Accessible toilets on single-aisle aircraft

New regulations a step in right direction

Whilst widespread availability will be some years away, new regulations on accessible toilets for single-aisle aircraft are a step in the right direction.

disabilityscoop, July 31, 2023

The U.S. Department of Transportation is finalizing regulations requiring that many new commercial aircraft be more accessible to people with disabilities.

The agency said that new single-aisle airliners with 125 or more seats will need to offer lavatories “large enough to permit a passenger with a disability and attendant, both equivalent in size to a 95th percentile male, to approach, enter, and maneuver within as necessary.”

Until now, accessible lavatories have only been mandated on airplanes with more than one aisle, but increasingly, single-aisle aircraft have been used for longer flights. The smaller planes accounted for 86% of flights between 1,500 and 3,000 miles in 2021, the Transportation Department said, double the level in 1991.

Such flights can last for four hours or more, forcing people with disabilities to resort to extreme measures such as dehydrating themselves, using adult diapers or catheters in order to fly, the agency indicated.

New single-aisle aircraft with 125 seats or more delivered three years after the rule is in place must include grab bars, accessible faucets and other features. In addition, on-board wheelchairs must be able to partially enter the lavatory adequately to allow an individual to transfer to the toilet, among other improvements.

Meanwhile, federal officials have indicated that they are working on a rule to allow travelers with disabilities to remain in their own wheelchairs on commercial flights.

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SOURCE: disabilityscoop, July 31, 2023

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by Michelle Diament

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