Air Travelers with Disabilities: Know Your Rights!

Northeast ADA Center Staff April 26, 2020

cartoon of people flying on plane

Traveling by plane can be stressful for anyone. The 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 generated, the study also finds 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 there is a large number of people with disabilities that avoid flying for fear of inaccessibility. 
In many cases the laws that govern accessibility often intersect from the point you enter the airport to the moment you board your plane. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Accessibility Act work in conjunction to assure that the traveler has equal access to terminal features, ticket purchasing, as well as smooth transition from airport to the plane. 
Thinking about flying this summer? You can learn all about the ADA and ACAA intersect by viewing a webinar from the Northeast ADA Center here.
To hear the full audio archive with slides visit here.

Questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Call 1-800-949-4232 or email
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