Paralyzed Veterans of America applauds DOT Air Travel Report’s inclusion of wheelchair and scooter mishandling data for the first time

Important new consumer information for passengers with disabilities  is part of legislation championed by PVA

Media Contact: Liz Deakin LizD@pva.org, 202-416-7627

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2019) — Paralyzed Veterans of America applauds the release of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s February 2019 Air Travel Consumer Report, which for the first time, includes the number of wheelchairs and scooters enplaned and mishandled by airlines. This new information has been long-sought by disability rights organizations, led by Paralyzed Veterans of America, whose members say damaged equipment is one of their most common travel hassles.
 
The damage statistics are now required for the monthly consumer reports following Paralyzed Veterans of America’s lawsuit against the DOT, and subsequent Congressional action in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The February report includes enplanement and mishandling data from December 2018 and information on complaints about treatment of passengers with disabilities.

“Equipment damage reporting is a crucial piece of the puzzle for travelers with disabilities. Our members, and anyone with a disability, can now make informed decisions when planning air travel,” said Shaun Castle, deputy executive director for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We hope this accountability will inspire airlines to improve procedures to accommodate the more than 20 million Americans who have mobility disabilities.” Castle is a service-disabled U.S. Army veteran who has had his wheelchair bent, cracked and even lost in separate air travel incidents.
 
The Air Travel Consumer Report contains information from 12 major airlines, with damage percentages ranging from less than one percent, to nearly 15 percent, of the wheelchairs and scooters stored in aircraft cargo compartments. In total, 701 devices were reported damaged from December 4 to December 31, 2018.
 
Consumers can access the full report at pva.org/travel. The site includes the damage report and tips for travelers with disabilities and will continue to provide updates regarding travel requirements and resources for accessible travel.