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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.

Posted February 6, 2017

2016 Report on Disability-Related Air Travel Complaints Received in 2015. 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 eleventh 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 2015 calendar year, as reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation (Department or DOT) by those carriers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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