News from LIFE, Inc.

Increased Accessibility for Airlines

  Plane travel presents a few challenges for a person with disabilities. The first is sitting for a long time. You can sit on your wheelchair cushion if you need to. The bulkhead seats have more room, but the armrests may not lift out of the way because the trays are stored there. That can present a problem when transferring.  The second challenge is using the bathroom. But things may be changing!
    The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking public comment on a plan calling for all new, single-aisle aircraft to feature accessible lavatories.  Current rules only mandate accessible restrooms on planes with more than one aisle. But the federal agency said that single-aisle aircraft are increasingly being used on long-haul flights.
   The inability to use the lavatory on long flights presents significant challenges to passengers with disabilities, and can be a barrier for some passengers to traveling by air. The DOT is looking to amend the existing Air Carrier Access Act. Under the new plan, a single-aisle aircraft with 125 or more passengers must have lavatories with accessible toilet seats, assist handles, faucets, attendant call buttons, and door locks among other features. They would also be required to have an onboard wheelchair with improved safety and maneuverability that could provide transport from seat to lavatory.
Flight attendants will be trained to assist individuals with disabilities to get from their seat to the lavatory using this folding “aisle chair”. It is very narrow and have four very small wheels, so you will need an attendant to push it.  Information about the accessibility of the aircrafts lavatory would be available on airline websites, on the plane and on request by travelers to help in planning.
   There are no plans currently to change the size of the lavatories. But depending on the feedback, the idea of mandating that lavatories should match the larger size found on planes with two aisles could be added. The estimate is that it would cost $1000 per lavatory to make the improvements the agency is seeking.
   Public comment is open for 60 days, so click on the link below and let your voice be heard!!

https://www.regulations.gov/searchResults?rpp=25&po=0&s=dot-ost-2019-0180&fp=true&ns=true

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