Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg revealed Wednesday that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has introduced a new rule to increase the size of airplane bathrooms.
The rule will “require airlines to make lavatories on new single-aisle aircraft 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 to use the aircraft lavatory,” according to a DOT press release.
The new rule follows the January decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a DOT subagency, to temporarily ground all flights in the U.S. for the first time since the September 11 attacks in response to a widespread FAA system outage.
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“Traveling can be stressful enough without worrying about being able to access a restroom; yet today, millions of wheelchair users are forced to choose between dehydrating themselves before boarding a plane or avoiding air travel altogether,” Buttigieg said, according to the DOT press release.
Vice President Kamala Harris previously called the lack of enlarged airplane bathrooms “unacceptable,” promising on July 11 that the Biden administration would “soon announce a solution to help end this inequity.” Buttigieg called the new rule “big news” in a Wednesday tweet.
Buttigieg and the DOT have drawn criticism over several national transportation fiascoes. For example, supply chain difficulties continue to dog the American economy under his watch, Congress had to step in to avoid a major rail worker strike in November 2022, and the agency was seemingly unprepared for the December 2022 Southwest Airlines meltdown that left thousands of Americans stranded at airports ahead of the holidays, according to Axios.
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