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The following are examples of the types of accommodations and services that must be provided to passengers with disabilities while still ensuring the safety and security of all air travelers. The examples are not all-inclusive. Please refer to the fact sheet called Steps Taken to Ensure New Security Requirements: Preserve and Respect the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department of Transportation for more information.
- Air carriers must provide enplaning and deplaning assistance, including assistance beyond the screener checkpoints, but have discretion in how this is provided.
- Ticketed passengers with their own oxygen for use on the ground are allowed beyond the screener checkpoints with their oxygen canisters once the canisters have been thoroughly inspected.
- The limit of one carry-on bag and one personal bag (ex. purse or briefcase) for each traveler does not apply to medical supplies and/or assistive devices.
- All persons allowed beyond the screener checkpoints may be searched. Private screenings remain an option for persons in wheelchairs.
- Passengers should be able to maintain visual contact with their property while they are being screened.
- Service animals, once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed, are permitted on board an aircraft.
- Assistive devices such as walking canes, once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed, are permitted on board an aircraft. Equipment that cannot be x-rayed will be inspected physically or visually, although the consumer must make the request.
- Assistive devices, such as augmentative communication devices, will go through the same sort of security screening process as used for personal computers.
- Syringes are permitted on board an aircraft once it is determined that the person has a documented medical need for the syringe.
- Personal wheelchairs and battery-powered scooters may still be used to reach departure gates after they are inspected to ensure that they do not present a security risk.
- Any backpack or sidepack that is carried on the wheelchair will be manually inspected or put through the x-ray machines.
- Personal wheelchairs will still be allowed to be stowed on board an aircraft.
- Wheelchairs and assistive devices must be returned to passengers as close as possible to the door of the aircraft.
- Air carriers must ensure that qualified individuals with a disability, including those with vision or hearing impairments, have timely access to information, such as new security measures, the carriers provide to other passengers.
A toll free hotline for air travelers with disabilities is also available through the U.S. Department of Transportation to answer questions. The hotline phone numbers are 1-800-778-4838 (voice) and 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).
People who feel they have been discriminated against by air carriers should first request to speak with the Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) for the airline. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, a complaint can be filed with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division. A toll free hotline of the U.S. Department of Transportation to assist travelers with disabilities can also be contacted at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).
The following list provides links to other Web sites that offer information about airline travel for people with disabilities.
- Accessible Air Travel (PDF file) (United Spinal Association)
- Airport Screening Procedures and People with Disabilities (PDF file) (Security Transportation Security Adminstration)
- An Overview of the Air Carrier Access Act
- Flying with Disability
- Fly-Rights: A Consumer Guide to Air Travel (U.S. Department of Transportation)
- Passengers with Disabilities (U.S. Department of Transportation)
- Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions (Transportation Security Administration)
- Traveling with Disabilities (PDF file) (U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs)