Provisions to Improve Air Travel Experience Included in FAA Reauthorization

House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) overwhelmingly by a vote of 393-13

By PVA National Staff

On April 27th, the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) overwhelmingly by a vote of 393-13. This legislation includes many amendments from the Air Carriers Access Amendment Act (H.R. 5004) as introduced by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI).

PVA supports the following provisions included H.R.4:

  • Development of an airline passengers with disabilities bill of rights.
  • Increased civil penalties for harm towards passengers with disabilities or their wheelchairs.
  • Establishment of a Select Subcommittee on Aviation Consumers with Disabilities to the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection.
  • Evaluation of areas for improvement to increase airport accessibility and training of air carrier and contract personnel.
  • Requirements for the U.S. Access Board and the DOT to investigate the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems for people with disabilities.
  • Directions to DOT to revise its service animal regulation.
  • Requirements for passengers with disabilities to receive timely and effective assistance at the airport and on the aircraft, including personnel providing hands on assistance possibly being required to receive hands on training to perform that assistance and on the use of any needed equipment.

The Senateโ€™s FAA reauthorization legislation is still pending and will likely come to the floor in June. The Senate legislation, S.1405, passed out of Committee on June 29, 2017, and has many of the same provisions affecting passengers with disabilities as the House version (H.R. 4). Of note, the Senate bill does not include specific direction for DOT to revise policies regarding service animals.

Other parts of the ACAAA (H.R. 5004 / S. 1318) that could possibly be added as amendments when the Senate bill goes to the floor are a private right of action, the referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ)
of alleged violations, and a requirement for airlines to use aircraft that meet accessibility standards as defined by the ACCESS Board and the DOT.

After the Senate passes its version of FAA Reauthorization, the two measures will be conferenced to work out the differences with the goal of having legislation for the Presidentโ€™s signature before the current FAA authorization expires at the end of September.

 

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