Air Carrier Access Act
The most important piece of legislation to familiarize yourself with when traveling by air in the States is The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986. It is Title 49, Section 41705 of the U.S. Code. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final ACAA rule in March 1990. The full act can be accessed here.
From this legislation, the Department of Transportation created the Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights that describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act and its implementing regulation. This easy-to-use summary will empower travelers to understand their rights and help the travel industry uphold those rights. Below are links to the ten rights. If you prefer a downloadable PDF click here.
- The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.
- The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations.
- The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format.
- The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities.
- The Right to Assistance at Airports.
- The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft.
- The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal.
- The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations.
- The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features.
- The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue.
From that last right, you need to know that airlines must make available a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO) in a timely manner; this may be done by phone.
The CRO should be trained as an expert in resolving disability-related issues and be able to resolve disability-related issues on the spot.
Passengers with disabilities who are not satisfied with air travel services may file a complaint with the airline or DOT. Complaints concerning issues under the airport’s responsibility can be filed with the airport, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Department of Justice (DOJ).
Passengers with disabilities who have pressing questions about their rights should ask to speak with the airline’s CRO. Airlines must have a CRO available at each airport they serve during all times the airline is operating at that airport. Passengers may also contact the DOT Disability Hotline at 1-800-778-4838. The hours for the hotline are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday–Friday.
Thank you to the author of this webpage, Jacob Gapko. Jacob is 45 years old with Duchenne. He uses a power wheelchair and non-invasive ventilation 24/7. He has a BS, an MLIS, and is a specialist. Jacob has an incredible passion for helping our DMD community. He can be reached at Jacob.Gapko@FamilyFriendsAndDuchenne.org