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Flying with a disability can be a stressful event especially if you utilize a mobility device to get around and/or travel with medical supplies. However, here are some helpful accessibility tips to make your experience the best that it can be.

Call Your Airline

After purchasing your ticket, call the Airline. Address your accessibility needs; this would include the type of mobility device(s), medical supplies/equipment that is considered hazardous (e.g. needles, lithium battery), or liquids that surpass three ounces. If you have medical supplies that cannot be carried on (e.g. liquid over 3 oz.), you are allowed to check a medical bag at no cost.

When talking with the airline, address assistance needs; you are allowed to ask for an attendant to help you get from security to your gate if needed. Upon arrival, you may need to remind personnel at your designated airline’s check-in. Also, when communicating with the airline, address how you are to get on and off the plane–whether that be with your mobility aid or an aisle chair, and if you will need assistance.

Packing for Your Trip

When packing all the typical items needed for your destination, be sure to pack enough medications and medical supplies in your carry-on in case your checked baggage is lost or left behind. Clothing can usually be purchased at your destination but this is not the case for anything prescribed. 

Regarding medications and medical supplies, some doctors are willing to prescribe additional supplies if your trip extends beyond your renewal date. 

At the Airport

If you are traveling with a mobility aid (e.g. wheelchair, prosthesis, walker) and you are not able to safely ambulate through security without your mobility aid, be aware that without precheck, a full-body patdown is required by law. The TSA agent who performs this task is required to tell you what they will be doing and that person should offer a private screening if you so desire. With this in mind, give yourself additional time as the process of getting through security can take longer than the average person.

If you need a wheelchair, one can be provided for you. However, if you use a wheelchair, you can roll in your own chair all the way to your gate and check it there. Be sure to detach all removable parts and ask for them to be stored in the cabin closet. If there is no room in the cabin closet, you are allowed to keep these parts with you. Do not send them with your chair. They can get lost or broken.

On top of leaving additional time in your travel schedule for TSA, if you need assistance getting on the plane (e.g. blind, wheelchair user), you will need to board about thirty minutes prior to takeoff as you are the first to board the plane. 

On the Plane

If you need help to get to and from the bathroom, a flight attendant can assist you. If you are not able to ambulate on the plane, upon request, an aisle chair can remain on the plane so that you are able to access the bathroom. Keep in mind that airplane bathrooms are really small as they are not required by law through the Americans with Disabilities Act to be wheelchair accessible. 

When at Your Destination

Upon arrival at your destination, if you need assistance to get off the pane, you will be one of the last off the plane. Your checked mobility aid will be delivered to you at the entrance of the plane. Thoroughly check out this equipment. If something that was checked is broken or lost during your flight, be sure to file a claim with your airline before exiting the airport. This betters your chance of these item(s) being fixed or replaced. If you are unsure of where to file the claim, ask one of your flight attendants to help direct you. 

Flying with a disability can be a stressful event especially if you utilize a mobility device to get around and/or travel with medical supplies. However, here are some helpful accessibility tips to make your experience the best that it can be.

Call Your Airline

After purchasing your ticket, call the Airline. Address your accessibility needs; this would include the type of mobility device(s), medical supplies/equipment that is considered hazardous (e.g. needles, lithium battery), or liquids that surpass three ounces. If you have medical supplies that cannot be carried on (e.g. liquid over 3 oz.), you are allowed to check a medical bag at no cost.

When talking with the airline, address assistance needs; you are allowed to ask for an attendant to help you get from security to your gate if needed. Upon arrival, you may need to remind personnel at your designated airline’s check-in. Also, when communicating with the airline, address how you are to get on and off the plane–whether that be with your mobility aid or an aisle chair, and if you will need assistance.

Packing for Your Trip

When packing all the typical items needed for your destination, be sure to pack enough medications and medical supplies in your carry-on in case your checked baggage is lost or left behind. Clothing can usually be purchased at your destination but this is not the case for anything prescribed. 

Regarding medications and medical supplies, some doctors are willing to prescribe additional supplies if your trip extends beyond your renewal date. 

At the Airport

If you are traveling with a mobility aid (e.g. wheelchair, prosthesis, walker) and you are not able to safely ambulate through security without your mobility aid, be aware that without precheck, a full-body patdown is required by law. The TSA agent who performs this task is required to tell you what they will be doing and that person should offer a private screening if you so desire. With this in mind, give yourself additional time as the process of getting through security can take longer than the average person.

If you need a wheelchair, one can be provided for you. However, if you use a wheelchair, you can roll in your own chair all the way to your gate and check it there. Be sure to detach all removable parts and ask for them to be stored in the cabin closet. If there is no room in the cabin closet, you are allowed to keep these parts with you. Do not send them with your chair. They can get lost or broken.

On top of leaving additional time in your travel schedule for TSA, if you need assistance getting on the plane (e.g. blind, wheelchair user), you will need to board about thirty minutes prior to takeoff as you are the first to board the plane. 

On the Plane

If you need help to get to and from the bathroom, a flight attendant can assist you. If you are not able to ambulate on the plane, upon request, an aisle chair can remain on the plane so that you are able to access the bathroom. Keep in mind that airplane bathrooms are really small as they are not required by law through the Americans with Disabilities Act to be wheelchair accessible. 

When at Your Destination

Upon arrival at your destination, if you need assistance to get off the pane, you will be one of the last off the plane. Your checked mobility aid will be delivered to you at the entrance of the plane. Thoroughly check out this equipment. If something that was checked is broken or lost during your flight, be sure to file a claim with your airline before exiting the airport. This betters your chance of these item(s) being fixed or replaced. If you are unsure of where to file the claim, ask one of your flight attendants to help direct you. 

Enjoy your flight! You’ve got this!

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