Guidance Concerning Air Travelers with Developmental Disabilities

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This document is a guide to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) with respect to passengers with developmental disabilities. It serves as a brief but authoritative source of information for passengers with developmental disabilities as well as airlines about the services, facilities, and accommodations required by the ACAA and the provisions of Part 382.

This resource answers the following questions about air travel for individuals with developmental disabilities:

    • Who is entitled to protections under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)?
    • What should you know before your trip?
    • What should you do before your trip?
    • What should you do if you need assistance to get on and off the airplane?
    • What airline seat can you use?
    • Are airlines required to provide you a bulkhead seat if requested?
    • How do airlines assign bulkhead seats to passengers with a disability?
    • What can you do to best ensure that you receive the seating accommodation you need?
    • What happens to the seat you reserved if there is an aircraft change?
    • What animals are considered to be service animals?
    • What should you do if you are traveling with a service animal?
    • What should you do if you are traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service
    • When may an airline deny you boarding?
    • When may the airline require that you travel with another person?
    • What should you do if your disability requires escort service or personal care service?
    • What should you do when you first arrive at the airport?
    • What should you do after you arrive at the gate?
    • What should you do if you have trouble with receiving disability accommodations at the airport or
      on your flight?
    • How can you file a disability-related complaint with the DOT?

This resource also includes tips for interacting with individuals with developmental disabilities.

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This resource created by US Department of Transportation