ADA Airport Accessibility for Those with Hearing Loss/Deafness

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ADA Airport Accessibility for Those with Hearing Loss/Deafness

Airports must provide us with the information, but we still have to self-identify and make ourselves continuously available for the attendants to find us.

ยง382.53 What information must carriers give individuals with a vision or hearing impairment at airports?

(a)(1) As a U.S. carrier, you must ensure that passengers with a disability who identify themselves as persons needing visual or hearing assistance have prompt access to the same information provided to other passengers at each gate, ticketing area, and customer service desk that you own, lease, or control at any U.S. or foreign airport, to the extent that this does not interfere with employees' safety and security duties as set forth in FAA, TSA, and applicable foreign regulations.

(2)As a foreign carrier, you must make this information available at each gate, ticketing area, and customer service desk that you own, lease, or control at any U.S. airport. At foreign airports, you must make this information available only at gates, ticketing areas, or customer service desks that you own, lease, or control and only for flights that begin or end in the U.S.

(3)As a U.S. or foreign carrier, at any U.S. airport covered by this paragraph where the airport has effective control over the covered gates, ticketing areas, and customer service desks, you and the airport are jointly responsible for compliance.

(b)The information you must provide under paragraph (a) of this section includes, but is not limited to, the following: Information concerning flight safety, ticketing, flight check-in, flight delays or cancellations, schedule changes, boarding information, connections, gate assignments, checking baggage, volunteer solicitation on oversold flights (e.g., offers of compensation for surrendering a reservation), individuals being paged by airlines, aircraft changes that affect the travel of persons with disabilities, and emergencies (e.g., fire, bomb threat).

(c)With respect to information on claiming baggage, you must provide the information to passengers who identify themselves as persons needing visual or hearing assistance no later than you provide this information to other passengers

[Doc. No. DOT-OST-2004-19482, 73 FR 27665, May 13, 2008, as amended at 74 FR 11471, Mar. 18, 2009

With airports, you have two different issues. Anything dealing with the operations of the airlines themselves, including things like gate announcements, are governed not by the ADA but by the Air Carrier Access Act.. The specifics under ACAA are regulations from the Department of Transportation, and the current DOT regs are pretty industry-friendly. We may go to the gate, self-identify, and the attendants will come find us (allegedly) when there's something we need to know. I think they may try to be good about that, but sometimes, the race is to the swift, such as a flight-cancellation announcement that leaves everyone scrambling to rebook. If there is a central paging system, as there sometimes is, then that would have to be ADA compliant, and would require things like captioning. (SFO, for one, has a visual paging system). Some airlines do better at this than others, but it's basically up to them.

The concession areas will be governed by ADA, but as practical matter, that doesn't help us a whole lot. Some cities have ordinances requiring captioning to be turned on any television in a public area.