We have heard many horror stories of wheelchairs being permanently damaged during air travel, so we are glad to see that the Department of Transportation is making efforts to curb this problem. Starting on January 1, 2018, domestic air carriers will have new reporting requirements related to handling of wheelchairs and scooters. On a monthly basis, carriers will have to submit specific information to the Department of Transportation, including the total number of wheelchairs and scooters carried in the cargo compartment of the aircraft and the number of wheelchairs and scooters stored in the cargo compartment that were mishandled. This information must be submitted to the Department of Transportation “within 15 days after the end of the month to which the information applies.” 14 C.F.R. § 234.6. Although only time will tell if this is a solution to the problem, we are hopeful that this new reporting requirement will be beneficial to people with disabilities who use these mobility devices. At the very least, it will give people with disabilities the ability to make informed decisions regarding which carrier to travel with when flying with a wheelchair or scooter.
New Department of Transportation Regulation Regarding Mishandling of Wheelchairs & Scooters