Transportation – Department of Transportation Issues Guide for Airlines Accommodating Passengers with Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Transportation, with the assistance of The Arc and Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has issued a new guide for airlines regarding their requirements to accommodate passengers with developmental disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act. The document is not a new law or regulation, but a clarification of existing requirements. Topics covered include what questions airlines are allowed to ask passengers seeking accommodations, how to seek assistance, special seating, service and emotional support animals, when airlines may deny boarding, when airlines may require someone to travel with an individual with a developmental disability, escort and personal care services, what do if your rights have been violated, and tips for airline employees interacting with people with developmental disabilities. It clarifies that airlines may not deny boarding to passengers because of their disability unless they pose a “significant risk to the health or safety of others” that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. A diagnosis alone is not sufficient for determining a passenger poses such a risk. The Arc was pleased to provide suggestions for the guide as it complements the work being done through The Arc’s Wings for Autism program, an airport rehearsal program.

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