Air Travel

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism > Air Travel

This page has curated news on Air Travel. There are resources from 17 countries and regions, with a total of 78 links.

Highlights

From International News:

Delta Developing First-of-Its-Kind Airplane Seat for Wheelchair Users to stay in their chairs. (2023)

Why Accessibility is Essential for Air Travel efforts to “move the priority of accessible air travel” and their inclusion in the latest Airport Handling Manual. (2023, IATA)

From Australia:

Australia’s airlines and airports urged to improve treatment of travellers with disabilities. (2023, the Guardian)

From Canada:

Ministers take steps towards ensuring disability-inclusive air travel. (2023, Disability Insider)

From Europe:

End the Nightmare: Passengers with disabilities deserve to travel by air – a call for passenger rights. (2023, EDF)

From India:

New disability rule for airlines from India's aviation authority. (2022, Disability Insider)

From Nigeria:

We shall picket airports plans to protest against lack of access in airports and airlines. (2022, Vanguard NGR)

From the United Kingdom:

Rights on Flights: the new campaign seeking to make air travel more accessible. Exchange with Sophie Morgan. (2023, National Geographic)

From the United States:

Taking on the Unfriendly Skies: Are Airlines Hearing Wheelchair Users’ Protests?

“As a high-level quad who flies on a regular basis, it’s disheartening to be asked for more patience when our rights continue to be violated and our lives are at stake. And though little seems to have changed for current flyers, what has changed is the groundswell of voices pushing to bring down one of the last major walls of exclusion from equal access to modern mass transportation since the ADA was passed 33 years ago.” (2023, New Mobility)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

Are we entering a golden age of accessibility? An optimistic view on changes in the sector from an airline professional. (2023, Airlines)

United is adding Braille signage to its planes “So far, about a dozen planes have been equipped with the signage, which conveys information about rows, seat numbers and lavatories. The rest of the United-operated fleet, which doesn’t include regional jets, are expected to be updated by the end of 2026.” (2023, Washington Post)

Delta Developing First-of-Its-Kind Airplane Seat for Wheelchair Users to stay in their chairs. (2023)

First Look: Air4All Wheelchair Securement Space by Delta Flight Products. Preview of a model where wheelchairs ride in body of the plane. (2023, Wheelchair Travel)

Why Accessibility is Essential for Air Travel efforts to “move the priority of accessible air travel” and their inclusion in the latest Airport Handling Manual. (2023, IATA)

‘It’s not the waiting, it’s the indignity’: disabled passengers tell of air travel torment. (2022, the Guardian)

Back to contents.

Middle East and North Africa

Dubai disability campaigner left stranded after airline loses wheelchair. “Swiss International Airlines covers costs of damaged wheelchair lost on Dubai to London flight” (2023, The National)

Back to contents.

Africa

Ghana

Disability Advocates Appeal to Ghana Airport Company to investigate mistreatment of people with disabilities. (2022, Disability News Africa)

Back to contents.

Nigeria

When Disability Meets Privilege “Authorities in Nigeria squander an opportunity to make a statement about human dignity and genuine social inclusion.” (Apr, Council on Foreign Relations)

Nigerian airports still a nightmare for people with disabilities (2023, TheCable)

Mainstream Disability Inclusion In Aviation Policies (2023, Independent NG)

We shall picket airports plans to protest against lack of access in airports and airlines. (2022, Vanguard NGR)

Calls Mount For Nigerian Airports To Be Made More Accessible (2022, Simple Flying)

Back to contents.

Asia

China

11kg of suspected cocaine found in motorised wheelchair in Hong Kong airport. (2023, BBC)

Back to contents.

India

IndiGo staff 'abandons' visually impaired flyer. (2023, Times of India)

Passengers with special needs: “A wheelchair is not what my sister needs at an airport” (2022, The Indian Express)

New disability rule for airlines from India's aviation authority. (2022, Disability Insider)

Anger after India airline IndiGo removes disabled teenager “India's aviation minister has said he is investigating a domestic airline after it allegedly refused to let a disabled teenager board its flight.” (2022, BBC)

Back to contents.

Israel

Wizz Air forced a Ukrainian veteran to leave the flight from Tel Aviv to Warsaw, because of his prosthetic leg. (2023, Ukrainian News)

Back to contents.

United Arab Emirates

Emirates engages families with neurodivergent children. “Working with local schools, autism groups and key stakeholders, Emirates and Dubai International Airport (DXB) are focused on improving the travel experience for neurodivergent passengers, facilitating ‘travel rehearsals’ where children can practice their journey through the airport and onboard aircraft, as well as working directly with families to delight superfans like Humza, age 11, on his first flight with Emirates.” (2023, Emirates)

Back to contents.

