Nepal Technical Assistance: Air Travel and Disability - Part 1

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Many factors go into the travel experience of someone with a disability. Coloring the very individual concerns of each traveler are their interactions with interlocking systems such as transportation to and parking at airports, ticketing and check-in, monitoring flight information, navigating the airport, airport security, comfort during plane changes and layovers, and comfort while in the air. This post looks at how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the USA has attempted to balance human rights and security for travelers with disabilities and includes a sample training video featuring travelers with disabilities speaking for themselves.


More than 2,600 [TSA] Passenger Support Specialists at airports across the country assist passengers who require additional assistance with security checkpoint screening.

Passenger Support Specialists receive specialized disability training provided by TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement.  Training for Passenger Support Specialists include how to assist with individuals with special needs, how to communicate with passengers by listening and explaining, and disability etiquette and disability civil rights.

Travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about checkpoint screening may ask a checkpoint officer or supervisor for a Passenger Support Specialist who will provide on-the-spot assistance. Passengers with special circumstances may include travelers with disabilities or medical conditionsWounded Warriors, passengers who wear specific religious clothing or head coverings and passengers struggling with understanding checkpoint procedures.

Travelers may also request a Passenger Support specialist ahead of time by calling the TSA Cares hotline at 1-855-787-2227.


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