Air Travelers with Disabilities: Know Your Rights!

Northeast ADA Center Staff April 26, 2020

Traveling by plane can be stressful for anyone: long waits at TSA, short connection times, lost luggage. Imagine the process for people with disabilities.

The Open Doors Organization found that in 2015 adults with disabilities spent $17.3 billion annually on travel, up from $13.6 billion on 2002. Since these individuals typically travel with one or more other adults, the economic impact is actually double, or $34.6 billion. While this seems like an enormous amount of revenue, the study also found that there are still significant barriers for travelers around airport and airplane accessibility. With many travelers avoiding airplane travel because of fear of flying, it may be reasonable to believe that a large number of people with disabilities avoid flying for fear of inaccessibility.

In many cases, the laws that govern accessibility intersect from the point you enter the airport to the moment you board your plane. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Air Carrier Accessibility Act (ACAA) work in conjunction to assure that the traveler has equal access to terminal features and ticket purchasing, as well as a smooth transition from airport to plane.

You can learn more about how the ADA and ACAA intersect by viewing this webinar from the Northeast ADA Center.