of the ACAA
of the ACAA
Carrier Access Act
recommend you also read the Guide
to the Air Carrier Access Act.
The Guide to the Air Carrier Access Act is designed to offer travelers
with disabilities an authoritative source of information about the
Air Carrier Access rules: the accommodations, facilities, and services
that are, and are not, required.
The Air Carrier
Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air
travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers
with disabilities. In 1990 The Department of Transportation issued a rule
defining the rights of passengers and the obligations of air carriers
under this law. The following is a summary of the main points of the DOT
rule (Title 14 CFR, Part 382).
of Discriminatory Practices
* Carriers may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability.
Airlines may exclude anyone from a flight if carrying the person would be
inimical to the safety of the flight. If a carrier excludes a handicapped
person on safety grounds, the carrier must provide the person a written
explanation of the decision.
* Airlines may not require advance notice that a person with a disability
is traveling. Carriers may require up to 48 hours' advance notice for certain
accommodations that require preparation time (e.g., respirator hook-up,
transportation of an electric wheelchair on an aircraft with less than 60
* Carriers may not limit the number of handicapped persons on a flight.
* Carriers may not require a person with a disability to travel with an
attendant, except in certain limited circumstances specified in the rule.
If the person with the disability and the carrier disagree about the need
for an attendant, the airline can require the attendant, but cannot charge
for the transportation of the attendant.
* New aircraft (planes ordered after April 5, 1990 or delivered after
April 5, 1992) with 30 or more seats must have movable aisle armrests
on half the aisle seats in the aircraft.
* New widebody (twin-aisle) aircraft must have accessible lavatories.
DOT is continuing to seek more data on accessible lavatories for smaller
* New aircraft with 100 or more seats must have priority space for storing
a passenger's folding wheelchair in the cabin.
* Aircraft with more than 60 seats and an accessible lavatory must have
an on-board wheelchair, regardless of when the aircraft was ordered or
delivered. For flights on aircraft with more than 60 seats that do not
have an accessible lavatory, carriers must place an on-board wheelchair
on the flight if a handicapped passenger gives the airline 48 hours' notice
that he or she can use an inaccessible lavatory but needs an on-board
wheelchair to reach the lavatory.
* Airport facilities owned or operated by carriers must meet the same
accessibility standards that apply to Federally-assisted airport operators.
Services and Accommodations
* Airlines are required to provide assistance with boarding, deplaning
and making connections. (They need not hand-carry a person on board a
plane with less than 30 seats whose physical limitations preclude the
use of existing lifts, boarding chairs, or other devices. DOT is continuing
to seek additional data about lifts for small aircraft.) Assistance within
the cabin is also required, but not extensive personal services.
* Disabled passengers' items stored in the cabin must conform to FAA rules
on the stowage of carry-on baggage. Assistive devices do not count against
any limit on the number of pieces of carry-on baggage. Wheelchairs and
other assistive devices have priority for in-cabin storage space over
other passengers' items brought on board at the same airport, if the disabled
passenger chooses to preboard.
* Wheelchairs and other assistive devices have priority over other items
for storage in the baggage compartment. * Carriers must accept battery-powered
wheelchairs, including the batteries, packaging the batteries in hazardous
materials packages when necessary. The carrier provides the packaging.
may not charge for providing accommodations required by the rule, such
as hazardous materials packaging for batteries. However, they may charge
for optional services such as oxygen.
* Other provisions concerning services and accommodations address treatment
of mobility aids and assistive devices, passenger information, accommodations
for persons with hearing impairments, security screening, communicable
diseases and medical certificates, and service animals.
* Training is required for carrier and contractor personnel who deal with
the traveling public.
* The nation's largest airlines (currently about 20) and their commuter
airline affiliates must submit their procedures for complying with the
rule to DOT for review.
* Carriers must designate "complaints resolution officials"
to respond to complaints from passengers and must also respond to written
complaints. A DOT enforcement mechanism is also available.
* The rule applies to all U.S. air carriers providing commercial air transportation.
`Indirect' air carriers (e.g. charter operators) are not covered by certain
provisions that concern the direct provision of air transportation services.
* Carriers must obtain an assurance of compliance from contractors who
provide services to passengers.
This is only a brief summary of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1990. You
should read the full
version of the Air Carrier Access Act.