Paralyzed Veterans of America and Democracy Forward submit petition to the Department of Transportation to implement improved air travel processes for people with disabilities
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2022 — Paralyzed Veterans of America petitioned the Department of Transportation today to initiate rulemaking authority that would implement improved standards and requirements for boarding and deplaning airline passengers with mobility impairments. In the petition, PVA – represented by Democracy Forward – urged the DOT to address issues related to the transfer of passengers into and out of aisle chairs, the duty of air carriers’ to maintain information about issues that occur during the boarding and deplaning process, and the air carriers’ responsibilities when wheelchairs or other assistive devices are damaged, delayed, or lost.
Moments after submitting the petition, PVA National President Charles Brown and Democracy Forward President and CEO Skye Perryman released the following statement:
“People with mobility impairments are subject to inhumane treatment at every turn of their air travel journey. Required accommodations remain woefully inadequate despite thousands of complaints from passengers and a Congressional mandate outlined in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Reauthorization Act of 2018. We submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation today to call attention to the countless issues that must be addressed to ensure safe and equitable access to air travel for all people. While the Department has taken important steps to address problems related to air travel for passengers with mobility disabilities, they must go farther to establish more stringent requirements for the boarding and deplaning processes – processes that can affect the health and dignity of passengers with mobility impairments. Our petition underscores just how much more must be done to improve air travel and bring it up to the level we deserve.”
PVA’s petition comes just three months after the death of disability rights activist Engracia Figueroa, whose power wheelchair was destroyed during a flight, forcing her to spend weeks in a loaner chair, which reportedly caused a fatal pressure sore. It also comes on the heels of PVA’s recent air travel campaign, which educated the public about the dangers of air travel for people with disabilities and continues to encourage them to join their fight to improve air travel by signing a PVAction Force petition.
Read the full Department of Transportation petition for rulemaking here.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 75 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded 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, Paralyzed Veterans of America 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.
Democracy Forward Foundation (“Democracy Forward”) is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 that litigates cases involving government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and achieved victories supporting democracy and improving the lives and wellbeing of people and communities. Democracy Forward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Oname Thompson, PVA
Emily Singer, Democracy Forward