Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is very pleased with the results of a negotiated rulemaking by the Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee), which includes representatives from Paralyzed Veterans, in particular the Committee consensus regarding accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft.
"This proposed change is long overdue but we are nonetheless pleased that individuals with disabilities will finally have access to lavatories on more flights," said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
"This is a big win for our veteran members and all people with disabilities who are often limited in air travel options because of the lack of accessible lavatories."
Earlier this year the Department of Transportation (DOT) established the ACCESS Advisory Committee to conduct a negotiated rulemaking on three issues:
The 25 member committee was charged with negotiating in good faith to reach consensus on these three issues.
Paralyzed Veterans played a leading role in the working groups tasked with negotiating access to lavatories on single-aisle aircraft and the definition of "service animals."
The ACCESS Advisory Committee reached consensus on accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft in October and access to inflight entertainment in November. The Committee voted to end negotiations on service animals due to an impasse.
"We are encouraged by the agreements on access to lavatories on the majority of single-aisle aircraft, and on inflight entertainment," said Lee Page, senior associate advocacy director for Paralyzed Veterans of America.
"We are committed to working with air carriers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to increase access for people with disabilities in air travel as we await DOT's proposed rule in 2017."
In January, Paralyzed Veterans launched a website in honor of the 30th anniversary of the ACAA, where individuals with disabilities can share their air travel experiences, both positive and negative. Paralyzed Veterans continues to collect these stories which will help Paralyzed Veterans continue to advocate for improved access in air travel. The website can found at www.airaccess30.org