Best Airlines For Disabled Passengers

Just because you are disabled doesn’t mean you can’t have a great travel experience while in the air. Almost all airlines accommodate disabled passengers but some may go above and beyond than other airlines. We have researched airlines to see who has the best airlines for disabled passengers to make your next experience traveling a great one.

While the price might be a huge factor for preferring one airline over another for those of us who have disability issues they are probably more deciding factors at hand like seat sizes, earlier boarding, wheelchair boarding process, and more.

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Qantas Airlines

Qantas is an excellent airline that has all the needs in place for someone with mobility issues.  In-fact we rank them as the best airlines for disabled passengers. 

Whether you flying with your own mobility aids or need to request mobility assistance Qantas has got you covered.

If you or someone you are with need assistance traveling from the aircraft to the gate and getting off the aircraft or anything in between here is some guidelines from Qantas

so how do you go about making sure Qantas is ready to help you if you have mobility issues?

If you are not traveling with your personal mobility aid:

You will want to fill out their online request form so that you can confirm the type of assistance you require so that this information will be attached to your booking.  

Request wheelchair assistance from Qantas.

Traveling with your own mobility aid:

A lot of us prefer to travel with our own mobility device and if you do as well you will have to request wheelchair assistance online after you booked your flight.

Have the following information ready:

  • Type of wheelchair: manual or battery-powered
  • Battery type that is powering your mobility device.
  • The brand and model of the wheelchair.
  • The dimensions of the wheelchair in its folded state.  length, width, height, and weight of the mobility aid.

Request Wheelchair assistance 

If you cant request wheelchair assistance online then you can call Qantas.   Find the local Qantas office here. 

To find the entire mobility travel needs for Qantas you can find that information here

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue as far as domestic airlines are extremely friendly in terms of accommodating disabled passengers.  And ranks as one of the best airlines for disabled passengers. 

JetBlue Mobility Assistance works like the following and you can read more about their assistance for mobility and wheelchair assistance.

  • JetBlue will provide wheelchair assistance at all airport locations so that you will have a wheelchair upon arrival.
  • It is always suggested that when you make your reservations you request this service while doing so.
  • Once you do arrive at the airport you should find a crewmember at the ticket counter and explain that a wheelchair is needed. 
  • Arrive even earlier than normal as there may be a waiting period to arrive with the required equipment you need.

Once a crewmember has been notified you will get assistance from the curb all the way to the aircraft.  

Requesting a DPNA

Call for a reservation at 1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583)

American Airlines

American Airlines is excellent when it comes to assisting those with medical issues like mobility problems. 

When you need to travel with American Airlines and to make special travel arrangements you can make them online or by calling 800-433-7300  for the speech-impaired you can call 800-735-2988.

Here is how to request special assistance from American Airlines.

When you book choose the special assistance required when you fill out your passenger details.  

Once you fill out your passenger details you can then request wheelchair services.

Request assistance for hearing, vision, and cognitive disability. American Airlines offers help with pre-boarding and airport assistance. 

Contact special assistance if you have a battery-operated mobility device to make sure the battery you have is approved for flight.

To learn more in detail about Mobility and medical devices through American Airlines you can find all the information here

Air Canada

Air Canada is another excellent airline in terms of helping anyone with a mobility issue feel confident before, during, and after the flight.  

Air Canada has outlined an extensive plan and protocols on what you need to do if you have a hearing, medical approval, mobility aids, respiratory devices and oxygen, service and support dogs, special seating, severe allergies, vision, and support person issues.

If you are going to be traveling with a battery-powered mobility aid like a scooter o wheelchair you will have to:

  • Contact Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk 48 hours before departure.  This needs to be done so you can provide the information they need before the flight.
  • Arrive at the airport 30 minutes of the recommended check-in time
  • Remove any of the removable parts for the mobility aid and have them packed on your carry on.
  • Fill out and complete the powered mobility aid information form 

Learn everything about accessibility services from Air Canada by access their page here

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines for disabled

Delta offers some great wheelchair access travel for those that need mobility devices on their trip. 

You can opt to travel with your own personal wheelchair or you can use the many types of chairs that Dela supplies. 

Delta provides extensive information on what you need to do if you have a travel issue and need assistance. 

