Disabled Travelers Rights

Disability & Travel

Only until very recently traveling was a big problem for people with disabilities especially when it came to flying. Fortunately now new rules and regulations have been put into practice governing the rights of the disabled, the aim of these rights has been put there to minimise as much as possible many of the problems disabled people come across when traveling by air.

This is made possible by providing adequate training for all staff who work within the aviation industry and bringing their attention to the needs and assistance the disabled traveler might have.

Airport accessibility

Only in recent years have airports considered accessibility for those using wheelchairs. Different countries have different rights for the access for the disabled but in general all airports should be able to provide:

* Easy parking for the disabled close to the terminal.

* Easy access to first aid and travelers aid stations.

* Easy accessibility to restrooms.

* Amplified telephones and text telephone should be made available for hard of hearing and deaf people.

* Easy access to check in and baggage retrieval areas.

* Lounges and waiting areas that are easily accessible.

* Easy access to boarding ramps, providing lifts or means of assisting a disabled person on and off the aircraft.

* Clear information signs using letters, symbols, lighting and colour coding.

Boarding the Aircraft

The airport should have on hand trained personal to help the disabled person on and off the aircraft. Preferably there should be a ramp but if this is not possible then a lifting device must be provided.

If the traveler has to make a connecting flight then the airline staff is responsible for assisting the disabled person in between flights. Most airline will give priority to people with disabilities allowing them to board the aircraft first. However this is not a right to be expected more a courtesy provided by the airline.

If the aircraft holds 100 seats or more then priority space is usually offered in the cabin for wheelchair storage, if more than one aisle is present on the aircraft then at least one lavatory should be accessible using an on board wheelchair.

If the aircraft has more than 60 seats and providing there is an accessible lavatory then it must have an on board wheelchair.

Discrimination against the disabled

No traveler can be refused travel solely based on their disability, nor can the airline limit the amount of disabled passengers. Any information available to travelers must also be made available for people with disabilities including by means of Braille if necessary for the blind.

The only time the airline is able to refuse a disabled passenger is when the person’s disability may have an affect on the safety of the other passengers.

Filed under: Disability & Travel


  1. what instructions are given to employees on how to lift passengers out of aisle or wheelchairs on to their aircraft seat?

  2. I have been discriminated against by the people who run the association. They refuse to put in handicapped spaces although there seems to be plenty of room to do so. I had broken my leg and was non weight bearing for 18 weeks and they would not allow me to even put a chair outside my gate in order to make it easier for me to wait for the access bus. I have gotten better but the nearest accessible ramp is 1/2 block away from where my car is parked and then I have to walk back another 3/4 of a block to get to my car. Is there anyway to make them put in handicapped parking?

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