The greatest challenges for people with visual impairments when traveling by air are finding their seats, locating the washroom and identifying their luggage once they arrive at their destination. To make this process a bit easier, consider these pointers from travel experts:
- Before you start to travel be sure your itinerary is written out in large print.
- At the time you are making flight reservations let the airlines know about your visual impairment. Talk to an agent or review the airline’s website for information about traveling with a cane or service animal.
- When you check in at the airport identify yourself to an agent while pre-boarding. Staff will be there to help and will escort you directly to your seat.
- Once on board, count the number of seats there are to reach the washroom and the nearest emergency exit.
- Visually impaired travelers should know the exact size and color of their luggage to identify it in case it gets lost. A large colorful decal or logo on the outside of your bag can help to easily identify it at the baggage carousel.
- For wheelchair and scooter users planning is the key to have a safe and comfortable trip when traveling by air.
2. Identify yourself as a person with a disability and inform the reservation person that you will be traveling with a wheelchair or scooter.
3. Also request, if you will need them: a seat with movable armrests; an aisle chair for boarding; an accessible restroom; a bulkhead seat; or an aisle seat.
4. If you use a fold up manual wheelchair, you can request that it be stowed in the on-board coat closet. There is only room for one wheelchair and the service is available on a first come first service basis, so you should arrive early to make your request. Plus not all planes have a coat closet.
Wheelchair Damage Control
2. Don’t hesitate to ask security personnel for assistance either to put your items on the X-ray belt, to monitor your items when you are in the X-ray inspection, or to reunite you with them once the screening process is completed.
Boarding and Deplaning
2. Before landing remind the flight attendant that you need your equipment brought to the gate so they can radio ahead to make the arrangements. This can help speed things up.
3. If you have any problems or damage ask to speak to the “Complaint Resolution Officer” (CRO). Each air carrier is required to have a CRO available by phone or in person at all times. This person is specially trained in dealing with problems that travelers with disabilities may encounter.