These issues can range from nuts or allergies, wheelchairs or medical devices, low vision or blind, or deaf or hard of hearing.

Delta-provided wheelchair services will help you and assist you each step of the way.  You can pre-book wheelchair services by calling: 404-209-3434.

Delta helps you the second you arrive with their wheelchairs and you will be assisted to the terminal, security, and to the gate.

They also utilize aisle chairs that designed as isles wheelchairs help you get in and out of your seat when boarding.

How to start the process of getting your wheelchair or using Deltas mobility devices.

To request, assistant go to MY TRIPS from Delta

Wheelchair Information from Delta 

Accessible Travel Services overview

Emirates

Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines is known for luxury but did you know they are also there is a big way to help you if you have mobility issues while flying.  They make it easy to safely and comfortably fly.

Wheelchairs are available for you if you do not have one at all airport locations. 

Emirates will help assist with transportation from the terminal entrance or vehicle drop off to the boarding gate, transportation for connections, transportation to the aircraft to the terminal entrance.

You can also travel with your own wheelchair or another assistive device. 

Emirates also accepts nonmotorized and motorized wheelchairs and devices for transport. 

But some restrictions will apply to the size and weight.

To learn everything about Airport Wheelchairs and the rules when you want to bring your own you can search the Mobility assistance page from Emiratis 

Things To Know When Flying With a Disability

There are things you should know when flying with a disability. 

Knowing what the laws are and how they will relate to your travel experience can help you feel more confident before your trip. 

Below are some of the more important aspects of flying with a disability. 

Know Your Rights

You may feel stressed as you think about boarding a plane with a disability but you shouldn’t because of years of legislation almost every airline makes flying with a disability more enjoyable and easy.

Because of this, you are entitled to specific accommodations when you get to the airport all the way through your flight when it comes to a disability. 

Here is an important tip to keep in mind right from the start. 

Most United States airports have accommodations that are available to you but you need to set these up before your trip. 

Contact your air carrier to let them know you have special needs before your flight. 

The Americans WIth Disabilities Act

Disabled individuals are probably are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  If not we encourage you to get familiar with it. 

The ADA prohibits “discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”

Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)

Under the Air Carrier Access Act passengers with disabilities are entitled to certain accommodations free of charge. 

Under ACAA it states that any United States flight as an origin point or destination must provide necessary accommodations to anyone with disabilities to ensure safe travels. 

If you feel like you have been discriminate against because of your disability you can file a complaint with the DOT by calling  202-366-4000

Bathroom Access

Bathroom access for anyone with a disability on an aircraft can be concerning.  This is because you may not have access to our wheelchair while on the plane and getting to the restroom may be a challenge. 

The current airline standard requires that a single-aisle plane has a 20-inch wide aisle.  

This can make long flights a challenge and most domestic airlines probably don’t have an onboard wheelchair.

Wheelchair Complaints

Damaged wheelchair complaints are another problem that many people have a complaint about. 

It should be known that airlines are responsible for the damage and repair they provide to your wheelchair. 

But do know the process can be a lengthy one.  But they must provide a replacement in the meantime, but this probably will not be the standard of the wheelchair they damaged.

Since late 2018 airlines have to report monthly stats on mishandled mobility scooters and wheelchairs. 

This is because of the Wheelchair rule that has taken place. 

Disability Complaints By Years

The below data comes from the DOT reports on the number of domestic carriers, and foreign carriers’ complaints.

YearDomestic Carriers Disability ComplaintsForeign Carriers Disability ComplaintsTotal Disability Complaints
201729,3125,03934,351
201627,8424,60332,445
201526,4014,42930,830
201424,0443,51224,556
201321,9653,28125,246
201220,5842,85923,443
201118,9532,41921,372
201019,3471,65421,001
200915,4961,57217,068

Final Thoughts

traveling with a disability or traveling with someone with a disability presents challenges.  Being prepared will help gratefully and reduce the stress of traveling with mobility issues. 

It is more possible now than it has ever been with the right planning and tips mentioned above to travel with a disability all of the country and internationally.

Using the best airlines for disabled passengers can also help with a more stressfree and friendly vibe on your next travels. 

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.