Passengers with Disabilities and Special Needs

AirTran Airways strives to ensure all our passengers receive Caring Customer Service and enjoy a pleasant travel experience. For passengers with disabilities or special needs, we offer a variety of services to assist you. For more details, please review the information here, or call us to speak directly with an AirTran Airways representative at 1-800-AIR-TRAN (1-800-247-8726) or, in the Atlanta area, please call 678-254-7999 between 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

On this page you will find information about:

Booking Your Reservation

If making your flight reservation through one of our reservation centers, please advise the Crew Member booking your travel of any request(s) you may have for assistance.

When booking online, after receiving confirmation, please call one of our reservations Crew Members, provide your confirmation number and advise the type of assistance you are requesting. They will be glad to document your record appropriately.

Again, our reservation centers can be reached by calling 1-800-AIR-TRAN (1-800-247-8726) or, in the Atlanta area, please call 678-254-7999 between 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You are not required to advise us of any special needs you may have prior to travel. However, it is beneficial, as your request(s) can then be more readily accommodated. We welcome advance notice if the passenger will:

  • Require a wheelchair
  • Need assistance making a connection
  • Need assistance to the baggage claim area
  • Need assistance getting in and out of the aircraft seat
  • Travel with a personal care attendant and require adjacent seating
  • Be traveling with a service animal
  • Need assistance due to specific disability
  • Be traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator
  • Need any other special services provided by AirTran Airways

Pre-reserved Seating

AirTran Airways offers advance seat assignment to any self-identifying passenger with a disability. We recommend you indicate your seating preference when you make your reservation, e.g., bulkhead, left aisle, right aisle, etc.

Southwest Airlines offers priority preboarding for those who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device. If a customer has a disability and is requesting a seating preference on their Southwest Airlines segment, the customer should request a blue preboarding sleeve from the Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. The sleeve serves as notification to the Southwest Airlines Operations (Boarding) Agent that the customer has a need to preboard. It’s important to keep in mind that customers who preboard may not occupy an exit seat. Customers with disabilities who have any other special needs related to boarding should speak with the Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent at the departure gate.

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For customers with a disability traveling with a personal care attendant, seats can be arranged side by side. For passengers who have limited mobility, there are seats with moveable aisle armrests. If you have a fixed or immobilized leg or you are traveling with a service animal and desire to be assigned to a bulkhead seat, please advise us when you make your reservation.

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Service Animals
AirTran Airways and Southwest welcomes trained assistance animals on all of our flights. In accordance with federal safety regulations, the animal must be positioned so as not to obstruct customers’ expeditious evacuation in the unlikely event of an emergency. Except when too large to be safely accommodated, a trained assistance animal traveling with and providing assistance to a customer with a disability will be accommodated in the aircraft cabin on the floor in front of or next to the customer with a disability. Please note, some destinations may have quarantine laws that prohibit or restrict entry of these animals. Your reservation agent or travel agent can help you check regulations for your destination.

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Emotional Support Animals

Animals used for a customer’s emotional support are accepted in the cabin. Please note, some destinations may have quarantine laws that prohibit or restrict entry of these animals. Your reservation agent or travel agent can help you check regulations for your destination. In order for a customer to travel with an emotional support animal, the customer must provide to an AirTran Airways Crew Member current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the customer’s mental health-related disability stating:

  • The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM IV).
  • The passenger needs the emotional support of psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination.
  • The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care.
  • The date and type of mental health professional’s or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

Assistance and emotional support animals must be trained to behave in a public setting. Customers traveling with an assistance animal or an emotional support animal cannot sit in an emergency exit seat.

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Medications

We suggest that all medication be packed in carryon luggage. If a customer’s carryon must be checked because of space constraints, we suggest the customer remove the medication from the bag and keep it with him/her.

While Flight Attendants will assist the customer as best they can, the Flight Attendants will not physically administer a customers’ medication. If this type of care is needed during the flight, the customer may want to consider traveling with a ticketed attendant.

Needles/syringes used to inject medications are permitted past the security checkpoint as long as the customer has in his/her possession the medication that requires the use of a needle/syringe.

