Airlines pledge to better serve travelers with disabilities

Several of the country’s biggest airlines have said they will work to boost their services for people with disabilities. (Thought)

In a joint statement, American, Delta, United and other major airlines commit to a series of new measures to improve travel for people with “motor, cognitive and social disabilities”.

Seven of the country’s passenger airlines are part of a new commitment organized by industry trade group Airlines for America to increase the accessibility of air travel.

Specifically, the airlines say they will each create a Passenger Accessibility Advisory Group to work with the disability community to improve policies and operations. They will also work to improve passenger transfers and their handling of wheelchairs and other mobility aids, improve employee disability training, and continue to study and develop accessibility features.

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“Passengers with disabilities represent one of the fastest growing segments of travelers, and we recognize the importance of facilitating a safe and seamless journey for them,” the statement said. “We recognize the need for a specific commitment to remove barriers to safe and accessible air travel.”

The pledge is signed by the CEOs of Alaska Air Group, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines Holdings as well as the executive chairman of Southwest Airlines.

This effort comes amid growing pressure on the airline industry to improve the travel experience for people with disabilities.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation proposed a rule requiring accessible restrooms on many more planes, and the agency released its first-ever “bill of rights” for air travelers with disabilities in July.

Additionally, the Department of Transport recently signaled that it plans to require airlines to accommodate people in their personal wheelchairs on planes in the coming years.

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