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The Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) rulemaking has concluded. The PROWAG final rule has been published in the Federal Register. Please visit the Access Board’s PROWAG page for the guidelines.

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Expand Protections for Airline Passengers Who Use Wheelchairs

February 29, 2024

Passengers who use wheelchairs often face accessibility barriers during air travel. In fact, more than 10,000 wheelchairs and other mobility devices are mishandled or damaged every year during air travel. In response to this, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would dramatically expand the rights and protections of airline passengers who use wheelchairs.

The NPRM, entitled Ensuring Safe Accommodations for Air Travelers with Disabilities Using Wheelchairs, is designed to strengthen DOT’s rule implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Among other standards, the Department of Transportation is proposing to:

  1. Mandate annual, hands-on training for airline staff and contractors who physically assist passengers and who handle passengers’ wheelchairs.
  2. Allow passengers to choose the company that will repair or replace their wheelchair if it’s mishandled with the airline covering the costs.
  3. Clarify that airlines must provide prompt, safe, and dignified assistance to all passengers with disabilities.

If airlines fall short of any of these standards or mishandle a passenger’s wheelchair, the proposal – if finalized – would make it easier for DOT to hold airlines accountable for failing passengers who use a wheelchair. The proposed rule also clarifies that damaging or delaying the return of a wheelchair is an automatic violation of the ACAA.

Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 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.