Flying on American Airlines?
If one or more of your flights is on American, learn about acceptable mobility assistive devices on aa.com.
Before you travel
We provide certain seating accommodations on request to passengers who have a specified mobility disability, depending on aircraft type. If you have a mobility disability and would like special seating, call 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) at least 24 hours before your scheduled departure. If you request a special seat less than 24 hours before departure, we will try to accommodate your request.
We can provide special seating for certain passengers:
- We will provide a seat in a row with a movable aisle armrest for a passenger who uses a wheelchair to access the aircraft and cannot transfer over a fixed aisle armrest. On aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats, we offer movable aisle armrests on at least half of the aisle seats in the coach rows where passengers with mobility impairment may sit under FAA rules.
- We will provide a bulkhead seat or other seat with more legroom for passengers with a fused or immobilized leg.
If you have another mobility special need, let us know and we will make an effort to accommodate your seating request if the aircraft provides suitable accommodation. Call 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) at least 24 hours before departure.
Flight attendants will provide assistance to customers in getting from their seats to the aircraft lavatory and back during flight by using the onboard wheelchair. Every jet aircraft has a collapsible chair available, custom-designed for onboard use. Customers must be semi-ambulatory and able to transfer themselves into and out of these chairs.
On aircraft with 60 or more seats (including aircraft without an accessible lavatory), we can provide an on-board wheelchair if you can use an inaccessible lavatory but need a wheelchair to reach it. In this case, call 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) 48 hours in advance.
For safety reasons, if you are unable to physically assist in your own evacuation of the aircraft in an emergency because of severe mobility impairment, a safety assistant must accompany you. The safety assistant must purchase a ticket.
At the airport
Let us know if you need an airport wheelchair or help with your own wheelchair. Just ask a skycap or an agent at our ticket counter. Skycap vendor assistance is available in some cities at no charge. Advise the skycap vendors of any special services that you have requested.
At the ticket counter
If you not did not check in online, you can check in at the airport up to 4 hours before your scheduled departure.
Let an agent know about any special assistance you may need. If you did not request seating accommodation in advance - for example, you need a seat with a movable aisle armrest and an adjacent seat for a companion who will be assisting you, and you wish to have that person listed in your reservation - we will still try to fulfill your request at the airport.
If you need wheelchair assistance, inform the ticket counter agent or the gate agent so that we may fill out the proper documents, update your reservation and let the agents at your destination know that a wheelchair is needed.
Electric carts may be available at some airports. These carts are used to transport passengers between concourses within the same terminal. Ask an agent for help.
At the security checkpoint
At security, ask screeners for help with your mobility aid and carry-on items. Let the screeners know your level of ability - for example, whether you can walk, stand or perform an arm lift - so they can assist you.
- Inform screeners of any special equipment or devices that you are using and where this equipment is on your body. This will help the screener to be careful with the equipment if a physical search is necessary.
- Let screeners know if you cannot remove your shoes when additional screening is necessary.
- Ensure that all bags are on the X-ray belt for inspection.
- Ask the screener to help you find your carry-ons and other personal assistance items after the X-ray inspection.
Before you board
We offer pre-boarding for passengers with a disability who need extra time or assistance to board, stow accessibility equipment or be seated. We also offer boarding and deplaning assistance. Let one of our gate agents know if you need help boarding.
Special boarding chairs are available to help mobility-impaired passengers to their seats. Please provide clear instructions regarding how you wish to be transferred into the seat. Also let us know if you need help stowing or retrieving carry-on items, such as mobility aids and other assistive devices.
Accessible lavatories are only available on large aircraft with 2 aisles (generally on international flights). For those aircraft, we have an on-board wheelchair to help passengers to and from the lavatory.
Let an agent know if you need a wheelchair at your destination or connection. The agent will make a note in your reservation and order your wheelchair.
Transporting wheelchairs and other assistive devices
Manual wheelchairs, canes, crutches and walkers
US Airways and US Airways Express have designated priority space in the cabin of each aircraft to accommodate one collapsible wheelchair. In most cases, more than one wheelchair can be accommodated if space is available. This space is available on a first-come, first-served basis for customers who take advantage of pre-boarding. Additionally, some wheelchairs can collapse to fit in an overhead bin or beneath a seat.
Non-collapsible wheelchairs or scooters are acceptable as checked luggage. These items may be checked in at the ticket counter or departure gate.
For customers with disabilities, there is no charge for transporting or providing a wheelchair.
Call 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) 24 hours before your flight to request in-cabin wheelchair stowage. Wheelchairs stowed in the cabin do not count as a carry-on. Walkers are stowed in the overhead storage compartment, and canes are usually stowed by the passenger’s seat. If space is not available in the cabin for mobility aids and other assistive devices, or if the items do not meet safety, security and hazardous materials rules, we can transport the items in the cargo compartment. We will tag your mobility aid or assistive device for special handling, place it in the cargo compartment as you board the aircraft and return it to you at the destination gate on arrival or at a connecting airport. We do not charge a checked baggage fee for this type of item.
Battery-powered mobility aids
We can transport battery-powered mobility aids (such as a battery-powered wheelchair or other mobility device) as checked baggage if the baggage compartment is large enough and if all aircraft airworthiness requirements are satisfied. We cannot transport a damaged or leaking battery.
If you wish to check your battery-powered wheelchair or other similar mobility device, you must call 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) 48 hours in advance and check in 1 hour before the general check-in time.
In some situations, it will be necessary to remove the battery from the passenger’s wheelchair or other similar mobility device, and to package it separately:
- Any lithium-ion battery
- Any battery that is inadequately secured to a wheelchair
- Any spillable battery contained in a wheelchair that cannot be loaded, stowed, secured and unloaded in an upright position
Segway transporters will be accepted if used as an assistive device, but we are not authorized to transport the large lithium batteries that many Segways use, according to U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations.
Requirements for transporting lithium ion batteries
- Batteries must have 25 grams of equivalent lithium content (ELC) or less, or rated 300 watt hours or less. The U.S. Department of Transportation considers lithium ion batteries to be hazardous materials and prohibits from air travel lithium ion batteries with more than 25 grams ELC or rated over 300 watt hours.
- Batteries must be labeled, or you must provide documentation showing the battery has been UN P.T. III Section 38.3 tested.
- We will not transport more than 2 batteries at 25 grams ELC or rated 300 watt hours or less per person.
Call us at 800-428-4322 (TTY 800-245-2966) about:
- Transportation of an electric wheelchair on an aircraft with fewer than 60 seats
- Provision of hazardous materials packaging for batteries or other assistive devices that are required to have such packaging (a wheelchair or other device that uses a wet cell battery)
When disassembly is required
If we will be required to disassemble your wheelchair, other mobility aid or assistive device, please provide written directions, ideally from the manufacturer.
Using your own wheelchair when making a connection? At Charlotte, Philadelphia, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Phoenix and Las Vegas, we have special equipment to expedite the delivery of personal wheelchairs for use during layovers. If there's not enough time between flights to retrieve and assemble your personal wheelchair, we'll provide wheelchair service.