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Bonnie Hayes of Access 382 to be Featured on Close Up Radio

DOUBLE OAK, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, May 10, 2022 / -- How do airlines ensure they do not discriminate against people with disabilities, but treat them with respect and dignity?

In 1986, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) was enacted to ensure people with disabilities are treated fairly when flying and that all services offered by airlines are accessible to them. This important legislation, signed into law four years prior to the American with Disabilities Act, provides passengers with disabilities rights and expectations when traveling by air.

14 CFR Part 382 gives guidance to airlines that ensure people with disabilities are not discriminated against simply because they have a disability. This guidance includes the booking process, seating availability, airport wheelchair services, mobility device handling and onboard services.

With a near 40 year career with American Airlines, Bonnie Hayes has extensive experience in serving passengers with disabilities, training front line employees on how to deliver services and developing policy and procedures that impact the travel experience for people with varying types of disabilities.

“I can remember the years before the ACAA was enacted and how passengers with disabilities were treated,” says Bonnie. “This regulation has brought about many necessary improvements to the aviation industry.”

Airlines recognize the need for collaboration in this space. “While airlines can’t get together to discuss fares, routes and many other topics, the subject of accessibility is an open forum,” says Bonnie. “I regularly met with my counterparts at Delta, JetBlue, United, Southwest and Alaska Airlines to share best practices and ways to improve the travel experience for all of our customers with disabilities.”

Today, Bonnie is an expert on 14 CFR Part 382 and the founder of Access 382, where she specializes in litigation consulting and expert witness testimony relating to cases involving with airline passengers with disabilities. Many aviation consultants or expert witnesses are pilots whose focus are aircraft incidents and safety of flight. They aren’t familiar with accessibility for people with disabilities and how federal regulations protect them from discrimination.

The Air Carrier Access Act was written to protect people with disabilities from discrimination but also to ensure their dignity is not compromised when they travel by air.

“These passengers are not looking for special treatment. Many, if not most, consider their trip successful if they were not treated rudely, injured, and their wheelchair arrived, undamaged, at their destination,” says Bonnie. “It isn't that airlines don't want to do the right thing. It just isn’t always the priority it needs to be. Regularly engaging and listening to disability organizations can position an airline to become the preferred carrier for people with disabilities.”

As for the future, Bonnie says she would like to see airlines partner with the disabled community to not only meet their needs but exceed their expectations.

Close Up Radio will feature Bonnie Hayes in an interview with Jim Masters on May 12th at 12pm EDT and with Doug Llewelyn on May 19th at 12pm EDT

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If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389

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Lou Ceparano
Close Up Television & Radio
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