Monday, July 13, 2009

American Airlines policy on scooters and wheelchairs

The following information was copied from the American Airlines website. Click here for the link. If you are going to be flying American, I suggest you go to that page and print it out so if you encounter problems you can show the AA employee the information from their website.

The most important piece of information on this site (in my opinion) is that they state that a scooter or wheelchair may be checked at the GATE. This is where some folks (Lynn Ellen) have problems.

Wheelchairs And Other Mobility Assistive Devices

American Airlines and American Eagle accept motorized and non-motorized mobility assistive devices for transport. When necessary, we will disassemble and reassemble wheelchairs or other assistive devices for our customers when they travel. It is helpful to us if you provide written instructions to assist us in this process.

Carry-On Assistive Devices

Canes, walkers, CPAP machines and other assistive devices capable of being collapsed small enough to fit into approved overhead and under seat stowage areas are welcome and do not count toward your carry-on item limit.

They must be small enough to be stowed in such a manner as not to protrude into any seating row floor space or main aisle. Items such as seat cushions, detachable control boxes, armrests or footrests may also be carried on board with you.

Assistance stowing carry-on baggage that meets baggage limits is available for customers with disabilities who request extra assistance. Due to storage limitations, some equipment or devices may have to be checked as baggage if it is not required during flight. All assistive devices must be packed separately from normal baggage to avoid baggage charges.

Onboard Wheelchair Storage

American Airlines (and American Eagle jet aircraft) has a designated closet space in the cabin of each aircraft to accommodate one collapsible wheelchair. In most cases, more than one wheelchair can be accommodated, provided the space is available. This space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, some wheelchairs can collapse to fit either in an overhead bin or beneath a seat.

Non-collapsible wheelchairs or scooters are acceptable as checked luggage. These items may be checked in at either the ticket counter or the departure gate.

Wheelchair Check-In

Non-collapsible wheelchairs and other mobility assistive devices are accepted as checked baggage. These items can be checked in at the main ticket counter or at the departure gate. We ask customers with battery-powered wheelchairs to check in at the main ticket counter at least one hour prior to departure to ensure proper boarding of the chair.

We make every effort not to disassemble a wheelchair or scooter; however, the small size of some airplane cargo doors and the contents of some batteries require disassembly. For that reason, it is helpful to have the assembly and disassembly instructions with you, as well as any specialized tools that may be required.

Wheelchair Batteries

For safety reasons, we must examine all batteries to determine proper handling. For all batteries not labeled by their manufacturer as 'non-spillable', and for wheelchairs which cannot be loaded, stowed, secured, and unloaded in an upright position at all times, removal and airline dangerous goods packaging procedures apply.

For disabled passengers, there is no charge for transporting wheelchairs or for the use of courtesy wheelchair services.

Past Date Travel Experience

If you are a customer with a disability and have recently experienced a problem on a previous trip, we invite you to call us directly at (817) 967-3000. Please provide your full name, a daytime phone number, and mention that you are calling to discuss a disability-related matter. We will return your call no later than the end of the following business day.

Current or Upcoming Travel:

For disability assistance on a current reservation, please complete the Disability Assistance Form.

Or Call

Reservations at (800)433-7300 for Future Travel Disability Related Services

Boarding Assistance

Upon request, preboarding assistance will be provided to you, allowing you the opportunity to be seated prior to general boarding. Please advise the agent if you desire preboarding due to your disability. Link

Special Assistance Level

Every person with a challenge or disability is different and you are the best judge of the service you require. American and American Eagle employees are trained to assist our customers with disabilities. If we are doing more or less than you need, please let us know. American and American Eagle have specially trained employees at every airport to answer your questions or resolve an issue. American also has a centralized internal corporate resolution staff to assist airport personnel, available by telephone 24 hours a day. Link


  1. Good work Elizabeth. Hopefully this will help. I am somewhat skeptical that it will. It all depends on the attitude of the person you are working with. Take names.

  2. Maybe I'm just an eternal optimist, but I plan on having at least a couple copies of that page printed out and highlighted. We have four plane flights, so maybe I'll print several. SURELY if they see their policy in print they'll conform to it. I don't think they want to go against their company policy for disabled folks.

  3. Georgia, I just added a bunch more to the AA post. There's a disability form you can fill out prior to your flight to assure you have what you need.

  4. Again, Good work. I will be sure to fill out the disability form...or call them. Thanks for all you do.

  5. Georgia, you're welcome. I enjoy doing all this because it makes me feel like I'm helping people who face the same issues I do, and who want to help themselves do more and accomplish more. We're living large!