Episode 62 Resources: Airport Accessibility and the ADA

Date: November 7, 2018

Airport Accessibility Regulations and Guidance

Did You Know? Once you get on an airplane, the rights of people with disabilities are not covered by the ADA. They are covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (49 U.S.C. 1374 (c)).

  • Air Carrier Access Act of 1986
    DOT rule (Title 14 CFR Part 382)
    Part 382—Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
    Source: Government Publishing Office
    Link: www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ae47679a5dc0b0cdd685abc7e3437dbb&mc=true&node=pt14.4.382&rgn=div5
    This rule prohibits both U.S. and foreign carriers from discriminating against passengers on the basis of disability; requires carriers to make aircraft, other facilities, and services accessible; and requires carriers to take steps to accommodate passengers with a disability.
  • Rights of Passengers with Disabilities – Summary of the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA)
    Source: U. S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities
  • Air Carrier Access Act Fact Sheet
    This new fact sheet, outlining the rights of passengers with disabilities traveling on U.S. airlines, is the latest in the â€śOut and About” series.
    Source: Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living (RTC/PICL)
    Link: rtcil.drupal.ku.edu/sites/rtcil.drupal.ku.edu/files/docs/Air%20Carrier%20Access%20Act%20ACAA%20fact%20sheet.pdf
  • Aviation Consumer Protection Information
    Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability
    A compilation of rules, guidance, enforcement orders and publications on disability issues in aviation.
  • Major Airline Accessibility Reforms Signed Into Law
    Sources: New Mobility, Southeast ADA Center
    Link: www.adasoutheast.org/news/articles.php?id=8831&idarea=General
    On October 5, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes a number of key reforms to protect the rights of disabled airline passengers and resolve some of the myriad issues that disabled passengers encounter at the airport and on the airplane.
  • Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018
    Source: Congress.gov
    Link: www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4/text
  • ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
    Source: New England ADA Center
    Link: adachecklist.org/
    Many businesses and state and local governments use this checklist to evaluate the accessibility of their facilities.
  • Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Accessible Automated Kiosks at U.S. Airports
    Source: Regulations.gov
    Link: www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=DOT-OST-2011-0177-0111
    This U.S. Department of Transportation rule requires that airports provide equal access to passengers with disabilities who use air carrier’s automated kiosks or purchase tickets online.
  • Passengers with Disabilities: Airport Accessibility Barriers and Practices and DOT's Oversight of Airlines' Disability-Related Training
    Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.transit.dot.gov/title6
    Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
  • Traveling with a Disability
    Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/traveling-disability

Specific Travel Topics from The U.S. Department of Transportation:

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals with Traveling

  • Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
    Source: ADA National Network
    Link: adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet
    Outlines ADA requirements for service animals and emotional support animals.
  • Air Carrier Access Act: Service Animals
    Source: Southwest ADA Center
    Link: www.southwestada.org/html/topical/aircarrier/aircarrier_serviceanimals.html
    Question and answer: Must carriers permit passengers with a disability to travel with service animals?
  • Video: Traveling with Service Animals [YouTube, 5:29 min.]
    Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbZhruHJKdA
    This captioned video outlines the requirements for traveling with service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

Other Resources to Improve Airport Accessibility

  • Atlanta Airport Accessibility Information
    Source: Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport
    Link: www.atl.com/ada/
    Their mission is to provide a safe, enjoyable travel experience as well as equal access for guests and passengers with disabilities and/or special needs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
  • AMAC Accessibility
    Source: Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
    Link: www.amacusg.org
    Provides practical solutions for real challenges faced daily by individuals with disabilities. AMAC offers corporate, governmental and nonprofit memberships for services, including disability compliance consultation, Braille, captioning, accessible digital content and assistive technology.
  • Accessible Airport Terminals
    Source: Accessibility Online
    Link: www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/archives/110663
    This webinar from June 7, 2018 reviews solutions to common access issues in airports. It focuses on areas of special concern such as accessible passenger loading zones, self-service ticketing kiosks, security checkpoints, boarding bridges and devices, signage, sales and service counters, communication systems, and service animal relief areas.
  • ADA Live! Episode 39: Universal Design
    Source: ADA Live, Southeast ADA Center
    Link: www.adalive.org/episode39
    Listen to the audio file or read the transcript
  • Universal Design Resource List from ADALive!
    Link: www.adalive.org/episode39_resources
    Universal Design is changing the world we live in by making buildings, products and environments that are accessible to all - people with disabilities and those without disabilities.
  • ACAA Requirements for Airport Websites and Kiosks
    Source: Level Access
    Link: www.levelaccess.com/accessibility-regulations/air-carrier-access-act/
    Information on ACAA requirements for airport kiosk and website accessibility are explained in plain language.
  • Getting There and Back Again: Air Travel for People with Disabilities
    Source: Level Access
    Link: www.levelaccess.com/air-travel-for-people-with-disabilities/
    Web-based functions of the air travel experience should be accessible to all travelers, regardless of disability.
  • Open Doors Organization (ODO)
    Source: Open Doors Organization (ODO)
    Link: opendoorsnfp.org
    Focused on the fields of hospitality and transportation, this organization conducts market research, disability awareness training, educational seminars, and diversity programs that improve the quality of life for the individual with a disability while opening doors to businesses and society.
  • Disability Training Materials and Helpful Information
    Source: U. S. Department of Transportation
    Link: www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability-training
    These modular programs can be used to assist individuals with disabilities and to supplement the training and education of airline employees and contractors. The programs focus on the rights and responsibilities of individuals and airlines under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).


The contents of this website are developed by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, with funding from the Southeast ADA Center under NIDILRR Grant Number #90DP0090-01-00 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Southeast ADA Center is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. 

The information, materials, and/or technical assistance provided by the Southeast ADA Center are intended solely as informal guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The Southeast ADA Center does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained herein. Furthermore, in order to effectively provide technical assistance to all individuals and entities covered by the ADA, NIDILRR requires the Southeast ADA Center to assure confidentiality of communications between those covered and the Center. Any links to non-Southeast ADA Center information are provided as a courtesy, and are neither intended to, nor do they constitute, an endorsement of the linked materials or its accessibility.

NIDILRR is not responsible for enforcement of the ADA. For more information or assistance, please contact the Southeast ADA Center via its web site at ADAsoutheast.org or by calling 1-800-949-4232 (voice) or 404-541-9001 (voice). 

Contact For More Information or Assistance:

Southeast ADA Center
Email: ADAsoutheast@law.syr.edu
Phone: 404-541-9001