The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee) was established to negotiate and develop a proposed rule concerning accommodations for air travelers with disabilities. The rule addresses three issues. One of them, regarding in-flight entertainment, specifically benefits those with hearing loss. (The other two pertain to accessible lavatories on new single-aisle aircraft and service animals.) On November 22, the ACCESS Advisory Committee – of which HLAA is a member – voted on and approved the proposals.
The proposals included provisions to ensure in-flight entertainment will be captioned and audio described. They also approved the formation of a Task Force to look into ways to make sure in-flight announcements are also accessible.
The recommendations will form the basis of DOT’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which we expect to be out next year. While we did not get everything we proposed (which, after all is the nature of compromise) we did move solidly ahead to ensure that air travelers with hearing loss get more captioning on their flight and with the possibility of in-flight announcements being accessible in the coming years.
You can find more information on the DOT website.