Air Travel Tips for Wheelers And Slow Walkers
Travel by its very nature is an adventure. Factor a disability into that equation and things can get pretty scary. One of the biggest areas of concern for disabled travelers is air travel. People just don't know what to expect. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, a little consumer education can give you the confidence and knowledge to effectively deal with problems as they arise. With that in mind, here's some tips to help you along the way.
Before You Fly
Educate yourself on the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)
Travel on a US based airline whenever possible
Ask a lot of questions before you book your flight
Inform the reservation clerk if you need boarding assistance, or the use of an aisle chair.
Consider your toilet options and plan ahead
Consider switching to gel cell batteries
Reconfirm all arrangements directly with the airline at least 48 hours in
At The AirportIn times of heightened security, curbside check-in may be discontinued.
Check with your airline and airport to determine if this service is available. If curbside check-in has been discontinued, inform your airline that you need curbside assistance.
Advise the customer service agent at the check-in counter if you need to have
a non-ticketed escort accompany you to the gate.
Allow plenty of extra time to get through security.
Advise the gate agent that you would like to preboard the aircraft.
Stay in your own wheelchair until you transfer to the airline aisle chair.
Attach clear assembly and disassembly instructions (in Spanish and English) to your wheelchair or scooter.
Remove any loose or protruding parts from your wheelchair or scooter.
Let a little bit of air out of your wheelchair tires.
During The FlightLet the flight attendant know if you need to use the onboard wheelchair.
Remind the flight attendant 30 minutes before landing that your wheelchair needs to be delivered to you at the gate.
If Problems AriseAsk to speak to the Complaints Resolution Officer (CRO)
. The CRO is trained and educated on travelers' rights and airline responsibilities under the ACAA. All US airlines are required to have a CRO on duty 24 hours a day.
The US Department of Transportation operates a toll-free aviation consumer
disability hotline at (866)266-1368.