New Federal laws in the America are requiring airlines to declare how many wheelchairs or motorized scooters they damage or lose.
This will be helpful for many wheelchair users as the fear that their wheelchair might get damaged is what stops many wheelchair users from flying at all!
Disembarking from a flight only to find that your treasured items are lost or damaged is one of the worst cases for any traveller but for a wheelchair user it takes away their independence and mobility. If a wheelchair is damaged it can’t be easily replaced in a foreign country.
The new law will essentially allow wheelchair users to check a government website to find out which carriers are better or worse at handling their wheelchairs. This takes the stress away for wheelchair users when planning a journey.
There were 32,445 disability-related complaints of any kind filed with domestic and foreign air carriers in 2016. These facts were given from Liz Deakin, spokeswoman for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth is a war veteran and Hoffman Estates Democrat who helped pass legislation to speed up this new federal law. Senator Tammy Duckworth believes the new law is consumer-empowering.
Senator Duckworth herself has had two wheelchairs break on flights. In one instance, the solid titanium rod that connects the seat and the frame had been broken and when she sat in it and she sunk to the ground.
She was offered an inferior model that didn’t even allow Duckworth to roll herself in it.
Airlines must report damaged or lost wheelchairs starting this month. The data will be available to travellers in February at the U.S. DOT’s Consumer Air Travel Reports website.
Before this new rule went into effect, it was unclear how many wheelchairs airlines had damaged or lost.