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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities Under the Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation

What Airline Employees, Airline Contractors, and Air Travelers with Disabilities Need to Know About Access to Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities

2003 Change including ESAs: http://airconsumer.dot.gov/rules/20030509.pdf

2008 Change allowing documentation requirement for ESA and PSD owners:
73 FR 27614, May 13, 2008, as modified by Correction Notice of 74 FR 11469, March 18, 2009. This document includes the modifications from the Correction Notice.

The most recent change is in the Federal Register Volume 76, Number 79, April 25, 2011 It deals with airport relief stations.

Most recent full text document: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=4cdf1cf0341c03d...

Note: Airlines may require 48 hours advanced notification for anyone wishing to travel with a Psychiatric Service Animal or Emotional support animal in cabin, or for anyone traveling with a service animal of any type on a flight lasting more than eight hours. Airlines may require a doctor's letter of a person traveling with either PSD or an ESA. This documentation can also be required of people who do not give credible assurances.

Find optimum seating at Seat Guru. Remember service dogs are not permitted in exit rows. Call the airline at least 48 hours in advance to confirm your service dog is listed with you on the passenger list to avoid surprises when you reach the gate. Ask for the seat that best suits your needs. If you have a large dog, ask if they will block the seat next to you. They are not required to do so, but many airlines will block a seat so long as the flight does not sell out.

Make sure your service dog is appropriately marked as a service dog and that you have paper work in case it is needed. Generally they will not ask for proof if the dog is marked, but are permitted to do so if you or your dog behave suspiciously or they have other cause to doubt your claim.

Put a copy of your itinerary in your dog's cape or pack along with emergency contact numbers and a letter giving permission for a veterinarian to treat your dog in an emergency if you are unable to sign for him.

Be prepared for passing through security checkpoints. If you will go through the metal detectors with your dog, make sure your dog is not wearing tags or anything else that might set off the detector or else you will both be searched. If you know your dog will set off the alarms, you may choose to go through ahead of your dog to show you are clear, then let them search only the dog. The fastest way through security is to be able to quickly remove all metal from your dog. Remember that your dog must still be on a collar or harness and leash at all times, even when passing through the metal detector.

Plan to reach the gate at least one hour before the scheduled departure time. Check in with the gate attendant and notify them you will be traveling with a service dog and would like to "pre-board." This means they would let you board before the other passengers so you can get your dog settled in position before it becomes crowded and difficult to maneuver a dog. If you will require assistance on landing, now is the time to notify a flight attendant. Remind them again shortly before landing.

Before your trip you should familiarize yourself with ACAA regulations and TSA guidlines.

Enter the following hotline numbers in your cell phone or carry them in your wallet:

U.S. Department of Justice ADA infoline (access to the airport itself): 800-514-0301
Transportation Safety Administration (issues with security check points): 877-336-4872
U.S. Department of Transportation (access to the aircraft): 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY)

If a problem arises, ask first to speak to the CRO (Complaint Resolution Official). Each airline is required to have a CRO available at all times of operation, even if only by phone. If you do have to file a complaint, do so in writing using either the official complaint form, by phone or by email. Details on filing a complaint


For disability discrimination complaints regarding airlines:

send your complaint to:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Aviation Consumer Protection Division , C-75-D
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590

Aviation Consumer Protection Division
Attn: C-75-D
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

OR

call 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511)

OR send an email through this webform: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfm


For complaints regarding security checkpoints:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Mail Stop #0800
245 Murray Lane, S.W.
Building 41
Washington, D.C. 20598

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Director, Office of Civil Rights and Liberties
601 South 12th Street – West Tower, TSA-6
Arlington, Virginia 22202
Attn: External Programs Division

OR

TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.


Additional links:

IAADP article
Delta Society article