disabled traveler

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Nov 21, 2017
I purchased tickets in coach for my whole family (8) leaving Philly on July 6,2018 to Budapest and returning from Prague on July 19,2018. My daughter Jane Sopher called to reserve seats for her and her very disabled husband Keith (reservation #[deleted by moderator]). She explained that her husband was handicapped and could not maneuver either down the narrow aisles or to a middle seat and therefore requested an end seat close to the front of the coach section. There were many such seats available. Other than location they were the same as the other coach seats but the attendant advised her that there would be an upcharge of $150 per seat per flight for a total of $600. She was forced to accept these terms since her husband could not get to the other seats. It seems that this is certainly discriminating against the handicapped and I would request a refund of the $600.
Last edited by a moderator:


Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
@Ssuellen Poland This maybe a simple case of she asked the wrong person. The air carrier access act has some limitations on what they can or can't charge for. At the same time, if the carrier offered to accommodate him in a "free" seat and she declined, she may not be covered. What airline is it?

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Unfortunately, airlines do charge extra for those seats- they are usually called premium economy seats and everyone pays for them.

You don’t say what airline you used but we have company contacts on top of our page. Find the contacts for the airline you used and have your daughter write to customer service and ask them if the would waive the fees due to the circumstances. Give them a week to reply. If they refuse or you don’t hear back write to the first executive shown. Repeat weekly going up the chain if necessary.

Tell her not to demand- she should politely ask for a favor of waiving the fee.

Also- did you call the airline and request a wheelchair at all stops for him? You must have the reservation marked even if he is bringing his own wheelchair or scooter.

There are hundreds of handicapped passengers who have mobility issues so they can’t make exceptions for everyone- that’s why the email should be polite and acknowledge that you are asking for an exception.

Let us know how your daughter makes out.
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
There are wheelchairs that help passengers down the aisle -- helpful if the aircraft boards through the front (i.e.near cockpit).

I do not think an airline is required to offer "premium" seating-- and bulkhead is often held for infants (bassinet) and those with a service or ESA animal.
Likes: jsn55


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
Although it seems outrageous at first blush, Sueellen, I can understand American's initial response to Jane's request. There are several reasons for that response, none of them having to do with Keith or his disability. Airlines are making a fortune charging for 'better' seats. Everybody and his brother is claiming that they need extra care, whether there's a disability involved or not. An agent on the phone has no authority to override their procedures. I believe that Jane will get her fees refunded ... she just has to explain why it's a legitimate request and politely ask for a refund. It's very possible that the disability assistance department can take care of all this will little fuss. Please keep us updated and have a wonderful trip, both those cities are amazing places to visit.