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Attending to the needs of people with reduced mobility (PRM)


The purpose of this document is to render air transport more accessible to people with reduced mobility, guaranteeing that their needs are understood and met and that their safety and dignity are respected. The document is intended for airlines that provide services and facilities in airports and aircraft, and can be used as a basis for the preparation of one or more voluntary codes of conduct. When developing codes, the appropriate provisions of Document 30 (Section 5) of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and Appendix 9 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) must be taken into account. The aforementioned documents are a source of technical information and have been drafted with input from the air transport industry and the governmental bodies responsible for establishing regulations and recommended practices.

Definition

People with reduced mobility (PRM) are held to comprise anyone whose mobility is restricted by a physical disability (sensorial or locomotor), a deterioration of their intellectual faculties, age or any other type of handicap when using a means of transport, and whose situation requires special attention and the adaptation of the services placed at the disposal of all passengers to their needs.

Basic postulates

  • PRM have the same rights to free movement and free choice as any other citizen. This is just as applicable to travelling in aeroplanes as to every other situation in life.
  • It is the responsibility of airlines, airports and the agents of services related to both to attend to the needs of PRM. Similarly, it is the responsibility of PRM to specify their requirements via the appropriate channels, at the proper time.
  • The information necessary for PRM to be able to plan their journeys must be provided.
  • The costs to which attending to PRM gives rise must not be directly passed on to them.
  • Disabilities must not be regarded as illnesses. PRM must therefore not be asked to make medical statements concerning their disabilities as a condition for admitting them to a flight.
  • Organisations that represent PRM shall be consulted over matters related to attending to such people.
  • Suitable training geared to understanding and catering for the needs of PRM shall be provided.
  • Security checks and monitoring shall be carried out in a manner that respects the dignity of PRM.
  • PRM must be allowed the greatest degree of independence possible.

Airline practices

No transport operator may refuse to carry PRM, unless it is unable to do so safely or to physically accommodate them, or is unable to provide specific services which may be required during the flight. In the event of not admitting PRM to a service, operators shall explain the reasons for their refusal clearly and explicitly.

PMR passengers who are not able to manage on their own must always be accompanied. The airline does not provide sanitary, hygienic or safety onboard assistance. For more information you should consult our Call Centre.

Airlines shall endeavour to seek technical and operative options for improving access to and facilities in aeroplanes of all sizes, particularly when undertaking major reconditioning work.

In cases in which it is not possible to provide a direct route for PRM (due to the small size of an aeroplane, for example), airlines shall undertake to propose an acceptable alternative.

Regardless of the size of airports or aircraft, the dignity of PRM must be respected during boarding and disembarkation formalities.

Space permitting, airlines shall provide adapted onboard fittings geared to facilitating the autonomy of PRM, within the limits of health, hygiene and safety restrictions.

PRM shall be treated equally as regards the allocation of seats, within the limits imposed by safety requisites. In the event of a request to be allocated a specific seat being refused for safety reasons, airlines shall explain the grounds for their decision clearly and explicitly.

Guide dogs shall be carried in the cabin in accordance with airline rules and national import regulations. No fee shall be charged for the carriage thereof. PRM shall not be charged for the transport of basic objects that facilitate their mobility or of other essential auxiliary elements, in the case of disability.

Airlines must take all reasonable measures in their power to avoid the loss of or damage to objects that facilitate mobility or other auxiliary elements, in the case of disability. In the event of any such loss or damage, airlines shall take the necessary action to cater for immediate needs as regards individual mobility.

Air Carrier Access Act

  • By telephone:
    For calls made from within the United States, by telephone via the Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY)
    By telephone to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY)
  • By mail
    to the Air Consumer Protection Division
    C-75, US Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
    West Building, Room W96-432
    Washington, DC 20590
  • Internet: On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division's Web site http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov