7 Tips to Make Air Travel More Accessible for Those With Disabilities

Having a disability shouldn’t prevent or deter anyone from going on their dream vacation. While traveling with a disability may pose a few more challenges, there are strategies you can employ beforehand to ensure the smoothest travel, whether you’re traveling across the country or overseas.

Before you book your next flight, consider these seven tips that may make your trip more accessible and stress-free:

1. Bring a Service Dog

Bringing a service animal that you register ahead of time with the Service Dog Registration of America can offer you additional support as you navigate airports, ground transportation, and new places. A service dog helps others recognize your disability and ensure you get reasonable accommodations. Plus, they can help in more specific ways. 

Seeing-eye dogs are crucial in navigating new locations, and service dogs trained to mitigate PTSD panic attacks can keep you calm if you struggle with the stress of flying. For hard-of-hearing people, these dogs can alert the handler about sirens and alarms. 

2. Work With a Travel Agency

Working with a travel agency familiar with disability accommodations or requirements can help ensure all the necessary arrangements are in place. It can take some of the responsibility of planning off of you. 

3. Contact Airports for Assistance

Contact the airports you’ll be flying out of and into to arrange assistance getting to and from your gate. They are happy to oblige, but giving them advanced notice can eliminate hiccups along the way.

3. Plan Accessible Accommodations

Plan for accessible accommodations on your trip, such as a wheelchair-friendly van ride to your hotel and an accessible hotel room.

4. Look for Discounts

Some places and companies offer discounts for those with physical limitations or wheelchairs. Amtrak, for example, offers a discount for wheelchair users and one companion. Greyhound and some train companies offer reduced fairs in certain countries.

5. Bring Medical Information

While the ADA protects you from having to prove your disability in American airports, you may want to bring a doctor’s note and other relevant medical information with you just in case you need them while abroad.

6. Prioritize Nonstop Flights or Leave Ample Time Between Flights

One of the best travel tips for disabled travelers is knowing to book nonstop flights or leave ample time between connecting flights to allow extra time to board and get off the plane. Nonstop flights are always the best option, as they eliminate transfers.

7. Know Your Rights

You should always be aware of your rights because you deserve a pleasant travel experience just as everyone else does. The Americans with Disabilities Actprohibits discrimination and ensures appropriate accommodations and the Air Carrier Access Act also provides additional protection on all domestic and international flights.

Wrapping Up

Traveling by air should be just as accessible to those with disabilities as it is to non-disabled people. Though there may be some challenges, with a few strategies at play and the right resources, you can plan the accessible trip of your dreams, no holding back.

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