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 FAA Guidelines



[General Guidelines] [Passengers with Disabilities]



Here are some helpful FAA Guidelines

General Guidelines

Time Factors, Curbside Check In

·         The heightened security measures require more time to screen travelers.  Clients should   contact their airline to find out how early they should arrive at the airport.

·         Travelers should take public transportation when possible to the airport.  Parking and curbside access is likely to be controlled and limited.

·         Curbside check in is available on an airline basis.  Travelers should contact their airline to see if curbside check in is in place at the airports they will be using.

 Check In  

·         A government-issued photo ID (federal, state or local) is required.  Travelers might be asked to show this ID at subsequent points after the initial check in, such as at the gate, along with their boarding passes.

·         Automated check–in kiosks are available for airlines that have appropriate security measures in place.  Travelers should check with their airline to see if this option is available at the airport they will be using.

·         E-ticket travelers should check with their airline to make sure they have proper documentation.  Written confirmation such as a letter from the airline acknowledging the reservation might be required.

  Screening Checkpoints

·         Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond screener checkpoints, except for people accompanying travelers who require assistance due to medical or parental needs.
Each traveler will be limited to one carry on bag and one personal bag (i.e. purse or briefcase).

·         All electrical items, such as laptops and cell phones, might be subjected to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both items can be X-rayed separately.

·         Passengers should limit the amount off metal objects worn on his or her person.
Travelers should remove all metal objects prior to passing through the metal detectors to facilitate the screening process.

Items Prohibited From Aircraft Cabins

The following items must be in, or transported as, checked baggage or risk confiscation.  When in doubt, transport item in checked baggage.

  • Knives of any length, composition or description

  • Cutting instruments of any kind, including knives and box cutters (and spare blades), any device with a folding or retractable blade, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors and metal nail files.

  • Corkscrews

  • Baseball or softball bats

  • Golf clubs

  • Pool Cues

  • Ski poles

  • Hockey sticks

Items Permitted To Be Carried On To Airplanes

·         Walking canes and umbrellas (once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed)

·         Electric razors

·         Syringes (with documented proof of medical need)

·         Tweezers

·         Eyelash curlers

What To Expect At The Gate  

·         Travelers must be prepared to present a valid photo ID along with their boarding pass

·         Travelers and their bags might be subjected to additional screening

 In General                      

·         Clients should control all bags and personal items

·         Clients should not carry anything on board for another person

·         Clients should report any unattended items in the airport or aircraft to the nearest airport or airline personnel

Passengers with Disabilities

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel and requires U.S. air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities. The Department of Transportation has a rule defining the rights of passengers and the obligations of air carriers under this law. The following is a summary of the main points of the DOT rule (Title 14 CFR, Part 382).

Prohibition of Discriminatory Practices

  • Carriers may not refuse transportation to people on the basis of disability. Airlines may exclude anyone from a flight if carrying the person would be inimical to the safety of the flight. If a carrier excludes a person with a disability on safety grounds, the carrier must provide a written explanation of the decision.

Airlines may not require advance notice that a person with a disability is traveling. Carriers may require up to 48 hours’ advance notice for certain accommodations that require preparation time (e.g., respirator hook-up, transportation of an electric wheelchair on an aircraft with less than 60 seats).

Carriers may not limit the number of disabled persons on a flight.

  • Carriers may not require a person with a disability to travel with an attendant, except in certain limited circumstances specified in the rule. If a disabled passenger and the carrier disagree about the need for an attendant, the airline can require the attendant, but cannot charge for the transportation of the attendant.
  • Airlines may not keep anyone out of a seat on the basis of handicap, or require anyone to sit in a particular seat on the basis of handicap, except as an FAA safety rule requires. FAA's rule on exit row seating says that carriers may place in exit rows only persons who can perform a series of functions necessary in an emergency evacuation.

Accessibility of facilities

  • New aircraft with 30 or more seats must have movable aisle armrests on half the aisle seats in the aircraft. "New aircraft" requirements apply to planes ordered after April 5, 1990 or delivered after April 5, 1992. No retrofit is required, although compliance with on-board wheelchair requirements (see below) became mandatory on April 5, 1992 regardless of the plane’s age. As older planes are refurbished, required accessibility features (e.g., movable armrests) must be added.
  • New widebody (twin-aisle) aircraft must have accessible lavatories.
  • New aircraft with 100 or more seats must have priority space for storing a passenger’s folding wheelchair in the cabin.
  • Aircraft with more than 60 seats and an accessible lavatory must have an on-board wheelchair, regardless of when the aircraft was ordered or delivered. For flights on aircraft with more than 60 seats that do not have an accessible lavatory, carriers must place an on-board wheelchair on the flight if a passenger with a disability gives the airline 48 hours’ notice that he or she can use an inaccessible lavatory but needs an on-board wheelchair to reach the lavatory.

  • Airport facilities owned or operated by carriers must meet the same accessibility standards that apply to Federally-assisted airport operators.

Other Services and Accommodations

  • Airlines are required to provide assistance with boarding, deplaning and making connections. Assistance within the cabin is also required, but not extensive personal services. Ramps or mechanical lifts must be available for most aircraft with 19 through 30 seats at larger U.S. airports by December 1998, and at all U.S. airports with over 10,000 annual enplanements by December 2000.
  • Disabled passengers’ items stored in the cabin must conform to FAA rules on the stowage of carry-on baggage. Assistive devices do not count against any limit on the number of pieces of carry-on baggage. Wheelchairs (including collapsible battery-powered wheelchairs) and other assistive devices have priority for in-cabin storage space (including in closets) over other passengers’ items brought on board at the same airport, if the passenger with a disability chooses to preboard.
  • Wheelchairs and other assistive devices have priority over other items for storage in the baggage compartment.
  • Carriers must accept battery-powered wheelchairs, including the batteries, packaging the batteries in hazardous materials packages when necessary. The carrier provides the packaging.
  • Carriers may not charge for providing accommodations required by the rule, such as hazardous materials packaging for batteries. However, they may charge for optional services such as oxygen.
  • Other provisions concerning services and accommodations address treatment of mobility aids and assistive devices, passenger information, accommodations for persons with hearing impairments, security screening, communicable diseases and medical certificates, and service animals.

Administrative Provisions

  • Training is required for carrier and contractor personnel who deal with the traveling public.
  • Carriers must make available specially-trained "complaints resolution officials" to respond to complaints from passengers and must also respond to written complaints. A DOT enforcement mechanism is also available.
  • The rule applies to all U.S. air carriers providing commercial air transportation. ‘Indirect’ air carriers (e.g. charter operators) are not covered by certain provisions that concern the direct provision of air transportation services.
  • Carriers must obtain an assurance of compliance from contractors who provide services to passengers.

For a more detailed description of this rule, see DOT’s booklet New Horizons: Information for the Air Traveler with a Disability.

Source: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/disabled.htm


Additional information may be obtained by contacting airconsumer@ost.dot.gov.

Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings
400 Seventh Street, SW, Room 4107
Washington, DC 20590


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