNPRM on January 19, 2017, and the comment period was scheduled to close on March 20, 2017. The suspension of the comment period will allow the President’s appointees the opportunity to review and consider this action.
Suspension of comment period on the Request for Information (RFI) Exploring Industry Practices on Distribution and Display of Airline Fare, Schedule, and Availability Information. The Department of Transportation is suspending the public comment period for the Request for Information (RFI) Exploring Industry Practices on Distribution and Display of Airline Fare, Schedule, and Availability Information. The Department published the RFI on October 31, 2016 and the comment period initially closed on December 30, 2016. On December 22, 2016, DOT extended the comment period to March 31, 2017. The suspension of the comment period will allow the President’s appointees the opportunity to review and consider this action.
Posted February 14, 2017
Further Extension of Compliance Date for Certain Provisions in Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections III. The Department of Transportation is extending the compliance date for certain requirements issued in a final rule on enhancing airline passenger protections that was published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2016. Specifically, the Department is extending the compliance date from February 15, 2017, to March 17, 2017, for the provisions concerning codeshare disclosure requirements and prohibition of undisclosed flight display bias.