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New Air Travel Rules Make Flying Easier for Disabled Passengers

The Department of Transportation has added new rules to make air travel easier for passengers with disabilities. From ticket purchasing to check-in to the flight itself, the entire experience should be accessible within two years. Here are some of the changes you'll be noticing:

  • Airline websites will be easier to use for everyone: Becoming more accessible for individuals with disabilities—based on the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—websites will actually become more accessible for everyone with improved visuals and clearer forms to fill out.

  • Same goes for automated kiosks: On top of being at varying heights for those in wheelchairs, check-in kiosks will also meet WCAG criteria. Every new kiosk installed must be accessible, until 25 percent of the kiosks at that location are usable by all.

  • Passengers' wheelchairs will be stowed in closets or strapped across seats: Previous rules prohibited seat-strapping on new aircraft. Now it's allowed again, along with storing wheelchairs in closets.

For more details, visit the regulation agency's website, and search for docket DOT-OST-2011-0177.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

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