Travelling with Special Needs

Travelling with Special Needs to or from the US

Air India strives to provide the best possible assistance to all its travellers to make your journey convenient and comfortable. Air India will not refuse travel to any individual on grounds of a disability. You can contact your local Air India office if you need to speak to someone about requesting special services for your disability.

Pre-travel Assistance

We recommend that you call us at least 72 hours before your flight on 1-212-407-1456 between 0900 and 1700 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 reservation agents are happy to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have.

Assistance at the Airport and in Flight

At Airport

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

In Flight

We will do our best to assign you a seat that is 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 on-board aisle wheelchair on all our flights to assist passengers with transportation to and from the restrooms. Please note that crew cannot assist passengers in the restroom.

Traveling with your own Wheelchair or Assistive Device

If you are traveling with your own wheelchair, scooter, Segway, or any other assistive device, please call us with the height and weight information at least 48 hours prior to your journey so that we can make the necessary arrangements. We also request that you come to the airport one hour prior to 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.

Air India accepts assistive devices with batteries as checked baggage as well as cabin luggage. Assistive devices with batteries include respirators, CPAP machines (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine), portable oxygen concentrators (POC), and ventilators. We will allow individuals with a disability who are 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.

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 to any connecting flights, and upon arrival to the baggage collection area at the destination.

Air India accepts both spillable and non-spillable batteries if they are properly labelled and clearly 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 traveling in a stretcher
  • Cannot assist in their own evacuation during an emergency
  • Cannot communicate or respond to the crew regarding safety matters
  • Cannot comprehend safety instructions due to diminished mental capacity

Kindly note that the crew will not be able to help travellers with eating, administering of medication, or assist 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 Air India before the date of travel so we can make the necessary arrangements. If you cannot pre-book, any airport employee will be happy to assist. 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 prior to the date of travel so that we can make any necessary arrangements. If you cannot pre-book, an Air India employee 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
  • Traveling with service/assistance animal

Visually Impaired Travellers with a Guide Dog

A dog trained to lead and accompany travellers with impaired vision will not be carried unless proper permits are obtained for entry into the country or territory of destination and countries of transit, where such permits are required. You are required to present all permits at the time of reservation.

The dog must be properly harnessed and muzzled. The dog may be carried in the cabin or in 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 normal free baggage allowance. Please make sure you comply with all formalities required by the government authorities at the destination/transit stations.

Reporting Disability-Related Issues via US Department of Transportation (DOT)

Complaint Resolution Official (CRO)

If you encounter problems while travelling on Air India, please feel free to ask any crew member or ground staff for a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO).

Our CRO’s 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 CRO’s are available during operating hours at all our U.S. stations. If you feel that Air India has 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:

U.S. 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 0700 to 1700 hours EST, Monday through Friday.

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