New Federal Policy Will Ensure More Planes Have Accessible Bathrooms

The Department of Transportation just announced new rules going into effect starting in 2026.

Richard Sharrocks/Moment/Getty Images
Richard Sharrocks/Moment/Getty Images
Richard Sharrocks/Moment/Getty Images

The Department of Transportation is officially making moves to ensure planes become more accessible for all.

On Wednesday, the department announced that in the next few years it will require airlines to make lavatories more accessible. This means that, while up until now only widebody planes were required to have accessible bathrooms, in the future even single-aisle planes will need to be equipped with them. Partially, this has to do with the fact that smaller planes are now flying longer routes, with multiple airlines using them for coast-to-coast flights, which can be even six or more hours long.

“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,” Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are proud to announce this rule that will make airplane bathrooms larger and more accessible, ensuring travelers in wheelchairs are afforded the same access and dignity as the rest of the traveling public.”

The accessibility-oriented changes on planes will start in 2026. New single-aisle planes will be required to be equipped with grab bars, accessible call buttons and door locks, accessible faucets and controls, minimum obstruction to the passage of a wheelchair, toe clearance, and an available visual barrier for privacy. In the future, single-aisle planes ordered starting in 2033 or delivered starting in 2035 will be required to have fully-accessible bathrooms.

Older planes that are already flying before the start of the new program will not be required to update their bathrooms. However, according to the DOT, if such planes do undergo interior renovations involving fully replacing bathrooms after the rule is put into effect, they will be required to update the lavatories to comply with the new accessibility standards.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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