Assistance for airline passengers with disabilities

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chair for persons with reduced mobility aboard aircraft

There are no worldwide uniform standards regulating the provision of assistance for airline passengers with disabilities. American regulations place the responsibility on the airlines, the European Union's rules make the airport responsible for providing the assistance, whereas in South America there are no regulations at all. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is concerned about the difficulties caused by inconsistent regulations.[1]

European Union[edit]

According to EU regulation 1107/2006, persons with reduced mobility have the right to assistance during airline travel. The assistance is mandated for flights on any airline departing from an airport in the EU or flights to an airport in the EU on an aircraft registered in any EU country.[2]

United States[edit]

The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities. The act was passed by the U.S. Congress in direct response to a narrow interpretation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) v. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). In PVA, the Supreme Court held that private, commercial air carriers are not liable under Section 504 because they are not "direct recipients" of federal funding to airports.[3]

IATA ticket codes[edit]

Specific IATA codes are used on the flight ticket to indicate the kind of assistance the person needs, such as wheelchair assistance inside the terminal, between the terminal and the plane, climbing up/down to/from the plane, and moving within the plane.[4][5]

Code Meaning
WCHR (Wheel Chair Ramp) Passenger can use stairs but needs a wheelchair or other means of transport for longer distances.
WCHS (Wheel Chair Stair) Passenger cannot use stairs and needs a wheelchair or other means of transport for longer distances.
WCHC (Wheel Chair Completely) Passenger needs a wheelchair.
Deaf Passenger with hearing loss.
Blind Passenger with vision loss.
Deaf/Blind Passenger hearing and vision loss.
DPNA Passenger with developmental or intellectual disability.


  1. ^ "All Passengers This Way | Airlines International". Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "Passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility | UK Civil Aviation Authority". Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  3. ^ United States Department of Transportation v. Paralyzed Veterans of America, 477 U.S. 597 (1986).
  4. ^ "Blind-deaf passengersn (BLND-DEAF)". Retrieved 10 October 2017. 
  5. ^ "PRM & Special Assistance". London Airport. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2017.