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Disability Assistance

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Here you will find all the important information, you need on travel by air of persons with disabilities or persons with reduced mobility.

Persons with Disabilities or Persons with Reduced Mobility

When incapacitated passengers travel, every effort is made to make their journey comfortable and all necessary arrangements are made in advance, in order to facilitate them

Incapacitated passengers shall be defined as those with a physical disability or a neurological disorder or with a medical condition, who require individual attention or assistance on em planing / deplaning, during the flight and during ground handling, which is normally not extended to other passengers. this requirement will be apparent from special requests made by the passenger or by their family or by a medical authority at the time of making a booking


Irrespective of their physical or medical condition, incapacitated passengers are categorized into various groups. these groups are identified in airline messages by AIRIMP codes, such as :

Codes Details
WCHR Wheelchair-R for ramp (passenger can ascend/descend steps and walk to the seat)
WCHS Wheelchair-S for steps (passenger unable to ascend/descend steps but able to walk to the seat)
WCHC Wheelchair-C for cabin seat (passenger completely immobile)
STCR Stretcher passenger
BLND Blind passenger (specify if accompanied by seeing-eye dog)
DEAF Deaf passenger
MEDA Medical Case (Medical clearance required)
OXYG Needing oxygen during flight
LEGL Left Leg-in cast
LEGR Right leg-in cast
LEGB Both Legs in cast



In keeping with the requirement of air safety, the carriage of wheelchair passengers is restricted on our flights as follows :

  • Passengers are requested to pre-book wheelchairs at the time of flight booking / ticket issuance to avoid last minute delays / non availability of wheelchairs.
  • Only ten will be carried per flight, on all flights operating to/from the west of India (including the non-stop flights)
  • Only six will be carried per flight, on all flights operating to/from the east of India

The objective of this restriction is primarily, the safety of all passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation.

Air-India may refuse to carry passengers under the following conditions :

  • When the physical or medical condition of a passenger poses a threat to the safety of other passengers and their property, the aircraft or the crew
  • Passenger who refuses or does not submit himself to the specific conditions of carriage of Air-India
  • When persons traveling in a stretcher or incubator, persons with severe immobility impairment, persons with severe hearing or vision impairment, unless accompanied by an escort, who will be responsible for them and their needs on enplaning, deplaning, during the flight and during emergency evacuation
  • Person who may be a source of infection and in the case of certain diseases discomfort to other passengers

Charges for Wheelchairs

Requests generally received for wheelchair assistance are from the following categories of passengers :

  • Non-ambulatory i.e. passengers totally dependent on wheelchairs
  • Ambulatory i.e. passengers who can walk with assistance
  • Aged passengers

In order not to violate the civil rights of passengers with disabilities, for a barrier free environment, no charges will be levied for the use of wheelchairs at all airports for passengers traveling in any class.

Mobility Assistance at the Airport and In-Flight

If you need mobility assistance to help you through the airport, please request it once you have made your booking, so that the service can be provided.

If you already have a booking with Air India, you can request mobility assistance through the Booking Office from where you have done your booking/ticketing.


In order to facilitate passengers requiring wheelchair assistance at the airport, Air India ensures that :

  • Wheelchair requests are adequately recorded and confirmed in the SSR element for each segment of the Air-India and interline journey
  • At the time of check-in, the appropriate inputs are made in the system to ensure that same is reflected on the PIL e.g. WCHR, WCHC, WCHS for the information and action by cabin crew
  • Disabled passengers are boarded first and deplaned last in order not to interfere with movement of other passengers
  • Disabled passengers are conveniently seated close to the toilet and on the aisle
  • The Commander and the Cabin Crew are fully briefed on all such cases including their medical history, if any, to enable the Cabin Crew to provide every assistance on-board
  • A special escort is provided to assist in clearance of all government formalities
  • After departure, messages are sent to all en-route stations and destination to assist passengers in transit and on arrival
  • On arrival, passengers are assisted in deplaning and an escort provided up to the baggage hall or the connecting carrier in the event of an onward connection
  • Physically challenged passengers, e.g., passengers with impaired vision, expectant mothers etc., are provided with assistance through all government formalities, on departure and arrival

Medical Clearance Not Required

Medical clearance or special forms are not required for Incapacitated Passengers, who only require special assistance at the airport or at the time of embarking or disembarking.

For those passengers, who are permanently or chronically incapacitated and do not need medical clearance but may only require assistance, in order to facilitate their travel, the Medical Department of any carrier may issue a Frequent Travelers’ Medical Card (FREMEC).

When such cards issued by the medical authority of any Carrier are presented within the validity, they may be accepted for travel as a medical clearance.

Medical Clearance Required

The following passengers will be subject to clearance from the Air India Medical Services Department and the Medical Department/Advisers of all other interline carriers involved in the transportation of the passenger. Airlines can deny transportation to passengers needing medical clearance unless they meet the requirements of the carrier/s involved in the transportation.

  • Any disease which is believed to be contagious and communicable
  • Certain diseases or incapacitation which could develop into an unusual behavior or physical condition which may have adverse effect on the welfare and comfort of other passengers
  • Could be a potential hazard to the safety of the flight (including the possibility of a diversion and unscheduled landing)
  • Could require medical attention and special equipment to maintain their health during the flight
  • Might have a medical condition which could be aggravated during the flight

For such Incapacitated Passengers requiring Medical Assistance, an information sheet must be filled-up containing all information on the medical assistance required by the passenger, at the time of booking (agents office or an airline office). Where it is determined that a medical clearance is required, the passenger must take a MEDIF Form, which is required to be completed by their attending doctor. The completed form must be forwarded to the Air India Medical Services Department for necessary clearance. On receipt of clearance to travel from the Medical Department and that of the other participating carriers, the booking may be effected and the PNR completed.

