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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

PVA Air Travel Survey for Passengers with Disabilities

The purpose of this survey by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is to help members of the Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee) in their efforts to develop specific regulations regarding whether the Department should require an accessible lavatory (restroom) on a single aisle aircraft. To assist the committee, please complete the survey.

Preliminary results are due back to the ACCESS committee on July 22, however the survey will be open until August 1 and all respondents will be counted. Please contact Paralyzed Veterans of America with any questions.


  1. The airline industry is the only industry in America exempt from the ADA and standards set forth by the U.S. Access Board. The airline industry today is hugely profitable and can afford to comply with the same laws as every other industry in America. Airlines have been discriminating against wheelchair bound travelers for decades. Wheelchair travelers should be treated as all other Americans, not as second class citizens.

    Airline restrooms should have clear maneuvering space like ADA restrooms (approximately 5ft x 5ft). In order to take a flight longer than 2-3 hours, I can’t eat or drink fluids for 5-6 hours prior to the flight. This is not healthy for a paraplegic. Currently when I need to urinate, I must do so into a bag while seated next to other passengers. This is embarrassing, shameful and degrading.

    Also the airline Onboard Wheelchairs are not compliant with the ACAA. So even if beautiful accessible restrooms are provided, I can’t get there from my passenger seat. I filed a complaint with United and the DOT. The DOT concurred and found United in violation of the ACAA, however they only sent United a warning. No penalty fine. More inaction.

    Finally, the dual aisle Dreamliner lavatory is simply not accessible. After my United flight in March 2016 on the Dreamliner and attempting to use the lavatory I filed another United Airline complaint (copied to DOT). So if your objective is to obtain similar Dreamliner lavatories on single aisle aircraft, that is pretty much a useless objective and just not acceptable. I understand the new committee is chaired by airline personnel and previous paid consultants of Boeing or parties related to Boeing, so it will be little surprise to see the status quo unchanged. Please help! Let me know if I can help.

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