Europe

Europe

Passengers with disabilities “grounded” by proposed Passenger Rights Package (2023, EDF)

Disabled passengers push for EU to reform ‘nightmare’ air travel Travelers complain that EU rules aren’t well-suited to dealing with the challenges of disabled people. (2023, Politico)

End the Nightmare: Passengers with disabilities deserve to travel by air – a call for passenger rights. (2023, EDF)

Why Flying Is A Nightmare For Wheelchair Users: “The worst part of flying for me is spending the journey anxiously waiting to see if my wheelchair has made it safely to the other side.” (2023, Huffpost)

Back to contents.

Malta

KM Malta Airlines’ wheelchair requirements ‘discriminatory' “KM Malta Airline’s requirement for wheelchair users to fill in and submit a €15 medical form when booking a flight has been labelled “discriminatory” by CRPD Commissioner Rhoda Garland.” (Apr, Times of Malta)

Back to contents.

Sweden

Wheelchair user left to crawl off Ryanair plane in Sweden. (2023, BBC)

Back to contents.

United Kingdom

From Zero to Heathrow what different airports in the UK charge airlines for persons with reduced mobility, and how it relates to quality of provision. “Considering the ratings, it's clear that a decent PRM charge is very likely linked to a "very good" service performance.” (Mar, Accessible Link)

British Airways improves accessibility for deaf passengers “Changes being implemented include new signed video content containing various helpful travel information being made available to customers both pre-travel and while onboard.” (2023, Aerotime Hub)

New report highlights accessibility issues with airline websites “Key findings from the report highlight that there is overall room for improvement across the board, with a lack of consistent, ongoing consumer research from airlines.” (2023, Civil Aviation Authority)

Disabled flyers angry at airline 'double charging'. “Nearly 30 carriers contacted by the BBC said passengers with mobility problems must purchase a full-price ticket for a personal care assistant (PA).” (2023, BBC)

Heathrow failed to meet minimum accessibility standards, a regulator ratings of UK airports. (2023, the Guardian)

Government pledges change for air travel after #RightsOnFlights campaign. (2023, Disability Rights UK)

Rights on Flights: the new campaign seeking to make air travel more accessible. Exchange with Sophie Morgan. (2023, National Geographic)

Airlines can’t be trusted with disabled people’s wheelchairs. (2023, Tortoise)

A campaign for Rights on flights it’s time for the air travel industry to take Disabled people seriously. (2023, Disability Rights UK)

Heathrow and other airports criticised by watchdog after disabled passengers missed summer flights. (2022, the Guardian)

Airports must stop failing disabled passengers, says UK regulator. (2022, the Guardian)

How airline Apps let down blind passengers “Only one major UK airline’s App works with screenreaders for the blind” (2022, Which)

Back to contents.

North America

Canada

First-ever Air Accessibility Summit hits Ottawa (May, CTV News)

Air Canada Fined For Accessibility Lapses “Air Canada has been slapped with a series of fines for failing disabled passengers in 2023, racking up penalties worth a total of CA$260,000 over the last 12 months.” (2023, Pyok)

Air Canada summoned to Ottawa after multiple incidents involving passengers with wheelchairs. “Transport minister says airline must present a plan to address treatment of passengers with disabilities.” (2023, CBC) Air Canada announced a series of measures to reduce barriers and make travel simpler.

Hidden cameras capture passenger who uses wheelchair struck by lift on Air Canada flight | CBC News Months-long Marketplace investigation reveals people with disabilities facing safety issues while travelling. (2023, CBC)

Wheelchair users on flights are passengers — not problems, says Canada's chief accessibility officer. (2023, CBC)

Canadian Para athletes not immune to hazards of travel, where damaged equipment can cost shot at a medal. (2023, CBC)

Toronto man wins disability accommodation fight against Air Canada “Seven years after Tim Rose was denied access to an Air Canada flight because of the size of his power wheelchair, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled the country's largest airline needs to do more to accommodate passengers with mobility devices.” (2023, CBC)

Ministers take steps towards ensuring disability-inclusive air travel. (2023, Disability Insider)

Flight Attendant Refuses to Store Passenger's Wheelchair. the story unfolds on TikTok. (2023, Distractify)

Toronto woman with disability says flying Air Canada made her feel like an 'unwanted burden' (2023, CBC)

Airlines can't seem to safely transport my wheelchair, but they've found a way to move horses by air. (2022, CBC)

Air Canada broke my $30,000 motorized wheelchair. Here’s what happened next (2022, Toronto Life)

Back to contents.

