The Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering undertaking a negotiated rulemaking under the Air Carrier Access Act to address issues impacting air travel for passengers with disabilities. These issues include access to inflight entertainment, accommodation of medical oxygen, policies on service animals, restroom accessibility, seating accommodations, and carrier reporting of disability service requests.
As outlined in a recent notice in the Federal Register, DOT is exploring the feasibility of forming an advisory committee of stakeholders and affected parties to address these issues as a regulatory negotiation. Under this process, committee members would work together to reach consensus on regulatory solutions to the issues. Likely committee members would include representatives from advocacy groups, airlines, airports, airline vendors providing wheelchair assistance, aircraft manufacturers, companies that manufacture and provide content for inflight entertainment systems, and service animal training organizations, as well as other federal agencies with a regulatory interest, such as the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Communications Commission. If consensus is reached, DOT would then proceed with rulemaking and publish for public comment a proposed rule based on the committee's recommendations.
DOT is examining the feasibility of this rulemaking approach and is currently accepting public comments on the subject until January 6, 2016, as indicated in its notice. For further information, contact Kathleen Blank Riether of the DOT Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 366-9342.