Fliers with disabilities face many challenges without accessible restrooms. Travellers face stressful situations with airport staffers damaging or destroying their wheelchairs or even facing hurtful comments made by cabin crew members.
According to the Department of Transportation (DoT), new single-aisle aircraft will eventually need to have full-accessible lavatories under a new rule of making aeroplane bathrooms more accessible in the coming years.
In this context, Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that they were proud to announce this rule that will make aeroplane bathrooms larger and more accessible. He added that it will also ensure that travellers in wheelchairs are afforded the same access and dignity as the rest of the travelling public.
The DOT stated in its summary of the new guidelines that new single-aisle aircraft need to make lavatories that are large enough to permit an attendant and a passenger with a disability. Thus, the bathroom must be big enough for both people to approach, enter and manoeuvre within as necessary.
The accessibility facet was already introduced to double-aisle planes. However, such planes are more common for international flights. According to the new ruling, the lavatories will need to be bigger and also require them to have more accessible faucets, door locks, call buttons, and other controls. Plus, the lavatories will need to be fitted with grab bars and have minimum obstructions for an onboard wheelchair to pass, a barrier for privacy, and toe clearance.
The lavatory changes, such as the grab bars and accessible call buttons will feature on new aircraft by 2026. Furthermore, the expanded lavatories will need featuring for new aircraft around 2033.