Far too many people with disabilities continue to experience unnecessary obstacles and challenges when flying. As an organization whose goal is to alleviate transportation barriers to healthcare, PALS SkyHope stands with those who seek to make airlines more accessible to those with disabilities. There are a variety of barriers people with disabilities continue to face around the world.
A couple of examples include:
- Having difficulty accessing adequate healthcare and equipment
- Facing significantly lower rates of employment, which contributes to high rates of poverty and other challenges
Every five years, Congress must renew the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This gives federal lawmakers an opportunity to examine the airline industry and see if any reforms or other matters must be resolved. That authorization expires at the end of September 2023, and currently Congress is preparing to write a new five-year authorization bill and vote on it in the coming days. This “must pass” bill is an opportunity to enact vital measures that will improve air travel for people living with disabilities.
The Senate and the House have released and are working to pass their own FAA Reauthorization proposals through both chambers. Although each bill is a little different, together these reforms would make substantial improvements to air travel including:
- Mandating regular training for airline and airport personnel who assist passengers with disabilities and load and stow wheelchairs for flights
- Continuing the effort to allow people to stay in their wheelchairs during flight
- Strengthening enforcement of fines and penalties for wheelchair damage and injuries
- Giving the disability community a seat at the table, and much more
Passengers with disabilities, even after the Air Carrier Access Act was passed, still endure indignities when traveling commercially. These indignities include “damaged wheelchairs, inaccessible lavatories, rude gate agents, and even physical injuries—up to and including death.” While Congress works with the Federal Aviation Administration towards making Airlines accessible for all passengers, there are aviation charities such as PALS SkyHope that provide free private flights to people with disabilities, treating them with dignity and respect they deserve while traveling.
Utilizing an aviation charity such as PALS SkyHope allows you more freedom than traveling with commercial airlines. The biggest difference when flying private is the boarding and security process. Large crowds and going through TSA is a hassle for anyone and more so for those who need to bring large pieces of equipment. When you fly with PALS you control pretty much every detail, even scheduling the exact takeoff time that works for you at the airport most convenient. PALS makes traveling easier for people who are immunocompromised or are in pain, it makes their experience much easier and more comfortable.
By leveraging over 600 volunteer pilots, PALS SkyHope provides free flights for people in need of long-distance medical care; military personnel and their families traveling for recovery and rehabilitation. 95% of patients who fly with PALS have a disability and many must travel with prosthetics, oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and other essential equipment.
For more information about free flights, click here.