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Passenger Rights USA

United States FlagThis page contains information on passenger rights for people with disabilities traveling by air from, to, and within the USA.


In the United States, the rights of passengers with special needs are set forth in 14 CFR, Part 382, Nondiscrimination On The Basis Of Disability In Air Travel.


The following FAQs contain all relevant information concerning passenger rights of people with disabilities traveling from, to, and within the United States of America on US and foreign airlines.

  • What is the purpose of 14 CFR Part 382?

    This law prohibits American and foreign airlines from discriminating against passengers on the basis of disability; requires carriers to make aircraft, other facilities, and services accessible; and requires carriers to take steps to accommodate passengers with a disability.


  • What is the definition of person with disability in this law?

    Individual with a disability means any individual who has a physical or mental impairment that, on a permanent or temporary basis, substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.


    Physical or mental impairment means: 


    (1) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory including speech organs, cardio-vascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or


    (2) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.


    The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism.


    (b) Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.


    (c) Has a record of such impairment means has a history of, or has been classified, or misclassified, as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.


  • Can airlines refuse to carry a person because of a disability?

    Airlines cannot refuse to provide transportation to a passenger with a disability on the basis of his or her disability, except as specifically permitted by this part.


    (b) Airlines must not refuse to provide transportation to a passenger with a disability because the person's disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy, or inconvenience crewmembers or other passengers.


    (c) Airlines may refuse to provide transportation to any passenger on the basis of safety, as provided in 49 U.S.C. 44902 or 14 CFR 121.533, or to any passenger whose carriage would violate FAA or TSA requirements or applicable requirements of a foreign government.


    (1) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat, airlines must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain:


    (i) The nature, duration, and severity of the risk;


    (ii) The probability that the potential harm to the health and safety of others will actually occur; and


    (iii) Whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.


    (2) If the airline determine that the passenger does pose a direct threat, they must select the least restrictive response from the point of view of the passenger, consistent with protecting the health and safety of others. For example, airlines cannot refuse transportation to the passenger if you can protect the health and safety of others by means short of a refusal.


    If airlines refuse to provide transportation to a passenger on his or her originally-scheduled flight on a basis relating to the individual's disability, they must provide to the person a written statement of the reason for the refusal. This statement must include the specific basis for the carrier's opinion that the refusal meets the standards of paragraph (c) of this section or is otherwise specifically permitted by this part. Airlines must provide this written statement to the person within 10 calendar days of the refusal of transportation.


  • Can airlines require a passenger with a disability to provide a medical certificate?

    Airlines may require a medical certificate for a passenger with a disability if:


    (i) Who is traveling in a stretcher or incubator;


    (ii) Who needs medical oxygen during a flight; or


    (iii) Whose medical condition is such that there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight; or


    (iiii) if he or she has a communicable disease or condition that could pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on the flight.


    A medical certificate is a written statement from the passenger's general practitioner saying that the passenger is capable of completing the flight safely, without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight. To be valid, a medical certificate must be dated within 10 days of the scheduled date of the passenger's initial departing flight.



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I and my severely disabled wife wish to express our sincere gratefulness for the help and support this website gave us to enable us to reach a resolution with the air carrier.

John Greenwood.

Company Info

Reduced Mobility Rights Limited
Registered in England and Wales.
Company No : 07748812
2 Woodberry Grove, London, N12 0DR
Phone: +44.(0)7786.993741



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