United States

Airlines that mishandle wheelchairs face new accountability rules (Feb, NPR)

Travelers, advocates say airlines can do better for disabled flyers Airlines damaged thousands of mobility aids this year: Here's how 30+ flyers were affected. (2023, USA Today)

American Airlines under fire as viral video shows bag handlers callously tossing passenger’s wheelchair. (2023, New York Post)

Air Force One For All: It's Time to Make the Presidential Aircraft Wheelchair Accessible. “The nation’s first presidential aircraft was wheelchair accessible… in 1945!” (2023, Wheelchair Travel)

Taking on the Unfriendly Skies: Are Airlines Hearing Wheelchair Users’ Protests?

“As a high-level quad who flies on a regular basis, it’s disheartening to be asked for more patience when our rights continue to be violated and our lives are at stake. And though little seems to have changed for current flyers, what has changed is the groundswell of voices pushing to bring down one of the last major walls of exclusion from equal access to modern mass transportation since the ADA was passed 33 years ago.” (2023, New Mobility)

United Airlines' disabled customers will soon have more access options “United Airlines' new tool will let you know if your wheelchair will fit on your flight” (2023, USA Today)

Let's Make Air Force One Wheelchair Accessible “Delayed delivery of the next-generation Air Force One will allow Boeing to add a wheelchair securement space and other accessibility features.” (2023, Wheelchair Travel)

The Best and Worst US Airlines for Handling Wheelchairs in 2022 percentages of mishandled wheelchairs ranges from Allegiant's 0.4% to Spirit's 5.8%. (2023)

United Airlines Settles Lawsuit After Wheelchair User Sustains Brain Injury “Nathaniel Foster was a power chair user and college student when he sustained a catastrophic brain injury while deplaning on an aisle chair. His family alleged that United Airlines negligence was to blame and settled with the airline for $30 million.” (2023, New Mobility)

Airlines tried to stop fake service animals. It kept blind people off flights. “New Department of Transportation rules have made flying more difficult, and at times, inaccessible to blind passengers” (2023, Washington Post)

Airlines Will Be Required to Make Bathrooms More Accessible Single-aisle planes will face new rules from the U.S. Department of Transportation—but they won’t go into effect for more than a decade (2023, Smithsonian)

Bill aims to improve air travel for passengers with disabilities. “The Mobile Act would track damaged mobility aids and spur research on designing planes that allow passengers to stay in those aids when flying.” (2023, Washington Post)

Austin Jailer Breaks Elderly Deaf Woman’s Arm at Airport “what was supposed to be a three-hour layover at Austin-Berg­strom International Airport turned into an arrest, a weekend in the Travis County Jail, and an arm broken by a jailer and left untreated for three days.” (2023, The Austin Chronicle)

New bill aims to improve transparency around disability-related air travel complaints. (2023, Changing America)

Start-up Targets Sustainable and Accessible Regional Airliner that can accommodate wheelchairs inside the cabin. (2023, Future Flight)

Short video accompanying air travel: Flying Has Become Hell for Passengers with Wheelchairs. (2023, Vice)

Gaby Assouline dies one year after being ‘thrown’ from Southwest Airlines walkway. (2023, NY Post)

The airline passengers getting 'unacceptable' treatment. 'If I reported every incident, I'd never leave the airport' (2022, CNN)

Embarrassing, Uncomfortable and Risky: A photo-essay feature on what flying is like for passengers who use wheelchairs. (2022, NYT)

Ideas abound as the Department of Transport eyes wheelchairs in the aircraft cabin. (2022, Runway Girl Network)

The Department of Transport Announces First-Ever Bill of Rights for Passengers with Disabilities. The Bill of Rights describes 10 rights for airline passengers with disabilities. (2022, Department of Transportation)

Back to contents.

Oceania

Australia

Qantas criticised over disability policies after 'appalling' treatment of artist (Apr, ABC News)

Adelaide Airport settles dispute with former disability discrimination commissioner over a "humiliating and distressing" experience with security screening and his assistance dog. (Jan, ABC News)

Australia’s airlines and airports urged to improve treatment of travellers with disabilities. (2023, the Guardian)

‘This was indignity’: passenger with disability left without wheelchair at Sydney airport. (2022, the Guardian)

Back to contents.

New Zealand

'World-first' as NZ Sign Language used at 35,000 feet “Deaf New Zealanders on a flight from Auckland to Wellington have — for the first time — been given flight-safety instructions in their own language.” (May, 1 News)

Deaf community hopeful airline safety videos will feature NZSL Chief Ombudsman ruled the regulatory body's decision not to include it is "unreasonable". (2023, 1 News)

Back to contents.