Air Carrier Access Act
The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA) is Title 49, Section 41705 of the U.S. Code. The Act amended the earlier section 404(b) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (FAA), which was repealed by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. The ACAA prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities. The act was passed by the U.S. Congress in direct response to a narrow interpretation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) v. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). In PVA, the Supreme Court held that private, commercial air carriers are not liable under Section 504 because they are not "direct recipients" of federal funding to airports.
The Act was construed to contain an implied private right of action. However, in 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Alexander v. Sandoval, which held that federal courts may not find an implied private right unless a statute gives explicit indication that Congress intended to bestow such a right. In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit followed the lead of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which relied on the Sandoval decision to hold that the Act can only be enforced by filing an administrative complaint with the DOT.
In 2013, the DOT provided new rules requiring all domestic and foreign air carriers to have accessible websites and kiosks. By December 12, 2015 the core functionality of all Air Carrier's websites needed to be accessible, by December 12, 2016 the remaining web pages are required to be accessible.
Since this act prohibits airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities, they must allow them to bring along their service animals. In recent years, people have been taking advantage of this act. Delta Air Lines released the statistic that they've seen an 84% increase in animal incidents. Not all of the disability animals that have came through the doors of Delta Air Lines however, have actually been service animals.
- United States Department of Transportation v. Paralyzed Veterans of America, 477 U.S. 597 (1986).
- 532 U.S. 275 (2001)
- Boswell v. SkyWest Airlines, Inc., 361 F.3d 1263 (10th Cir. 2004).
- Love v. Delta Air Lines, 310 F.3d 1347 (11th Cir. 2002).
- "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Accessibility of Web Sites and Automated Kiosks at U.S. Airports". Regulations.gov. US Department of Transportation. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- "More and more "emotional-support animals" are boarding planes". The Economist. September 13, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
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