Wheelchair users face daunting problems and obstacles when attempting to get to and through airports. Even with the many benefits and improvements brought by the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, serious challenges persist.
Luckily, all challenges can be managed with planning and preparation. By putting the right services in place, the wheelchair-enabled can have a relatively easy time going to, and navigating through, airports.
For a positive door-to-door travel experience, the wheelchair-enabled person must plan for three distinct segments of the trip:
- From home to the airport: wheelchair accessible transportation
- From airport check-in to baggage claim at the arrival airport: airline & airport services
- From arrival airport to destination: wheelchair accessible transportation
Wheelchair accessible transportation to and from the airport
To find this service, search the internet using the name of the city where you will need this transportation, plus one or more of these search terms:
- Medical transportation to airport
- Non emergency medical transportation to airport
- Airport wheelchair service
- Airport wheelchair shuttle
When you call, make sure you ask if the driver will provide the following services if you need them:
- Will the driver come to your door to get you?
- Will the driver assist with your luggage?
- Will the driver make sure you are assisted when you are dropped off at the airport?
- Will the driver meet you at baggage claim?
- Will you have a way to reach the driver by phone?
- Will the driver speak your language?
- If you don’t speak English, can the driver assist with translation?
If you don’t like the answers you get or the attitude you receive when you make the call, don’t settle. Call a different company. The care you receive on the phone will reflect the care you receive when you receive the service.
Making Airport & Airline Arrangements
When planning a trip, visit the website of your airline and search the website for their wheelchair program. Once you understand the rules and procedures for your airline, call and make arrangements. Be sure to have a cell phone with you on your journey, and be sure to bring all the important phone numbers Here are links to the wheelchair services provided by the major airlines:
Air Canada: Wheelchair and mobility aid assistance
AirTran: Passengers with Disabilities and Special Needs
American Airlines: Special Assistance
Continental Airlines: Customers with Disabilities
Delta & Northwest Airlines: Services for Travelers with Disabilities
JetBlue: Accommodations for customers using wheelchairs
Southwest Airlines: Traveling Tips for Customers with Disabilities
United Airlines: Wheelchair Service
US Airways: Mobility disability
Easy Access Chicago
Flying with Disability.org
Airlines tackle wheelchair need – USA Today
Rehab Institute: Air Travel Resources
US Department of Transportation: Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement
SATH: How to Travel by Air with a Wheelchair
For safe, helpful, on time wheelchair accessible transportation, call 847-279-2740, or email:
email@example.com to schedule your next ride.