DEEP BENCH: Creating air travel for all

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - As the busiest travel season of the year kicks off, Paralyzed Veterans of America--or PVA-- warns air travel can be inhumane and dangerous for people with disabilities.

This lack of accessibility affects millions of Americans with mobility disabilities.

Charles Brown, president of PVA, joined the Deep Bench on NewsChannel 7 at 4 to discuss the problem.

Brown suffered a spinal cord during a skydive while with the Marines. He’s been in a wheelchair for 35 years.

For people in wheelchairs, you have to be transferred to an aisle chair, narrow enough to go down the airplane aisle, and taken onto the plane. Then lifted from that chair into the airplane seat. More times than not, a person’s wheelchair is designed in a way to keep the person upright. They don’t get that from the airline seats. The wheelchair is put into cargo with the rest of luggage.

“Often times, if you’ve flown, you know that luggage gets damaged,” Brown said. “Our wheelchairs are damaged or broken.”

Brown also points out the bathrooms are not wheelchair accessible. When he flies, he doesn’t eat for 18 hours before a flight because he knows he can’t use the bathroom during the flight.

“We need inclusion for all now. We need for Congress to step up and make this accessibility for all.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was drawn up in 1986, and passed into law in 1990. Buses and trains became accessible for wheelchairs in all facets. But nothing has been done for air travel.

“The biggest change has to actually come from Congress,” Brown said. “Make sure this Air Carriers Amendment Act is passed. One of the big things we need is for the public go to, sign the petition. Tell Congress its time to make inclusion for all for air travel.”

For more information you can follow the link here, and watch Brown’s interview with NewsChannel 7.

Copyright 2021 WSAW. All rights reserved.