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April 23, 2019Advocacy Matters

Listen to Advocacy Matters April 23, 2019: Air Travel with Wheelchairs

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

April 23, 2019

#AdvocacyMatters Segment


People with disabilities, who travel by air, now know that their mishandled or damaged wheelchair or scooter is being documented and reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation revised their regulations to report mishandled wheelchair and scooter data in aircraft cargo compartments after the Federal Aviation Act was reauthorized in 2018.  The requirement went into effect on December 4, 2018.

The data is found in the Transportation Department’s Air Travel Consumer Reports.

When we looked at those reports, here’s what we found. In December 2018, airlines reported 701 incidents of mishandled wheelchairs and scooters.  That was 2.18% of all wheelchairs and scooters that people with disabilities took with them on air travel (32,229 transported).

In January 2019, airlines report 681 incidents.  That was 2.06% (33,115 transported).

Many of us have experienced or have friends who have traveled by air with their scooters only to have their mobility device damaged, bent or broken by the airline.

The advocacy community had difficulty accessing data about the extent to which airlines had damaged or broken wheelchairs or scooters nationwide.

We hope that the change in documenting and reporting the data will help keep pressure on the airlines to come up with better policies to avoid damage to our technology in the future.

#AdvocacyMatters and we thank Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for her work to make this data collection a reality.