DHHCAN Releases New Consumer Action Guide on Air Travel
Editor: Just in time for the 2009 Holiday season, DHHCAN has released
its new Consumer Action Guide on Air Travel. This press release describes
the document and includes a link so you can get your very own copy!
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN)
announces today a new DHHCAN Consumer Action Guide for Air Travel. This
guide is based upon the recent update of the Air Carrier Access Act
regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation in May 2009,
during one of the most comprehensive overhauls since the Act was enacted
As we enter the hectic 2009 holiday travel season, it is important that
deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened and deaf-blind travelers are aware of
their rights when making reservations, inside the terminal, and onboard
the aircraft. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) sets out requirements for
disability access at airports and on airlines.
These ACAA rules give protection from discrimination by:
* Prohibiting U.S. and foreign airlines from discriminating against
passengers on the basis of disability;
* Requiring airlines to make aircraft, other facilities, and services
* Requiring airlines to take steps to accommodate passengers with a
"Today's travelers need information from the minute they arrive at the
departing airport until they leave the destination airport. It is crucial
that they have prompt access to information once they self-identify that
they are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind," says Barbara Raimondo,
author of the DHHCAN Air Travel Action Guide 2009 and a mother of two deaf
Cheryl Heppner, vice chair of DHHCAN and a representative at the U.S.
Department of Transportation meetings on the ACAA hopes that the travel
guide will be useful to a broad range of individuals. "When I fly with my
hearing dog Galaxy, I must not only think about myself, but also Galaxy's
safety and comfort," she said. "The travel guide addresses important
concerns such as the need for seating appropriate for each specific
assistance dog and the need for designated areas where the dogs can
"These new regulations clarify the rights of not only deaf and hard of
hearing people, but also people who are deaf-blind," said Art Roehrig,
DHHCAN representative from American Association of the Deaf-Blind. He
adds, "The regulations enable them to get to their plane and to their
destination safely with less confusion on where they can go,"
The DHHCAN Airline Travel Action Guide for 2009 outlines the
requirements that information and reservation services be accessible to
individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind through TTY,
Relay Services or other technology. Televisions at airports must have
captions turned on. A traveler who self-identifies that he or she is deaf,
hard of hearing or deaf-blind, has the right to prompt and accessible
information throughout the terminal as well as all effective
communications with aircraft personnel. Service animals are allowed to
accompany a passenger with a disability in the main cabin of the aircraft.
Airlines must assist an individual who requests help moving around within
the airport terminal.
Because the airlines have major concerns about their ability to convey
safety information to deaf-blind travelers and to assist them in emergency
evacuation, they are permitted to require that a safety assistant
accompany the deaf-blind traveler at no extra charge.
The action guide provides guidance on filing a complaint if the
traveler experiences some form of discrimination. DHHCAN recommends that
travelers file complaints with the U.S. Department of Transportation when
any of these rules are violated.
The DHHCAN Action Guide on Air Travel is available online both as a
summary and as a full document at:
It joins the coalition's Consumer Action Guide on Captioning at:
which just received its third annual update.
About DHHCAN: Established in 1992, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN) provides a forum for proactive
coordination of information for addressing and influencing legislation. It
also seeks to further the movement toward universal, barrier-free access
with emphasis on quality, certification and standards.