Our Blog


New Law Mandates Creation of a Bill of Rights for Air Travelers with Disabilities

Posted by Laura E. Stubberud | Oct 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

It may soon be a new day for airline travelers with disabilities. In a groundbreaking development, a new law directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create a bill of rights for passengers with disabilities to protect their right to fly free of discrimination.

The change is part of the 1,200-page Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, signed into law October 05, 2018, by President Trump, reauthorizing the FAA's funding for five years.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs federal disability discrimination law in airports, air travel is governed by the Air Carrier Access Act. The new lawl  directs the FAA to create an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights expanding on the previous protections.

Specifically, the FAA must provide “plain language” descriptions of six basic rights:  

  1. The right to be treated with “dignity and respect”;
  2. The right to receive timely assistance if requested;
  3. The right to fly with a wheelchair or other accessibility devices;
  4. The right to receive seating accommodations;
  5. Tthe right to receive announcements in an accessible format; and
  6. The right to speak with a complaint resolution officer or to file a complaint with an air carrier or the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The law comes on the heels of a national outcry concerning numerous stories of harsh treatment of passengers with disabilities, such as D'Arcee Neal, a man with cerebral palsy who was forced to crawl off a United Airlines flight in 2015 to use the restroom after waiting for more than 30 minutes to be accommodated with a wheelchair.

Also as part of the legislation, the FAA must appoint an advisory committee to oversee the creation of the Bill of Rights. Civil penalties will increase if passengers are subjected to bodily harm, or their wheelchairs or other accessibility devices are damaged. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must also revamp within six months its training procedures for accommodating people with disabilities.

Finally, the DOT must, within 18 months, propose federal regulations concerning service animals for travelers.                                                    

“In order to keep America's promise of full equality for all, we must break down the barriers that individuals with disabilities and our veterans face when they travel,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said in a news release from Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Equal access to air travel ensures our veterans are able to participate in today's economy and enjoy their travel opportunities.”

For more on current protections for passengers with disabilities, click here.

About the Author

Laura E. Stubberud

Laura Stubberud has over two decades of experience in the practice of estate and family law in Nevada. After graduation from UCLA, she studied law at Southwestern University School of Law , graduating in 1992. With over 25 years of practice in Clark County, Nevada, Ms. Stubberud has substantial e...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Call us today at 702.625.9260. You’ll receive the highest level of personalized service.

Contact Us Today


StubberudCuen, Ltd
2831 St. Rose Parkway, Ste 200
Henderson, NV 89052