U.S. govt. offers disability training

The U.S. Department of Transportation is offering airlines a training program that will make it easier for them to comply with laws protecting the rights of disabled air travelers.The new model training program highlights practices found by airlines to work best in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.

The training program is designed to help airlines comply with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which prohibits discriminatory treatment of persons with disabilities in air transportation.

While airlines are not required to implement the model training program, the Department encourages carriers to use it to complement their existing disabled access training programs.

Everyone has a right to be treated equally when they travel by air, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

This new model training program is part of our effort to help the airlines provide disabled travelers with the service to which they are entitled.

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The training program provides guidance for employees and contractors of air carriers that serve passengers with disabilities.

The program suggests practices and procedures for airline personnel to follow to help disabled travelers with boarding, deplaning and making connections, as well as information on the airlines responsibilities in such areas as service animals and assistive devices.

The program consists of three components: a manual for participants, an outline for trainers, and a PowerPoint presentation, which carriers may use separately or together depending upon their individual needs.

The model training program builds on a technical assistance manual, completed in July 2005, on air carriers responsibilities under the ACAA.

DOTs outreach efforts to the carriers also have included regular forums, beginning in May 2001, on how to improve air travel for passenger with disabilities.
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