We all know airplanes aren’t the best places to stretch or move around with ease. For passengers who use wheelchairs, though, it can be a nightmare. More and more stories have come out recently about the unfair and uncomfortable setup on planes for those with special and medical accessibility needs, and the U.S. Department of Transportation just announced they’re finally doing something about it.
From 
While airlines have complied with the regulations set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, previously unconsidered issues like inadequate bathroom size have been brought to light thanks to social media. Now, the DOT’s ACCESS Advisory Committee—which includes airline representatives, flight attendants, and people with disabilities—revealed they plan to make bathrooms on single-aisle aircrafts (a.k.a. six-abreast seating in a cabin below 13 feet of width), which account for most domestic and short-haul international flights, more accessible for those in wheelchairs or who need extra assistance on board. 
“The agreement reached by the ACCESS Advisory Committee is an important step towards ensuring that air travelers with disabilities have equal access to air transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a release. “It is unfair to expect individuals with limited mobility to refrain from using the restroom when they fly on single aisle aircraft, particularly since single aisle aircraft are increasingly used for longer flights.” 
While the committee understands that the current size of the lavatory would not change immediately, they do want to require airlines to “take a number of steps to improve the accessibility of these lavatories short of increasing their size three years after the effective date of the final rule.” Along with better bathroom accessibility, they also want better “maneuverability standards for the aircraft’s on-board wheelchair.” In the future, they want all single-aisle aircrafts with more than 125 passengers to be required to have the more accessible, larger bathroom currently found on twin-aisle aircraft. It was not specified whether or not new planes would have to be built or if current ones would have to be reconstructed and who would take on that cost.
And that’s not the only issue the committee is proposing to tackle. They also want to require airlines to offer entertainment options for people who are blind, deaf, or hard of hearing, as most airlines generally do not provide in-flight entertainment with audio description or closed captioning. “It is also unfair for passengers who are deaf or blind not to be able to enjoy the same entertainment that is available to other passengers,” the committee added in the release. It's unclear how this would effect in-flight announcements, but current standards state that flight attendants can ask disabled passengers if they need to be notified separately if something is said over the public address speaker.This is a big win for the ACCESS Advisory Committee, as the decision was reached after seven months of negotiations. The committee is preparing to issue a notice of proposed rule-making based on this agreement in July 2017. But, one issue is still outstanding: reaching an agreement on on-board service animals