The Department of Transportation has issued some new rules that are designed to make flying easier for people with disabilities, part of what the DOT calls its “ongoing effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for all.” Here is the latest:
Listen: Travel expert Rick Seaney applauds the moves.
Within two years: Airlines are required to make pages of their websites – with core travel information and services -accessible to people with disabilities.
Within three years: All website pages must be accessible to people with disabilities.
Note: The term “accessible” means meeting the standards of Website Content Accessibility Guidelines which include the following from the WACG website:
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
It should also be noted that according to the DOT, “Airlines are already required to provide equivalent service for consumers who are unable to use inaccessible websites.”
Airport Kiosk Accessibility
New kiosks (for printing boarding passes or checking in for flights) must be accessible to people with disabilities (and this includes height requirements and the addition of sound-enhancing equipment) until at least 25% of kiosks are accessible to the disabled.
Wheelchairs on Planes
The DOT will allow as many as two collapsible wheelchairs to be strapped to seats in the cabin if requested unless this would displace other passengers.
Read more about the new DOT guidelines here.