Flying can present challenges for passengers with disabilities, whether physical or hidden, making the experience stressful or even painful. The airline industry is dedicated to enhancing air travel accessibility, ensuring a safe, reliable, and dignified journey is accessible to everyone. 

Airlines and airports are actively collaborating with the accessibility community to make flying hassle-free for all passengers. Our commitment is to transform air travel into an inclusive, barrier-free experience for those with special travel needs.

Airline Industry's Goal on Air Travel Accessibility


Hear Linda Ristagno, IATA’s Assistant Director External Affairs, on the airline industry’s goal to achieve equal access to air travel for everyone, including passengers with physical or hidden disabilities.

Guidance for Airlines: Transport of Battery-Powered Wheelchair and Mobility Aid Guidance


The Guidance on the Transport of Mobility Aids supports airlines in accepting and transporting battery-powered wheelchairs and mobility aids safely and efficiently. It includes details that passengers need to provide to airlines in order to ensure battery-powered mobility aid can be accepted and loaded onto the aircraft. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

IATA Positions on Passenger Accessibility

> Fact sheet: Air Transport Accessibility (pdf)

Need for Harmonization of Disability Legislation


We recognize the need to do more. One concern is the varying disability legislation across the globe, causing confusion for passengers with disabilities, difficulties for airlines, and potential safety issues. There is no universal definition of a passenger with disabilities or a consensus on minimum service levels they should expect when flying.

IATA advocates for a joint government and industry approach to meet the needs of passengers with disabilities, ensuring efficient and safe air transport. Working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), IATA is urging states to involve the airline industry in integrating the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD) into national aviation legislation and policies for accessible air travel.

One Person One Fare


“One Person One Fare” (1P1F) suggests that travelers who, due to disabilities or obesity, need extra seats, should only pay for one seat. This might cover an accompanying carer or the need for more space.

Currently, this is not a legal requirement except on certain domestic routes in Canada, though it has been recommended to airlines in some countries.

This issue is complex. A unanimous resolution at IATA’s 75th AGM in 2019 committed IATA members to ensure “passengers with disabilities have access to safe, reliable and dignified travel”. The industry is actively working with the disabilities community to improve air travel for passengers with disabilities.

However, the industry does not support 1P1F on several grounds:

  1. The financial implications for air routes, where the average profit per passenger in 2023 was $2.25, equating to 3-4 seats per flight. Free seats could threaten a flight’s financial viability.
  2. Defining the circumstances requiring two seats for a disabled or obese traveler is challenging and could lead to abuse. Without a global definition, this could create confusion for airlines and passengers.
  3. Under the UN Convention, the principles of proportionality and reasonable steps to ensure equal access for people with disabilities are considered. This is why, for instance, not all metro stations have step-free access due to the disproportionate cost.


Airlines remain committed to working with regulators and travelers with disabilities for proportionate and workable solutions to ensure fair and equal access to air travel.

More on Air Travel Accessibility

Airline Industry Resolution

During the June 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting, global airline leaders unanimously agreed a resolution calling on governments to adopt IATA’s core principles for accommodating passengers with disabilities.

These principles aim to change the focus from disability to accessibility and inclusion by bringing the travel sector together with governments to harmonize regulations and provide the clarity and global consistency that passengers expect.

> Resolution on Disabled Passengers (pdf)
> Fact sheet: Air Transport Accessibility (pdf)

Mobility Aids Action Group

The first of its kind, a global Action Group was launched in 2021 to improve the handling of mobility aids for travelers with disabilities, including wheelchairs.

The Action Group will involve a full range of stakeholders, including organizations representing travelers with disabilities, airlines, ground service providers, airports and mobility aids manufacturers.

> More details through the press release: Airlines Launch new Mobility Aids Action Group

IATA Position on Face-Covering for Passengers with Disabilities

Some passengers including those with no autonomy to put/remove a face mask, small children and those with certain medical conditions may not be able to use masks for a lengthy period. Some governments have published regulations on face mask exemption. Find more on the IATA position paper on face-covering for passengers with disabilities (pdf).