Passengers, who require continuous supply of oxygen, are not booked on the long haul non-stop flights, due to limited uplift of oxygen for the complete duration of the flight.

Acceptance of Interline Wheelchair Cases

Subject to rules and conditions, all IATA Members participate in interline transaction concerning the carriage of incapacitated passengers. Air India ensures that the participating carrier in the transportation have specifically agreed to participate in the carriage of such passengers, prior to acceptance.

Availability of Wheelchairs and other Assertive Devices

Air India ensures that :

  • Sufficient wheelchairs are available for boarding/disembarking passengers. However, Passengers are requested to pre-book wheelchairs at the time of flight booking / ticket issuance to avoid last minute delays / non availability of wheelchairs.
  • Passengers traveling with their own wheelchair or assertive devices may carry the same in the passenger cabin, on request, subject to availability of space. Alternatively, the wheelchair or assertive devices should be loaded in the baggage hold where it is easily accessible for timely return to the passenger
  • Passengers, who intend to check-in their own wheelchair, are given the option of using the airline/airport wheelchair. If the passenger wishes to use his own wheelchair at the airport he may be permitted to do so, up to the aircraft door. The wheelchair duly tagged, must then be sent for loading in the hold
  • Narrow wheelchair-type devices without arm rests are available in the passenger cabin for assistance on-board

Stretcher Cases

A request for a stretcher must be made in advance and shall be strictly subject to space availability. Where Interline travel on other airlines is involved, advance arrangements with the carrier is necessary regarding confirmation on special meals, medicines, oxygen, ambulance and other requirements.

Only one stretcher is accepted per flight in Economy class. No stretcher is carried in First and Executive class.

Stretcher cases are accepted only after clearance from the Medical Services Dept. and confirmation of the quantity of oxygen to be carried will be determined by the Chief Medical Officer.

The MEDIF Forms are required to be filled-in for clearance, and may be obtained from any Air India Offices.

The MEDIF Form is an IATA approved document and lists the minimum information to be provided to the airline, for carriage of invalid passengers. We are free to ask for additional information or clarifications, if required for carriage of such passengers. The MEDIF Form is to be completely filled up by the passenger or his authorized representative, in case the passenger is unable to do so. While the part of information caters to travel details and the services requested for in-flight or intermediate sessions, an important aspect of MEDIF is to be filled up by the physician in charge of the invalid passenger and provides information about the clinical condition of the passenger. It is mandatory to complete the MEDIF including the treating physician’s certification and the undertaking/passenger declaration at the end of the MEDIF. Importantly the passenger/representative must sign the MEDIF requesting for air travel.

MEDIF Forms need to be filled up every time an invalid passenger travels by commercial airlines and clearance is valid for a particular flight and date.

The MEDIF Form duly completed must be forwarded to The Medical Officer, Medical Services Department, Old Airport, Kalina, Santa Cruz (East), Mumbai – 400 029. FAX No.: 2615 7174 (at least minimum 3 days in advance for stretcher cases and minimum 24 hours for wheelchair cases requiring medical clearance).

Categories of Passengers Requiring MEDIF

Broadly, any passenger who needs special assistance/facilitation by the airline due to health grounds should request the airline reservations to provide information and the necessary form that i.e. MEDIF to travel as a medical case. A passenger with the following medical/health condition will need to fill-in a MEDIF Form.

  • Passenger who needs a stretcher or incubator on-board the aircraft
  • Passenger whose medical condition requires additional oxygen supply on-board the aircraft as recommended by their treating physician
  • Passenger who requires an extra space to accommodate leg elevation
  • Passenger who requires use of medical equipment on-board the aircraft

Ideally, MEDIF should be forwarded by the invalid passenger/his representative based on the passenger’s latest medical status, on the recommendation of the treating physician, not later than 14 days prior to the date of commencement of travel.

Invalid passengers with a permanent disability which are fully established and unlikely to progress in the future need not fill-up the MEDIF every time they undertake air travel on Air-India. They can request the Medical Services Department, Mumbai, for issuance of a FREMEC Card (Frequent Travelers’ Medical Card) which is issued free of charge.

The FREMEC Card has a specified period of validity, depending on the disability.

Mentally Challenged Passengers

Acceptance of Mentally Challenged Passengers.

  • Mentally Challenged passengers are not accepted without a suitable attendant.
  • The trained attendant must carry the treating physician's certificate along with a prescription for an injectable sedative medicine which may be required to be administered by the attendant, prior to commencement of travel or as may be required en-route.
  • The attendant must be briefed that no Cabin Crew will be specially assigned to look after the mentally challenged passenger.

Acceptance of Passengers with Impaired Vision/Seeing- Eye Dog

  • A dog trained to lead the blind, which accompanies the passenger with impaired vision will not be carried unless proper permits are obtained for entry into the country or territory of destination and countries of transit, where such permits are required
  • All permits are required to be presented at the time of reservation
  • The dog must be properly harnessed and muzzled
  • The dog may be carried in the passenger cabin or in the hold depending upon the individual country’s regulations as well as size of the dog
  • The dog shall not be permitted to occupy a seat
  • The dog will be carried free of charge in addition to the normal free baggage allowance
  • If any country or territory on the route prohibits the entry of dogs, carriage will be refused
  • All formalities required by the government authorities at the destination/transit stations are complied with
  • On long haul and non-stop flights, Pets/Dog in the passenger compartment or hold is not permitted

US Rule for Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability

Air India is covered by this rule for any flight that begins or ends at an US Airport.

An accessible copy of the rule can also be obtained from the US Department of Transport using the following methods :

  • 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
  • On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division’s Web Site:http://www.dot.gov/airconsumerLink Icon
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