Finally, new regulations on accessible inflight lavatories – an over 30-year PVA fightPost Date: July 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jul. 26, 2023) – Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chief Policy Officer Heather Ansley released the following statement today in response to the Department of Transportation’s final regulations on accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft. The news comes on the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is widely regarded as the nation’s most comprehensive law affecting people with disabilities.
“Today’s announcement by the Department of Transportation that larger single-aisle aircraft will be required to have a wheelchair accessible lavatory in the coming years is nothing short of groundbreaking. PVA has been fighting for this for over 30 years – submitting reports, filing lawsuits, and advocating before Congress. We are overjoyed that we finally have a rule that means future passengers with disabilities will be able to address basic bodily needs with dignity while on an aircraft. We appreciate the efforts of Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department to bring this critical rule over the finish line. We now call on airlines to proactively comply with the requirement as soon as possible; so that passengers with disabilities – particularly those who need assistance in the lavatory and those with mobility impairments – will be able to have access like other passengers sooner rather than later.”
Ansley continued, “There is no better time to celebrate the new rule than Disability Pride Month and on the 33rd anniversary of the ADA. Making everyday accommodations, like air travel, hotels, websites, and polling places, accessible is a smart business case for everyone. It is good for local and national businesses as it opens their clientele, and their revenue stream. It is also good for the disability community as it acknowledges them.”
Counter to popular belief, the ADA does not apply to some sectors, like commercial air, as seen by PVA’s unrelenting fight for accessible air travel – frequently testifying before Congress and creating a groundswell of support for the inclusion of accessibility reforms in the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration renewal. Earlier this month, at the invitation of the White House, PVA joined Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and advocates for a roundtable discussion on accessible travel. During that meeting and prior appearances, Buttigieg, himself, publicly relayed a flightmare by former PVA National President Charles Brown and pledged his agency’s work on another new rule, allowing people with disabilities to fly in their personal wheelchairs.
PVA remains on the forefront of the disability civil rights movement – fighting for stronger ADA enforcement, expanding support for home-based care, and more. To join PVA’s fight for greater enforcement of the ADA, visit PVA.org/ADA, or for air travel, visit PVA.org/AirTravel.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or diseases. The organization ensures veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitors their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funds research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, PVA also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at PVA.org.