Flying with a Disability? New Rules!
Posted on Nov 04, 2013
The DOT released new rules for individuals booking and traveling on airplanes. Don't worry--these rules make flying easier. The rules don't impose restrictions on disabled flyers, but instead require airlines to increase accessibility--both online and offline. Our Social Security Disability attorneys in Raleigh review the new requirements:
Wheelchair storage areas have new regulations to offer passengers adequate room and flexibility for transport. Automated kiosks, now a staple at almost every airport, have new requirements when it comes to the installation of new kiosks. Any new kiosks have to meet accessibility standards until the ratio of accessible-to-non-accessible kiosks at an airport is 1 in 4. Airlines have 10 years to meet these ratio.
With the majority of travelers making their plans online, and those with disabilities needing to ensure safe and comfortable travel, an airline website needs to convey critical information about accessibility. The new rules have set forth mandatory website changes with time-sensitive deadlines for airlines. When disabled passengers visit an airline's website, within the next two years the web pages that are dedicated to explaining accessibility will be required to be accessible themselves. This means web content must be accessible to disabled persons and meet special guidelines. Even foreign-based airlines that market to domestic travelers must satisfy these new rules. Within the next three years an airline's entire website must be accessible under these standards.
Crossing the gap from online-to-offline changes, is a disclosure rule for ticket agents. Many rates for air travel are more attractive online. If a disabled person is unable to access a website, how will they take advantage of these web-only rates? Now ticket agents must disclose web discounts within 6 months after the rule goes into effect.
Specific details about these new rules are set forth at regulations.gov.