Flying with Disabilities: Accessibility Tips

Author: Jillian Ryan

Tags : Air Travel, Autism Spectrum, Disabled

Airline travel can mean stress and unexpected bumps in the road for all passengers. However, those with disabilities usually feel more pressure than the average flier.

Airline travel can mean stress and unexpected bumps in the road for all passengers. However, those with disabilities usually feel more pressure than the average flier.

  • Will I be able to check in on time?
  • Is the extra-security going to be a problem?
  • How do I board the plane?
  • Can I transfer/check my luggage?
  • Will the staff and personnel be helpful?

These are just some of the worries that cross the mind of disabled travelers and their families when flying.

However, air travel may have just gotten a little easier. The United Spinal Association, an non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for all Americans living with spinal cord disorders or injuries, is now offering a pamphlet entitled: Accessible Air Travel: A Guide for People with Disabilities.

The goal of this 22-page pamphlet is to empower travelers with disabilities and their families who may feel overwhelmed or helpless during times of travel. One of the first items mentioned in the guide is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). According to the guide, passed in September, 2000, "the ACAA prevents airlines from discriminating directly or through a contractual arrangements against people with disabilities. Under the law, new and renovated terminals must be designed to be accessible by people with disabilities."

Additionally, the pamphlet outlines how to make reservations and give advance notice to the airline. This way there are preparations made for seating arrangements, security and a wheelchair. Also there are tips on how best to board the plane, deal with the various transfers and lifts and other potentially stressful situations. Also discussed is airline liability for adaptive equipment. Finally, the book tells those with disabilities who have been treated poorly during air travel how to formally file a compliant.

Accessible Air Travel: A Guide for People with Disabilities is available in both English and Spanish. A free copy can be downloaded online or one can order their own free, printed copy from the United Spinal Association's Publications Department by calling 800/444-0120. (Each additional copy is $1.95).

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.