Before I took my first flight as a wheelchair user, I spent hours searching the internet for answers to all of my questions – with little success. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to put all of those answers online, so that they would be easy for others to find. As a disabled traveler who has now taken more than 500 flights with my power wheelchair, I have dealt with just about every problem you could imagine. Still, I have a passion for airplanes and flight and I keep flying to open air travel to people with disabilities.
I have arranged this air travel guide to follow the timeline or “ribbon” of travel. It answers questions about the air travel process for wheelchair users, from booking to baggage claim. Read through each of the sections, and you’ll be properly prepared to begin your wheelchair travel journey on an airplane.
Planning & Booking
How to Book Your Flight and Who To Contact for Wheelchair Assistance at Major Airlines (100+ listed)
What levels and types of wheelchair assistance are available at the airport and on the airplane? What are SSR codes?
Summary of Disabled Passengers’ Rights and the Air Carrier Access Act
European Union Rights for Passengers with Disabilities in Air Travel
Can I store my manual wheelchair in the airplane cabin?
Will my power wheelchair or scooter fit on the airplane? What are the dimensions of the cargo compartment?
At the Airport
Onboard the Airplane
Can I use my own wheelchair or scooter in the airport? Can I gate-check a wheelchair before boarding the airplane?
TSA Security Screenings for Travelers With Disabilities: How It Works
How to Reduce the Risk of an Airline Damaging Your Personal Wheelchair
How do wheelchair users board the airplane, and what is an aisle chair?
Do airplanes have accessible bathrooms? How do I use the airplane lavatory if I cannot walk?
Must-Read Blog Posts
The following posts have appeared on my blog, and are related to air travel. The most relevant, general air travel information has been taken from these posts and included in the articles listed above. You’ll also find additional information not covered by the FAQ articles above.
- What Airlines Won’t Tell You About Preboarding for Disabled Passengers
- 3 Most Violated Accessibility Rules in Air Travel
- Emergency Airplane Evacuations for Wheelchair Users
- New DOT Rule May Improve Air Travel for Wheelchair Users
- Medical Emergency on an Airplane? Here’s What to Expect
- Airplane Lavatories: Wheelchair Accessibility Nightmare?
- How I Survived a 17-Hour Flight as a Wheelchair User
- First Class for the Wheelchair Traveler: Luxury or Necessity?
- Guest Post: Why Airlines Must Adopt This Aisle Chair Replacement
- Barriers to Equal Access for Disabled Remain in Air Travel, After 30 Years of DOT Inaction
- Guest Post: The Challenges Of Traveling By Air With Multiple Sclerosis
- Flying With A Power Wheelchair: How to Prevent Damage
For more blog posts and stories related to air travel with a wheelchair, click here.