Flying With a Wheelchair Is a Nightmare. Federal Policy Could Change That.

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Using a wheelchair is an experience many people have encountered, whether due to disabilities, injury, recovery after a medical procedure, or any number of other life situations. Yet airlines in the U.S. still make it incredibly difficult for people who use wheelchairs to fly - forcing people in wheelchairs to choose between enduring mistreatment, or being cut them off from the rest of the world due to the challenges of air travel. 

Flying in a wheelchair is, even at its best, incredibly humiliating. At its worst, air travel for disabled people is outright dangerous and potentially even fatal. But it doesn't have to be this way. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must act to protect disabled people immediately!

Sign now to demand the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration introduce strict standards and plans for protecting passengers with disabilities and any equipment they may be traveling with!

Tragic stories abound of disabled flyers enduring miserable and dangerous treatment during air travel. This includes far too many stories about staff mishandling expensive and crucial wheelchair equipment, causing damage that's sometimes beyond repair. And that has huge implications for wheelchair users' lives.

Wheelchair damage can disrupt travel and work, and it can also leave people without the equipment they need to stay alive. In fact, beloved activist Engracia Figueroa died last year after suffering medical complications when United Airlines destroyed her wheelchair. These stories are all too common - and completely unacceptable.

The problem is so widespread - and so dire - that a recent Washington Post investigation found airlines lose or damage about 29 mobility aids every single day. This amounts to more than 10,000 vital, live-changing tools destroyed or damaged by airlines every single year. To make matters worse, airlines will often outright refuse to pay people back for the costs of the wheelchairs they lost, or drag the compensation process on by months or years. Wheelchair users do not consider these tools objects, but rather extensions of themselves because they are so integral to mobility and autonomy. Imagine going months or years without something this essential.

But the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has the power to change all of this. The FAA could create strong, strict standards – as well as plans for enforcement – to ensure that passengers with disabilities are protected and any equipment they depend on is properly cared for. Far too many disabled people have suffered at the hands of careless airlines, and it is time the FAA finally stepped up and created a comprehensive disability standard for air travel! Sign the petition now if you agree!
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