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Portable Oxygen Concentrators

AirTran Airways accepts the following FAA-approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs) for onboard transport and use(Ref: 14 C.F.R. 121 SFAR No. 106):

  • AirSep Focus
  • AirSep FreeStyle
  • AirSep FreeStyle 5
  • AirSep LifeStyle
  • Delphi RS-00400
  • DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
  • Inogen One
  • Inogen One G2
  • Inogen One G3
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice
  • Inova Labs LifeChoice Activox
  • International Biophysics LifeChoice
  • Invacare SOLO2
  • Invacare XPO2
  • Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
  • Oxus RS-00400
  • Precision Medical EasyPulse
  • Respironics EverGo
  • Respironics SimplyGo
  • SeQual Eclipse
  • SeQual eQuinox Oxygen System (model 4000)
  • SeQual Oxywell Oxygen System (model 4000)
  • SeQual SAROS
  • VBOX Trooper Oxygen Concentrator

Portable Oxygen Concentrators assist passengers with breathing by separating oxygen from the normal air supply in order to increase or concentrate the amount of oxygen that a person breathes.

  • A POC is considered an assistive device and is permitted in addition to the free baggage allowance.
  • A POC may be carried on-board for use in the cabin or transported as checked luggage
  • Carry enough fully-charged batteries to power the device for at least 150% of the expected flight duration, including all ground time (between connections).
  • All batteries must be transported in carry-on baggage, and must be packed in a manner that protects them from physical damage and short-circuits.
  • Aircraft electrical plugs are not available for use with any electronic device.
  • A window seat is the preferred location for a customer using a POC during flight.
  • A Customer who needs to use an approved POC onboard the aircraft must present a statement from his/her physician. The statement must include the following information and be drafted on the physician’s letterhead:
    • Whether the user is able to operate the device and recognize and respond appropriately to its alarms (if not, a companion capable of performing these functions must travel with the user).
    • The phases of flight (taxi, takeoff, in air, landing) during which use of the device is medically necessary.
    • The maximum flow rate corresponding to the pressure in the cabin under normal operating conditions.
    • Dated within one year of departure date.
  • It is encouraged that you call the reservation center in advance of your travel date to inform AirTran that you will be traveling with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator — 1-800-AIR-TRAN (1-800-247-8726).
  • At the airport, inform the AirTran Airways Customer Service Crew Member that you are traveling with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator. Please present a statement from your physician upon check-in at the airport.
  • AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines will refuse to transport a customer requiring the following medical equipment or services, which are not authorized or cannot be accommodated on AirTran Airways’ aircraft:
    • Medical oxygen for use on board the aircraft,
    • Incubators, respirators/ventilators that must receive power from the aircraft’s electrical power supply, or
    • Persons who must travel on a stretcher.

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Medical Portable Electronic Devices, M-PEDs

In addition to FAA approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs), customers are permitted to use FAA approved and labeled ventilators, respirators or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines (collectively referred to as Medical Portable Electronic Devices, M-PEDs) during flight. Non-FAA approved M-PEDs may be carried onboard, but may not be used during flight.

  • Ventilators, respirators, and CPAP machines are considered assistive devices and will be permitted in addition to the standard baggage and carry-on allowance.
    • Ventilators — A ventilator is a machine designed to mechanically move breathable air into and out of the lungs. A ventilator provides the mechanism of breathing for a patient who is physically unable to breathe or breathe sufficiently.
    • Respirators — A respirator is a filtering device worn over the mouth and nose, used to protect the respiratory tract from harmful dust, fumes, vapors and/or gases. They can be air-purifying, which forces contaminated air through a filter element, or air-supplied, in which an alternate supply of fresh air is delivered.
    • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines — A CPAP machine was initially used by patients for the treatment of sleep apnea at home. It is now in widespread use as a form of ventilation.
  • All brands of M-PEDs are accepted as carry-on baggage.
  • All non-FAA approved M-PEDs must be in the off position and stowed during flight.
  • Passengers should carry enough fully-charged batteries to power an FAA approved device throughout the entire trip, including all ground time (between connections), the duration of the flight, and for any unexpected delays.
  • All batteries must be transported in carry-on baggage, and must be packed in a manner that protects them from physical damage and short-circuits.
  • Aircraft electrical plugs are not available for use with any electronic device.
  • Passengers using an M-PED cannot be seated in exit row or bulkhead row seats.

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Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Assistive Devices

  • Wheelchairs — AirTran Airways accepts and transports most wheelchairs, including folding, collapsible, non-folding manual, and electric/battery-powered wheelchairs, as well as electric-powered carts.

    Each aircraft operated by AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines has room for one collapsible wheelchair onboard, and space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, some wheelchairs can collapse to fit in the overhead bin or underneath a seat.

    Non-collapsible and electric wheelchairs are accepted as checked baggage. You may check your wheelchair at the ticket counter or gate, and we will return it to you when your flight lands, either at the gate or baggage claim, as you specify.

    If you are traveling with a power wheelchair, in the event that we need to prepare your wheelchair for stowage, we may ask that you relinquish your power wheelchair up to an hour in advance of departure. In that case, you will be transferred to an airport wheelchair until boarding begins. Power wheelchairs and scooters will be securely stowed in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. AirTran recommends that all removable parts of the wheelchair be stowed in the overhead bins.

    • Wet Cell (Spillable) Batteries

      If your wheelchair/scooter is powered by a wet cell battery, the battery will be removed and placed in a protective battery box, as required by federal HAZMAT safety regulations. It would be most helpful for the customer to label the battery cables with corresponding colored tape or provide detailed disconnection and reconnection directions so that the agents at the destination city can quickly and easily reconnect the battery to the wheelchair. You may bring one “spare” wet cell battery for each battery needed to operate your wheelchair. Those batteries will also be packaged in a protective battery box.

    • Dry Cell (Nonspillable) Batteries

      If your wheelchair/scooter is powered by a nonspillable battery, we will ensure the battery is secured and will not remove the battery. If the device does not have an effective means of preventing unintentional activation (key turned to “off” and removed, on/off switch in the “off” position, quick disconnection of the joystick, etc.), the battery must be disconnected and the battery terminals protected from short circuit. In these cases, if the customer can provide disconnect directions or label the corresponding cables, our agents can easily reconnect the battery and return the assistive device more quickly at the customer’s destination. We do not limit the number of “spare” nonspillable batteries a customer may check in.

    • Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Batteries

      If your wheelchair/scooter is powered by a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, Southwest must be able to access the battery to determine that it is approved for transportation. The Li-ion battery must show no signs of any defects or damage. Your assistive device must be transported as checked baggage. If the Li-ion battery is securely attached and protected from short-circuit by being fully enclosed in the device’s battery housing, the battery may remain installed and there is no limit to battery size on these types of devices. If not, the battery must be removed and transported separately as checked baggage.

      If your device is specifically designed to allow its battery to be easily removed (i.e. a collapsible scooter, etc.), there is a battery size limit. The battery must be removed, protected from short circuit, and carried onboard to be stowed in the cabin. The battery’s size in watt-hours must be displayed on the battery, or the battery should be labeled with its voltage and amp-hour (or milliamp-hour) ratings to allow for size calculation (see formula below) if needed. Any spare batteries must be transported as carryon baggage with the battery terminals protected to prevent short circuit. A single spare battery may be transported, as long as its size does not exceed 300 watt-hours. Two spare batteries may be carried provided that each battery is not over 160 watt-hours in size.

      Some Li-ion batteries do not display the watt-hour rating on the battery label. The following formulas may be used to determine the watt-hours rating for your Lithium-ion battery:

      • If the battery lists the Amp-hour rating, use this formula:
        • Volts (V) x Amp-hours (Ah) = Watt-hours (Wh)
        • Example for a single battery: 10 volts multiplied by 24 Amp-hours = 240 watt-hours
        • The 240 watt-hours are below the 300 watt-hour limit for a single battery, so your battery would be allowed.
      • If the battery lists the Milliamp-hour rating, use this formula instead:
        • Volts (V) x Milliamp-hours (mAh) ÷ 1000 = Watt-hours (Wh)
        • Example for a single battery: 10 volts multiplied by 24,000 Milliamp-hours ÷ 1,000 = 240 watt-hours
        • The 240 watt-hours are below the 300 watt-hour limit for a single battery, so your battery would be allowed.
  • Carry-On Assistive Devices — Canes, walkers, and other assistive devices capable of being collapsed small enough to fit in overhead bins or underneath a seat are welcome inside the cabin and will not count toward your carry-on limit.

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Airport Assistance

  • Airport Courtesy Wheelchair Assistance — Courtesy wheelchair service is available at the airport to transport you to your departure gate and during your connection, if applicable. Please let us know if you will need this assistance when making your reservation. (Although you can arrange to claim your chair at the connecting city, we recommend that it be checked through to your final destination. The additional time required to claim and re-Check your chair at the connecting city may compromise your ability to make your connection.)

    It is also a good idea to remind the airport agent that you will need a wheelchair or other mobility assistance at your destination or connecting city. Although not required, advance notice and confirmation of arrangements helps us to provide you with timely service.
  • Airport Electric Carts — Some airports offer electric carts to assist customers. These vehicles are available for all customers and may not be pre-reserved.
  • Hearing Disabilies — If you have a hearing disability, please advise an AirTran Airways agent so that they may alert you to important information. Additionally, airports feature signage designed to help you navigate the airport. There are also Departure and Arrival screens throughout the airport and information displays behind each gate counter.
  • Vision Disabilities — If you have a vision disability, Please advise an AirTran Airways agent so they may assist you. Whether you would like a courtesy wheelchair, prefer arm assistance or directions only, you can request this when making your reservation or you may request it at the airport.

