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American Airlines Special Assistance

AA provides special assistance to the disabled (hearing, vision, mobility, cognitive and developmental, etc), oversized people, children and unaccompanied minors, pets and pregnant women. AA does require that advance  information pertaining to the requirement of special assistance at the airport or during the flight shall be communicated well in advance either at the time of making the reservation or informing the representative at the airport before the flight departure time. For international flights, it is suggested to inform while making the reservation or at least 72 hours before scheduled departure but for the US domestic flights, prior intimation shall be done at least 24 hours in advance. What all special services are provided to these classes of people has been mentioned below:

Hearing Disabled: Signages which help in navigation at the airport, visual show of information pertaining to arrival and departure of the flights on the screens at airports and even the help extended by the attendant at the ground or in the cabin are some of the measures to assist the hearing impaired.

Vision Disability: Wheelchair, arm assistance for guidance and presence of airline representative at the airport are some of the common measures that vision disabled people can make use of. Passengers who can read Braille or communicate with the crew are allowed to travel unaccompanied but those who are not able to do these, are required to be accompanied by a guardian.

Mobility Disable: Some airports do have electric carts to carry passengers. You can even make use of the wheelchairs provided at the airport. What is even more comforting is the fact that you can carry your own wheelchair at the airport but you will have to put this in checked baggage. You can even request for arranging the wheelchair at the connecting airports.

Wheelchair Passengers: Wheelchair assistance is provided at check-in through security and up to the boarding gate. There is also a provision for priority boarding for the passengers using wheelchairs and enabling their connection between the AA flights or AA to another carrier.

In case you are carrying your own wheelchairs, AA provides the option to carry these as checked in baggage at no additional cost. The folding wheelchairs can be kept in the cabin on some of the aircraft provided the space is available for the same.

AA also carries in-flight wheelchairs on its planes including all flights from Europe.

Assistance and Guide Animals: It is important to note that AA prefers to be satisfied that a particular animal being carried in cabin is meant for guiding and assisting the passenger. In this respect, it might seek proper identification documents for that animal at the time of check-in. In case this is not present, then it takes a look at the harnesses, the markings on the harnesses or even consider verbal assurances from the owners. It is better to carry the proper documentation in this respect so as to avoid any hassles.

For flights to/from UK, the passengers are required to contact DEFRA at least a week before the scheduled departure of flights and get proper documentation with respect to guide and assistance animal. Besides this, you are also required to get pre-approval letters from Animal Reception Centre at the London airports. These documents have to be presented at the time of check-in.

Traveling with these pets to/from Europe requires that a particular number be tattooed on the bodies of these pets or a chip shall be implanted on the pet by a Vet doctor which can carry the number of mentioned in the vaccination card. If you are traveling to Ireland with these pets, then the approval from Irish Department of Agriculture is a must.

Oversized Passengers: For the oversized passengers, it is recommended that they buy an additional seat for themselves. This seat will be charged at normal adult fare and the baggage allowance for a single adult applies. This becomes mandatory when their bodies extend more than 1 inch  beyond the outermost edge of armrest. However, in order to book these additional seats, you are required to do so by calling the reservations department of AA.

Children: AA classifies children as Infants (2 days to 2 years), Children ( 2 year to 12 years) and  Adults (above 12 years). All of them have their own passports and can not travel on the passport of their parents. At the same time, there is a need to show an ID carrying the Date of Birth of Child during the check-in.

Infants must be accompanied by a passenger of 16 years of age and above. Two infants for one adult passenger can travel but an additional seat ticket must be purchased for accommodating the child in child seat. There is a 90% discount on adult fare for infant who is not occupying a seat but for domestic travel within US, the seat is for free.

Children who are less than 5 years of age can not travel unaccompanied. Between 5-11 years of age, may travel alone but unaccompanied minor assistance (UNM) shall be bought. Adult fares apply for UNMs. Child are allowed to travel at 25% discount on US and international adult fares.

Adults in age range of 12-17 years can seek UNM assistance, though it is not mandatory for them.

Fee for the Unaccompanied Minor Assistance is USD 150 each way. Two or more UNMs from same or immediate extended family can travel on this charge. This fee has to be paid to the reservations and can not be paid online.

Pregnant Women: AA permits travel to women up to 7 days before delivery in case of US domestic flights and flights between US and Canada, US and Puerto Rico or Virgin Islands. If the pregnancy is not complicated a medical certificate is not needed.

On the international flights, AA recommends pregnant women not to travel within 30 days of the due date of expected birth of child. If there is a need to fly, AA requires Fit To Fly certification from your doctor. If you have to travel within 10 days of due date, then there is an additional need to get required authorisation from Special Assistance Team.

Ask Your Questions Temporarily Disabled

Margaret Colleen Rosell

Posted on 02-Sep-2018
Your special assistance line is requesting only 48 hour needs. I am disabled on 2 canes and will be traveling with my electric chair which TSA approved. My question is regarding seating. I chose aisle seats, as near to front as suited my budget, on my 4 flights in I have not purchased them yet. Are special assistance seats different than those in seat assignment? I haven't flown for 20 years. I was even a travel agent in 1990. So much has changed! Thank you for your help.

Admin Reply :

The airline does have Main Cabin Extra seats for normal passengers who are looking for more comfortable journey but these are paid ones. You shall seek details on seats for special needs passengers from airline as it depends on airplane type. 

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