What rights can passengers who have disabilities expect from airlines?
The Air Carrier Access Act and the Department of Transportation must provide passengers who have disabilities the same travel opportunities as anyone else. Major provisions include:
The airlines cannot charge for services that are required by this rule. One exception is oxygen; the airlines are allowed to charge a fee for aircraft-approved oxygen.
Also, a small commuter aircraft may not be accessible to passengers with severe mobility impairments. When making plans to fly to small cities, travelers who have disabilities should check on the aircraft type and its accessibility.
If a dispute arises, the airline must provide a specially trained "Complaints Resolution Official" to address the concern. Airlines also must have a copy of these federal rules at every airport.
The FAA has established safety standards for passengers who have disabilities sitting in emergency exit rows. These travelers must be able to perform certain evacuation-related functions.