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Special Needs

Many passengers have special requests and the airlines are happy to accommodate them if possible.  Some of the requests are for special meals based on health and religion – Kosher, Vegetarian, Diabetic, etc.  This type of request can be put in the SSR field of the PNR and must be done directly with the airline.  Some passengers with special needs are as shown below:

Unaccompanied Minors

Pregnant Women

Passengers occupying two seats.

Passengers requiring supplemental oxygen

Passengers requiring a wheelchair or stretcher or syringes for medical needs

Runaway Minors

Prisoners or Refugees

Passengers with disabilities

The Air Carrier Act prohibits discrimination based on handicap in air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities.

The airline cannot refuse to transport a passenger based on a disability.  They cannot limit the amount of seats sold on a flight to passengers with disabilities and they cannot discriminate against any passenger’s condition, even if it may offend, annoy, or be an inconvenience to crewmembers or other passengers.

Carriers may require up to 48-hours notice if the passenger needs special equipment such as oxygen or a room to accommodate a stretcher.

Airlines cannot keep anyone out of a seat or require someone to sit in a particular seat based on a handicap except as an FAA safety rule.  For example, exit row seating is restricted to persons who can perform a series of functions in an emergency.

Most airlines will not bump passenger who have a physical restriction; the airline will do everything possible to make sure that a disabled traveler gets on, and stays on the flight they have reserved.

Other services and accommodations that are required by the airline are to provide assistance with boarding, deplaning, and making connections.

Most airlines permit service animals such as seeing eye dogs to travel in the passenger cabin at the feet of the owner.  There is usually no fee involved.

Most airlines do not require that a self-sufficient passenger travel with a companion or have a doctor’s certificate.

Airlines often do offer discounted fares for an attendant or companion to travel with the disabled passenger.

Seat Assignment

Seat Assignment is a service that allows a passenger to choose a specific seat before boarding a flight.  A passenger can choose between an aisle seat and a window seat.  Although reservations (a seat or space) are confirmed, there are times that seat assignments are not confirmed until you get to the airport.  

Introduction To Travel34 of 57

Concepts and TerminologyConfidential, TRX Inc.7 November 2007

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