WASHINGTON- On the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the US Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced a new rule that mandates increased accessibility in airline lavatories.
This rule, authorized by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), will require airlines to ensure that lavatories on new single-aisle aircraft are spacious enough to accommodate a passenger with a disability and their attendant, both of whom have a size equivalent to a 95th percentile male.
This will enable them to approach, enter, and move within the aircraft lavatory as needed. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had previously highlighted this upcoming rule during a White House ADA Anniversary event earlier this month.
US DOT New Advisory on Airline Lavatories
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed that travel can already be stressful, and it becomes even more burdensome for millions of wheelchair users who either dehydrate themselves before a flight or avoid air travel altogether due to limited restroom access.
To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Transportation is proud to introduce a rule that will increase the size and accessibility of airplane bathrooms.
This initiative aims to provide travelers in wheelchairs with the same level of access and dignity as the rest of the traveling public.
The recent announcement aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s significant efforts to enhance infrastructure accessibility, which include:
- Awarding billions of dollars from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to modernize airport terminals, incorporating wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, and other accessibility features.
- Allocating nearly $700 million through the All Stations Accessibility Program last December to retrofit older rail and subway stations, adding elevators, ramps, and other enhancements. The program, funded by the infrastructure law, aims to improve transit rail station accessibility, enabling individuals using wheelchairs and strollers or facing mobility challenges to access rail systems reliably.
- Initiating groundwork for a potential future rule that addresses passengers remaining in their wheelchairs during air travel.
- Developing rules to enhance training for airline staff assisting passengers with disabilities or handling battery-powered wheelchairs or scooters.
- Collaborating with industry, academia, and Federal partners to ensure future vehicles, including automated and electric vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure, are designed with inclusivity in mind.
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