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Printer Icon Print Issue Date: 12/24/2014 12:00:00 AM




(Los Angeles, California – December 24, 2014)  Air travel can be taxing in the best of times.  For travelers with disabilities air travel can be especially stressful.

To help ease some of the stress, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Disabilities Office has prepared tips to help make travel a little easier:

Notify the airline at least three days before your planned trip if you will need assistance once you arrive at the airport.  Items you should let the airline know about in advance include equipment needed for mobility such as a wheelchair or scooter; medical oxygen or portable dialysis equipment.  Also notify the airline if you need special seating arrangements or are bringing a service animal.  If you are traveling with a comfort animal or psychiatric service animal, ask about documentation requirements.

If you will be requesting wheelchair service, make that request at the same time you make your reservations.  If you fail to make reservations for wheelchair service you may have to wait for an available wheelchair due to sometimes heavy demand.  Wheelchair service is provided free of charge. No tipping is required.

If you are traveling with a service animal on a flight longer than eight hours, ask the airline about restrictions they may have regarding service animals. Some international flights may restrict service animals to dogs only.

In today’s changing air travel environment, know an airline’s seating, baggage and service policies before arriving at the airport.  By arriving extra early, a passenger will have the necessary time to resolve most last-minute travel-related concerns. 

If you have a condition that requires special security screening you are encouraged to call TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 to arrange for special screening at least three days before your flight.   TSA Cares can also answer your disability related questions pertaining to allowed items and restrictions.  Check the Transportation Security Administration’s web site at for more information.

Lawrence Rolon, Los Angeles World Airports Americans with Disability Act coordinator, says that many families with autism have expressed their hesitation at flying because of the misconception by the general public if there is a sudden outburst by a family member with autism.  

Rolon said that autism should not be a barrier to flying.  He suggests families contact TSA Cares at least three days before your flight to arrange for special screening on arrival at the airport.   Let the TSA representative know of sensitivities the person with autism has. This will make the process go easier when you arrive at the airport.       

 Rolon added that families with autism have suggested steps families should take when traveling.  Some of the suggestions include notifying the ticket agent at the airport, who will note the information into the passenger profile thus alerting airline personnel that the traveler may need special assistance at some point.

“If the person with autism becomes unruly while waiting for a flight, ask airline personnel if there is a quiet area where you can go until the family member calms down.  They will try to accommodate your request,” Rolon said.

“If applicable, due to the nature of the autism, board when the pre-boarding announcement is made.  If necessary ask the boarding agent prior to the boarding announcement being made, if you can board first.  Once aboard the plane, let the flight attendant know you are traveling with someone who has autism.  Flight attendants are trained in working with families with autism during flights,”

All travelers with disabilities are reminded to bring government-issued photo identification such as a valid driver’s license or passport. The identification is necessary at airline check-in and at passenger screening.

Place an extra set of medications in a carry-on bag and bring along a copy of your doctor’s phone number. Syringes are allowed in carry-on bags, but they must accompany the medication, which has a pharmacy printed label identifying the medication or manufacturer’s name.

If you require therapeutic oxygen, check with the airline about its policy and cost.  Not all airlines allow you to bring your own oxygen unit.  (An airline generally requires several days advance notice for people requiring therapeutic oxygen on its flights.)

Put identification on both the outside and inside of luggage, carry-on bags and equipment (such as wheelchairs). For carry-on item restrictions, contact your airline.

Rolon wants travelers with disabilities to know that they are not alone when at the airport.  “The airport/airline community and their partners are here to assist.”

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