EUD participated in seminar on the new US rule on access to air travel for people with disabilities

24 Nov 2008

The US Department of Transport organised on 17 October an information seminar in Paris on the new revised US legislation on access for persons with disabilities to air travel. This legislation is interesting for the European disability movement for several reasons: the legislation is very detailed and therefore not as open to interpretation as our European legislation, it is much more far-reaching in its protection for disabled passengers than the European regulation and, most importantly, it is applicable in the EU and for European air carriers in certain circumstances. Basically, the US rules are applicable for all flight flying into the US, and for all flights departing from the US, regardless of the nationality of the carrier. It is also applicable on code-share flights where one of the carriers is a US flight, for all passengers who have booked a ticket with the US carrier, even for flights outside the US.

The US rule includes several important provisions, such as the fact that they have no limitation at all as to the number of passengers with disabilities travelling on a flight, they require carriers to accept all assistance animals on board (and not exclusively dogs as the European legislation restricts itself to), it requires air carriers to provide all information communicated to other passengers in various specified formats, and it requires that passengers are allowed to travel with medical oxygen free of charge.