Wheelchair Accessibility of Delta Air Lines

Overview of Delta’s Wheelchair Accessibility Features

Delta Air Lines’ wheelchair accessibility process and policies include typically assigning people with mobility impairments to the Comfort+ cabin, which has extra leg room, dedicated overhead bins, and free alcoholic drinks/upgraded snacks. These seats typically sell for considerably more than the Basic cabin, so the accessible seats are an upgrade. This can be particularly nice on long-haul or international flights. I typically fly Delta a few times per year, and have taken them internationally.

Note: Delta does not give SkyMiles for Basic cabin tickets–you have to purchase Main cabin or higher to obtain frequent flier miles. I have received SkyMiles when I purchased a Basic ticket and was moved to Comfort+ for accessible seats, but my companion who was moved with me on the same flight did not receive SkyMiles for the same ticket (and Delta confirmed this was the case).

My experience is that Delta’s seats have less padding than other airlines (and less from what Delta used to have). This makes longer flights uncomfortable and heightens the risk for skin breakdown. As such, I typically bring an extra seat cushion or a piece of neoprene that we put down on my seat before I get transferred onto it from the aisle chair. Anything to add a little extra cushion helps.

Disability seat assignments are best requested by calling (404) 209-3434. I have had extremely varied wait times–sometimes I get right through, and other times I’ve been on hold for 1-2 hours. I try to call earlier in the day to avoid wait times, but that’s not a guarantee.

Other accessible services can be requested via the Delta app or by using the MyTrips feature on the www.delta.com website. Delta’s accessibility webpage has relevant contact information and overviews of Delta’s wheelchair accessibility process and policies.

Booking Wheelchair Accessible Services and Seats

Delta Air Lines’ wheelchair accessibility process and policies for arranging accessible services and seats occurs after booking tickets:

  1. I go to www.delta.com and purchase my tickets.
  2. After purchasing tickets, I call Delta’s Accessibility Services team at (404) 209-3434.
    • This team will help move my companion and me to the Comfort+ seats. I can typically choose any seats that are still open, so calling as soon as possible gives the best chance for more accessible seats.
      • Before I call, I go to http://www.delta.com, go into MyTrips, and pull up the seat assignment options for my flight. This gives me a seating chart of the plane that I can look at when I am talking to the agent, and can see the layout of the plane (3×3 or 2x4x2 seat patterns) and in real-time what seats are still open.
      • I will also typically lookup the type of plane on which I am scheduled to travel on Seat Guru, which helps show any issues with the seats (e.g., close to bathroom, last seat with no recline).
    • I also ask the team to note on the computer system that I need an aisle chair and 3 people for the lift. I’m not sure the notes for the number of people actually makes it to the gate agent, but it doesn’t hurt.
    • The team will also ask for the measurements (length x width x height), weight, and type of batteries the scooter/wheelchair uses. You should have that information ready, and can also search ahead of time to make sure the scooter/wheelchair will fit on the plane.
    • Before hanging up with the team, I check my e-mail and MyTrips for the confirmation that my seats have been changed and that the aisle chair was requested.
  3. I can also request/confirm the aisle chair and inform the airline that I will bring my own wheelchair by going to the upcoming travel under the MyTrips page on the Delta website.
  4. Before I get to the airport, Delta asks that you fill out the Mobility Device Handling Form as well as print and attach any special instructions for moving or loading the wheelchair/scooter. If you forget to do so, the ticket counter agent or gate agent will print it for you.

Note: Like most airlines, Delta provides a 24-hour free cancellation. As such, I recommend booking the desired flight and then shortly thereafter calling to set up accessible seats and services. If there are any accessibility issues, you can change or cancel your flight with no issues (e.g., issues with cancellation fees, which may or may not be waived).

Other Relevant Information

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

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