By Air

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel and requires that all flights on U.S. airlines, and  flights to or from the United States by foreign airlines, accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities. Each airline has their own policies and procedures so calling ahead can help the travel experience go more smoothly.

New Horizons: Information for the Air Traveler with a Disability
This guide is designed to offer travelers with disabilities a brief but authoritative source of information about the Air Carrier Access rules: the accommodations, facilities, and services that are now required to be available.  It also describes features required by other regulations designed to make air travel more accessible.

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions and Children with Disabilities
Information from the TSA about the screening and security process for air travelers with disabilities.

Handy Tips to Know about Airlines:

  • It is best to book reservations as early as possible and inform the airline if you will be requiring special assistance.
  • You should arrive for your flight at least an hour in advance because people with disabilities will be the first to board the plane.
  • Inform the airline at least 48 hours in advance of your flight for services you will need for the trip.
  • Always confirm that they have a record of your requests 48 hours prior to departure.
  • All US airlines require a doctor’s letter in order to air travel with an oxygen tank.
  • Make your reservations as far in advance as possible and be willing to take the extra time to confirm details prior to your trip.
  • Inform the reservation clerk if you are traveling with a wheelchair and specify if it is manual or powered. (If you are taking a powered wheelchair, let the airline know what type of battery it uses.)
  • Inform the airline if you need assistance in boarding.
  • Inform the airline if you have a service dog
  • If it is a long flight and you are able to use the standard plane restroom, but are unable to walk to the restroom, ask that they make the aisle chair available to you during the flight.
  • Take a direct flight when possible to avoid plane changes.


Guide to Airlines’ Accommodations

Check out the recent guide to airlines’ accommodations for passengers with disabilities from