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Proposed rule to increase protections for airline passengers who use wheelchairs

Posted on March 1, 2024

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would greatly increase the rights and protections of airline passengers who use wheelchairs.
  • Every year, more than 10,000 wheelchairs and other mobility devices are broken or damaged during air travel.
  • The DOT proposed rule would do things including:
    • Require training for airline staff and contractors who physically help passengers and handle their wheelchairs.
    • If a wheelchair gets damaged, let the passenger pick the company that will fix or replace it. The airline will pay for it.
    •  Make sure the airlines know they must provide fast, safe, and respectful help to all passengers with disabilities
  • If airlines don’t follow the standards or break a passenger’s wheelchair, the rule would make it easier for DOT to hold the airline responsible.  Also, damaging or delaying the return of a wheelchair would automatically be against the law.
  • Comments on the NPRM must be received within 60 days of the date it is published in the Federal Register. Comments can be filed on, docket number DOT-OST-2022-0144.

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