Banner for Aviation Consumer Protection web pages

You are here

Traveling with a Disability

A person with a disability may have a physical or mental impairment that impacts a major life activity - such as walking, hearing, or breathing.  This may be on a permanent or temporary basis.  For example, a person with a temporary disability may have a broken leg that is temporarily fused or immobilized.  Airlines must accommodate the needs of air travelers with disabilities.

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a law that makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers because of their disability.  The Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing the ACAA, which applies to all flights to, from, or within the United States. 

Airlines are also required to provide passengers with disabilities many types of assistance, including wheelchair or other guided assistance to board, deplane, or connect to another flight; seating accommodation assistance that meets passengers’ disability-related needs; and assistance with the loading and stowing of assistive devices. 

DOT has developed a series of disability-related training materials to assist passengers traveling with disabilities better understand their rights. To learn more about traveling on an aircraft with a disability please select one of the topics below:

If you feel that an airline has discriminated against you on the basis of your disability, which includes not providing you required accommodations, you may file a complaint with the DOT. 

Other Helpful Travel Information:


Disability Training Materials and Helpful Information

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (AEP) and Office of Transportation Policy have developed informative modular programs that can be used to assist individuals with disabilities and to supplement the training and education of airline employees and contractors. The programs focus on the rights and responsibilities of individuals and airlines under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and its implementing regulation, 14 CFR Part 382 and were produced in cooperation with stakeholders from both the disability community and airline industry. Although many of the programs have an intended audience, we believe that all of the content is helpful for any passenger, airline employee, or contractor.

Individual program content is available by selecting the icon below:

Title/DescriptionIntended
Audience
Available
Formats
 
Wheelchair and Guided Assistance
Lead The Way! A video introducing a proactive approach for assisting individuals with disabilities throughout the airport.Icon depicting a person and an airplane
Airline Personnel

icon indicating the content below is video

The ABCs of Accessible Travel. A tri-fold brochure and digital content that provide important information to individuals with disabilities who are traveling onboard an aircraft.

Icon depicting people with luggage

Traveling Public

Icon depicting an iPhone

Icon depicting a brochure

Wheelchair and Guided Assistance Tips. A wheelchair and guided assistance tip sheet and digital content that explain how to properly assist individuals who need wheelchair and guided assistance at airports.

Icon depicting a person and an airplane

Airline Personnel

Icon depicting an iPhone

Icon depicting an unfolded tip sheet

Service Animals

Traveling with Service Animals. A helpful video for individuals with disabilities who are traveling with a service animal to, from, or within the United States.

Icon depicting a person and an airplane

Airline Personnel

icon indicating the content below is video

 
Air Travel with Service Animals. An informative tri-fold brochure and digital content that discuss service animal qualifications, the acceptance criteria for any documentation, and other helpful information.

Icon depicting people with luggage

Traveling Public

Icon depicting an iPhone

Icon depicting a brochure

Assistive Devices

Air Travel with an Assistive Device. A tri-fold brochure and digital content that provide an overview of the different types of assistive devices and how airline personnel should properly handle and stow these devices.

Icon depicting people with luggage

Traveling Public

Icon depicting an iPhone

Icon depicting a brochure

Assistive Device Stowage, Damage, and Delay Interactive Guide. A helpful interactive guide designed to supplement airline disability-related trainings by describing various assistive devices and how to properly handle, stow, load, and return them to passengers.

Icon depicting a person and an airplane

Airline Personnel

icon depicting a computer

Seating Accommodations

Seating Accommodations in Air Travel. An informative tri-fold brochure and digital content that highlight the rights of individuals who may need a seating accommodation for a disability.

Icon depicting people with luggage

Traveling Public

Icon depicting an iPhone

Icon depicting a brochure

Seating Accommodation Interactive Guide. A helpful interactive guide designed to supplement airline disability-related trainings by describing the types of seating accommodation methods used by airlines, seating accommodation eligibility, and the types of seating accommodations available on aircraft.

Icon depicting a person and an airplane

Airline Personnel

icon depicting a computer

Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Submit Feedback >