On the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a new rule which requires airline lavatories to be more accessible. This rulemaking, authorized by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), would require airlines to make lavatories on new single-aisle aircraft large enough to permit a passenger with a disability and attendant, both equivalent in size to a 95th percentile male, to approach, enter, and maneuver within as necessary to use the aircraft lavatory. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg previewed this rule at a White House ADA Anniversary event earlier this month.
“Traveling can be stressful enough without worrying about being able to access a restroom; yet today, millions of wheelchair users are forced to choose between dehydrating themselves before boarding a plane or avoiding air travel altogether,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are proud to announce this rule that will make airplane bathrooms larger and more accessible, ensuring travelers in wheelchairs are afforded the same access and dignity as the rest of the traveling public.”
The rule can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/latest-news and at regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2021-0137.
For information about airline passenger rights, as well as DOT’s rules, guidance and orders, the Department’s aviation consumer website can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.