Programs and Services

Airlines

  • Travel and Transportation

The majority of airlines offer special arrangements and services for people with disabilities. Consult each airline's website or inquiry phone line for specific information. All airlines require that you inform them of your specific needs at least 48 hours before your flight to make arrangements for any disabilities. It is recommended that you advise them of specific needs and whether you are transporting a mobility device when you book your flight.

The government provides a guide to air travel for people with disabilities, Take Charge of Your Travel

When planning a flight, consider these topics:

  • Checking in and getting to the gate: Most airlines allow you to use your own wheelchair to get to the gate and then switch to a boarding wheelchair to move down the aisle of the plane. Staff can assist you to get to the gate, board, deplane, grab luggage, and reach connecting flights with advance notice. When you check in, confirm that you will receive the services you requested when you bought your ticket - bring the details in writing.
  • Wheelchair and Scooter allowance: On most airlines, each guest is permitted to bring one wheelchair or scooter to be carried in the cargo compartment, in addition to the free baggage allowance, at no extra charge. Collapsible wheelchairs can be stowed in the passenger cabin on some airlines. Other assistive devices are also usually accepted free of charge.
  • Mobility aid battery acceptance: Most airlines accept mobility aids that are powered by wet cell (lead acid) or sealed gel-cell batteries. A wet cell battery will require additional safety-related handling and packaging. Do allow extra time for check-in for battery-related procedures. For more information, contact the specific airline and inform them of your mobility device.
  • Flying with an Attendant: Airlines recommend that you fly with a companion or attendant if you require personal services such as drinking, eating and using to the washroom; the attendant may be able to travel on a reduced attendant fare within North America. Consult your travel agent or the airline as condition and procedures vary.
  • In most cases, to get a discount an Incapacitated Passenger Form must be filled out and presented with medical documentation at time of boarding.
  • Washrooms: An aircraft of 30 or more passenger seats with one aisle will have a washroom with certain accessibility features, but will not accommodate a person in an on-board wheelchair. An aircraft of 30 or more passenger seats with more than one aisle will have a washroom accessible to persons with disabilities, including one using an on-board wheelchair.
  • Since some airlines operate smaller aircrafts for shorter travels, you should contact them as specific arrangements may have to be made.
  • You can create a customer profile to save your preferences and special needs with an airline. Consult individual airlines about this service.

For more information:

Visit the Canadian Transportation Agency website here

Visit Access to travel here

Disclaimer: The MS Society is an independent, voluntary health agency and does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions. For specific information and advice, please consult your personal physician. Read our full privacy policy.

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