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New Air Travel Rules Make Flying Easier for Disabled Passengers

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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.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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