Travelling with Special Needs

Travelling with Special Needs to or from the US

We strive to provide the best possible assistance to make your journey convenient and comfortable. We will not refuse the right to travel to any guest on grounds of special needs assistance (conditions may apply). You can contact your local Air India office if you need to speak to someone about requesting special services for your special needs assistance.

Pre-travel Assistance

We recommend calling us at least 72 hours before your flight at 1-212-407-1456 between 09:00 and 17:00 hours EST, Monday through Friday, to discuss and schedule any additional assistance you may need. During other hours, please call 1-800-223-7776. Our customer care executives can assist you with any concerns or questions.

Assistance at the airport and in the air

At the airport

If you need a wheelchair or any other mobility assistance to help you through the airport, we recommend contacting us 48 hours before your flight departure. If you cannot pre-book, our staff will be ready to help you at the airport.

In the air

We will do our best to assign you a seat best suited to your needs. However, due to applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and safety regulations, we might not be able to accommodate your request to be seated at emergency exits or in cross aisles that form a part of emergency exit access rows if you are unable to assist in an evacuation of the aircraft.

There is an onboard aisle wheelchair on all our flights to assist passengers with transportation to and from the restrooms. Please note that the crew cannot assist passengers in the restroom. Also, the lavatories on the flight are not wheelchair accessible.

Travelling with your wheelchair or assistive device

If you are travelling with your wheelchair, scooter, Segway, or any other assistive device:

  • Please inform us about the height and weight information at least 48 hours before your journey so we can make the necessary arrangements.
  • We also request that you come to the airport one hour before the recommended check-in time so that we may ensure proper handling of your battery-powered mobility aids.
  • Crew members can help you store small, collapsible assistive devices that can be safely stowed in an overhead bin or under your seat.

Regulations for travelling with an assistive device

  • Assistive devices with batteries include respirators, CPAP machines (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine), portable oxygen concentrators (POC), and ventilators. 
  • We will allow individuals with special needs assistance using FAA-approved personal respirators/ventilators to bring their equipment, including non-spillable batteries, onboard the aircraft.
  • You must have sufficient battery power for 150% of the maximum flight duration.
  • We accept assistive devices with batteries as checked baggage and cabin luggage.
  • If your wheelchair/assistive device is in the checked baggage, it will be returned to you at your destination. We will transport you in another wheelchair from the check-in counter to the aircraft or any connecting flights and upon arrival to the baggage collection area at the destination.
  • Air India accepts spillable and non-spillable batteries if they are correctly labelled and marked ‘spillable’ or ‘non-spillable’ to ensure proper handling for the appropriate battery type. A battery may be refused if there is any sign of damage or leakage.
  • If you cannot pre-book, an Air India employee will be available to assist you at the airport to coordinate the storage of your assistive devices on the aircraft.

Travelling with an assistant

An assistant or companion will be required to travel with a passenger if they:

  • Are travelling in a stretcher
  • Cannot assist in their evacuation during an emergency
  • Cannot communicate or respond to the crew regarding safety matters
  • Cannot comprehend safety instructions due to diminished mental capacity

Please note that the crew will not be able to help travellers with eating, administering medication, or assisting in using lavatory facilities. They can help you with opening items on meal trays if required. We will assist passengers moving to and from the lavatory but will not assist within the lavatory.

Visually impaired travellers

If you are visually impaired, we recommend that you contact us before the date of travel so we can make the necessary arrangements. If you cannot pre-book, our ground personnel will gladly assist you. We will help escort visually impaired customers to and from the aircraft and help find other locations at the airport.

Hearing impaired travellers

If you are hearing impaired, we recommend that you contact us before the date of travel so that we can make any necessary arrangements. If you cannot pre-book, our on-ground personnel will be pleased to assist you at the airport. Hearing-impaired passengers are offered the following assistance:

  • Separate briefings about safety procedures
  • Separate briefings about delays and other travel issues
  • Captioning in english for the in-flight safety video
  • Travelling with service/assistance animal

Visually impaired travellers with a guide dog

A dog trained to lead and accompany travellers with impaired vision will only be carried out if proper permits are obtained for entry into the country or territory of destination and countries of transit, where such licenses are required.

  • The dog must be properly harnessed and muzzled. 
  • The dog may be carried in the cabin or the cargo hold, depending upon each country’s regulations as well as the size of the dog.
  • The dog shall not be permitted to occupy a seat. The dog will be carried free of charge in addition to the standard free baggage allowance.

Please ensure you comply with all formalities required by the government authorities at the destination/transit stations.

Please read the ‘guidelines for carrying pets on international flights.

Reporting special needs assistance-related issues via the US Department of Transportation (DOT)

Complaint Resolution Official (CRO)

If you encounter problems while travelling with us, please ask any crew member or ground staff for a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO).

Our CROs have been specially trained in sensitivity and awareness, as well as all applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and legislation. They will readily respond to your concerns.

Our CROs are available during operating hours at all our U.S. stations. If you feel we have violated any provision of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 382, you may file a formal complaint under the applicable procedures.

By Mail

Kindly write to us,

US Department of Transportation Aviation

Consumer Protection Division/C-75400

7th Street, SW

Washington, D.C. 20590



Kindly visit the Aviation Consumer Protection Division website.

US Department of Transportation (DOT) Disability Hotline

If you have experienced time-sensitive, disability-related air travel service problems that require immediate attention, you may call 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY) for assistance. This hotline is available from 07:00 to 17:00 hours EST, Monday through Friday.

Get more information on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.