Traveling by plane is one of the safest (and fastest) methods of getting from point A to point B, but crowded airports, long waits at security checkpoints and baggage restrictions can make flying a nightmare when you have a disability.
With the help of legislation and strong advocacy, airlines and airports are making it more accessible for travelers with disabilities. We’ve created a fully accessible guide to help you navigate the airports, with tips and tricks to make flying with a disability an easier, more enjoyable process.
Know your rights
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits “discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation.”
That means that those with disabilities have the right to certain accommodations such as wheelchair assistance, early boarding, interpreters, and/or TTY technology that make it safer to travel. While most airports and U.S. facilities have those accommodations available, you will probably have to ask for them.
Flying outside the United States? People with disabilities are still entitled to certain accommodations, free of charge, under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). It states that all domestic and international flights that have the U.S. as the destination or origination are required to provide those necessary accommodations to people with disabilities to ensure safe travel.
Knowing what you’re entitled to and not being afraid to ask for it will make the entire flight process less stressful.
Planning your trip
Probably the most important part of your trip is the planning stage. Taking the time to map out an itinerary and plan ahead will prepare you for some of the expected complications and ensure that the airline you choose has the accommodations you need ready to go for your trip.