Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years by a unanimous 63-0 vote. The bipartisan legislation includes common-sense consumer protection measures, including several led by Rep. Greg Stanton to improve the air travel experience for millions of people with disabilities.

“When Arizona families book a plane ticket, they expect to get where they’re going safely, on time and at a reasonable cost,” Stanton said. “But with excessive flight delays and cancellations, junk fees, and discriminatory policies for disabled passengers, Arizonans are fed up. With this bipartisan bill, we’re taking steps to fix that.”

Stanton led several provisions to make sure disabled passengers can fly safely and with dignity, including:

  • A measure based on Stanton’s WHEELChairs on Airplanes Act requiring the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee to conduct a review of regulations, standards and air carrier policies regarding lithium-ion battery powered wheelchairs and mobility aids to prevent passengers with disabilities from being erroneously and arbitrarily denied boarding;
  • A measure based on Stanton’s bipartisan Mobility Aids On Board Improve Lives and Empower All (MOBILE) Act requiring airlines to provide a refund to individuals with disabilities who purchase a ticket but cannot travel because their wheelchair cannot physically be accommodated in the cargo hold of the aircraft; directs the Secretary of Transportation to annually evaluate data regarding the mishandling of wheelchairs on aircrafts; and studies the feasibility of allowing individuals with disabilities to remain seated in their personal wheelchairs during flights.

The bill also includes provisions to improve the flying experience for all passengers:

  • Directing the Department of Transportation to require airlines to develop policies addressing reimbursement for passengers for hotel and meal costs when a flight is cancelled or significantly delayed;
  • Requiring airlines to develop airline operation resiliency plans to help prevent and limit the impact of mass flight disruptions;
  • Requiring airlines to establish policies on allowing passengers to sit next to their young child if adjacent seats are available.

The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote.