American Airlines

Overview of American Airlines’ Wheelchair Accessibility Process and Policy

American Airlines’ wheelchair accessibility process and policy is to typically move people with mobility impairments to the bulkhead seating area. This usually means there is more leg room, both for comfort and for lifting from the aisle chair.

I have taken American Airlines on several long-haul flights (including a 17-hour non-stop flight from LAX to Sydney, Australia) and found their seats relatively comfortable for the entire duration. American Airlines has also provided me the bulkhead seat on only a few hours of advance notice–e.g., we missed our original flight due to the ramp getting stuck on a wheelchair taxi, and American Airlines sold us the ticket and moved us to the bulkhead section within a few hours of departure.

American Airlines’ Special Assistance website contains their policy, helpful resources, and contact information. You can call the Special Assistance team at (800) 237-7976 or send them an electronic message.

Booking Wheelchair Accessible Services and Seats

American Airlines’ wheelchair accessibility process is a combination of automated information and contacting their Special Assistance team:

  • I go to, and find my preferred flights.
  • During the “passenger detail” page, there are options to notify American Airlines of the assistance needed. By clicking on the “+ Add special assistance,” a pop-up will appear where I can add additional information about the assistance I need and the type of wheelchair I am bringing on my trip.
    • This information can also be updated or added by signing into your American Airlines’ account and managing your trip on their website.
  • After I add all of my special assistance requirements, I complete the checkout process and purchase my tickets.
  • I then have a few options for seat assignments:
    • My preferred method is to call the American Airlines’ Special Assistance team at (800) 237-7976. They can immediately help with seating assignments, including moving my companion and me to the bulkhead and arranging for an aisle chair.
      • Tip: I typically have open the “Choose your seat” option for my flight, accessible by managing my trip at I will also typically lookup the type of plane on which I am scheduled to travel on SeatGuru, which helps show any issues with the seats (e.g., close to bathroom, last seat with no recline). Both resources help me find the most accessible seat options for my flight.
    • American Airlines also has a feature for submitting a written request to the Special Assistance team. This option can be easier as it avoids hold times on calls, but will receive a slower response than calling. You may still also end up with a call if the team has follow-up questions.
    • American Airlines’ Special Assistance team is supposed to also call me if I select that I need accessible services when I purchase my ticket. The timing on this call varies, but has been a few days after booking my tickets. I opt to not wait for this option–I like getting my seats reserved immediately, as well as controlling when I contact them (as opposed to missing their calls and having to call back).

Other Relevant Information

The process at the airportsecuritygetting on the planeon the plane, and getting off the plane are generally the same as other airlines.

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