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Access Beyond Security Checkpoint

AirTran Airways allows access to the gate with unaccompanied minors or passengers requiring assistance, or pick up such passengers arriving at the airport, by obtaining a gate pass at the AirTran Airways Ticket Counter. In order to obtain a gate pass, the reservation record must be documented with the customer’s name by a reservationist at the time of booking, indicating a gate pass will be needed. Please allow enough time before departure or arrival to obtain the gate pass.

Southwest Airlines offers Non-Passenger Escort (NPE) passes to people who are accompanying or meeting a customer with a disability to/at the customer’s gate. NPE authorization should be requested from a Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent at our ticket counter or Skycap podium. Please advise the Agent that you need to accompany/meet a Southwest passenger to/at the gate to accommodate the passenger’s disability. You will need to present photo identification and a copy of the customer’s itinerary. We recommend arrive at the airport terminal in enough time so that you have plenty of time to park, wait in line to receive a NPE pass, go through the security checkpoint, and get to the gate.

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Boarding Assistance

If you would like pre-boarding assistance on your AirTran Airways flights due to a disability, please advise the AirTran Airways agent. The agent will help you pre-board, allowing you to be seated prior to general boarding.

If your travel involves a segment operated by Southwest Airlines, priority preboarding is available for those who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device. If a customer has a disability and requires preboarding, the customer should request a blue preboarding sleeve from the Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. The sleeve serves as notification to the Southwest Airlines Operations (Boarding) Agent that the customer has a need to preboard. It’s important to keep in mind that customers who preboard may not occupy an exit seat. Customers with disabilities who have any other special needs related to boarding should speak with our Customer Service Agent at the departure gate.

Customers traveling to, from, or through Bermuda, BM (BDA), Key West, FL (EYW), and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) stations board and deplane our aircraft via stairs, as the airport is not equipped with jetbridges. Customers who are unable or have difficulty climbing stairs will be assisted with boarding and deplaning by use of a mechanical lift.

Aircraft Accessibility

Moveable Aisle Armrests - All AirTran Airways aircraft have a selection of seats with moveable armrests for easier access to seats for passengers with special needs.

Lavatories - With America’s youngest all Boeing fleet, our lavatories are equipped to provide many accessibility features. Consistent with single aisle aircraft requirements, our onboard wheelchair is available to assist to or from the lavatory entry.

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Inflight Services

Safety Briefings - individual safety briefings are given to any customer upon request. Included in the briefing is an explanation of exit locations.

Stowage of Carry-On Items - Assistance with loading and retrieval of carry-on items and small assistive devices stowed aboard the aircraft is furnished upon request.

Onboard Wheelchair - flight attendants will provide assistance to customers in getting from their seats to the aircraft lavatory and back during flight by using the onboard wheelchair. Every jet aircraft has a collapsible chair available, custom-designed for onboard use. Customers must be semi-ambulatory and able to transfer themselves into and out of these chairs.

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Peanut Allergies

AirTran does not serve peanuts on its flights. As some of our other snack items may contain peanut particles, peanut oil or have been packaged in a peanut facility, customers who have allergic reactions to eating/ingesting peanuts should read the ingredients on any packaged snack before consumption.

In addition, other customers may bring peanut snacks onboard, and residue from such snacks may be present from a previous flight. Passengers with allergic reactions to peanut dust and oil should consider wiping down their seat area upon boarding to remove any possible residue.

Southwest Airlines segments include complimentary peanuts and pretzels as part of onboard service. For more information please view Southwest Airlines policy regarding Peanut Allergies.

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Your Rights

AirTran Airways policies and procedures are developed in accordance with 14 CFR Part 382, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel. Every airport is staffed with trained Complaints Resolution Officials (CROs) who have received training and are knowledgeable of the regulations ensuring accessible travel for customers with disabilities. You have the right to request to speak with a CRO, and we will promptly provide a CRO either in person or over the telephone.

You may also obtain a copy of Part 382 from the Department of Transportation by any of the most convenient means:

  • For calls made from within the United States, by telephone via the Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY),
  • By telephone to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY),
  • By mail to the Air Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Room W96-432, Washington, DC 20590, and
  • On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division’s Web site (airconsumer.ost.dot.gov):

Download Part 382 in PDF format.

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Traveling on Southwest Airlines

Learn more about services and accommodations for customers with disabilities traveling on Southwest Airlines.

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