Seating on Airplane

I am in a wheelchair and will need to be taken onto the plan as such. I can transfer but cannot walk. I am in need of the bulkhead seats in order to move my legs around. I had a dvt and a pulminary embolism a while back. My hematologist wants me to be able to move my legs. Has anyone had trouble or knows how to aquire these setas? I wouldn’t ask for them but this is an over seas trip to Italy.



Make sure that you have a letter from your Dr stating all requirements. Contact the airlines about 2 weeks before you plan to board. This will give time for you and the airline time to plan. Always get an airport helper to get you to and from the plane. When planning, think of every step that you can think of and plan a way to deal with it. Also, 1 hour between flights is not enough for you. We thought we would have plenty of time, but we almost missed the plane. Make sure the gates talk with each other. Find out how many of the planes have wheelchair storage in the cabins. I found one plane that I was on did have one, but it wasn’t used for wheelchairs, the staff used it for their stuff. Decide how you will handle this situation if it comes up. Everyone is different.

Gate checked wheelchairs are always the last off. You use your chair onto the plane then they put it in the hold. When you land they take the luggage off first then your wheelchair. Be sure and secure everything that can be separated or lost. You will be the last one off the plane. You may want to plan for the bathroom, one of their wheelchairs that can get down the isle be on the plane or a catheter might be a good option for you. Talk with your Dr.


I have the same issue and I’m 6’5", so from is important. With Southwest it has never been a problem. I just go to the check-in gate and let the staff know that I need the bulkhead because of a previous DVT and general comfort.

With American, I look up the flights online and then call. They have a Special Assistance link which then gives options and I select mobility. Then I select the link to Contact Special Assistance and request Special Assistance with booking. They have also been very helpful.

Once my Spinal cord injury acted up and the pilot declared an in-flight emergency. I had been at an ALS Registry Taskforce meeting in Charlotte and was headed home to Arizona. I usually stay an extra night to decompress my body. I didn’t get that and crazy pain ensued. They asked for medical help and then declared the emergency. Talk about being mortified. What made it worse was that it was 10 days before Christmas and was late flight to Phoenix. My wife asked the pilot how much time would be saved by diverting the aircraft and he said about 10 minutes. I laughed and told him that I could handle 10 more minutes. They had EMTs waiting and got me off first. Thankfully we were bulkhead.

You shouldn’t have issues with the major airlines. I have no idea how the budget carriers approach it.

Have a great trip. We all should get help and they have been nothing but helpful. They only lost my wheelchair once. I understand how. The gate agent didn’t check it thru to my final destination. That may have been because I had to go to the bathroom while the plane was boarding. Who knows. I got it and had a great cruise.

I didn’t need a doctor’s note, although that may help. The huge power wheelchair was enough of a sign :slight_smile:

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Every airline is different. We flew Air Italia 5 years ago and had an awful experience. They did not deliver my non ambulatory sons mobility scooters to the gate upon arrival in Italy and there were no wheelchairs to take them to baggage claim! Took an hour and a half after deplaning to get wheelchairs to get them to baggage claim where they left the scooters and then it took them another hour to find the batteries.Total nightmare. Never had this problem with any other airline. I would stay away from them with special needs.

Thank you for that information. I also had planned on using a leg bag or ovenote bag probably. I have a cath so really it makes it easier. My wheelchair is lightweight and does not fold up.

Thank you for the advice and the Special Assistance. I hadn’t worried about it too much in the past becuse I could move my legs more, but this last spinal cord tumor chnaged that and now I’min a wheel chair. I have a light weight one so it doesn’t fold up. I also plan to take a major carrier too.

Bulkhead seats are normally set aside for gate agents to assign as needed but you can contact the airline and speak to someone in the disability assistance section, they have the ability to reserve those seats ahead of time for you

I would wear compression socks
Would suggest buy premium seats (different area from economy) has more legroom

Yes, I wear compression socks all of the time. Premium seats? Is there such?

If you are working with a travel agent have him or her contact airlines. If you are booking your own transportation, you need to contact the airline directly and explain yiur need and reserve a seat as such. It may require an additional fee but your comfort is worth it. If you are traveling on different airlines on different legs of your trip you need to contact each carrier. Reconfirm your seat prior to travel date. Thankfully I have not had an issue as yet. Enjoy your trip

There is
Also depends on type of airline( some don’t have business rather premium or vice versa)
I too need more room. To move legs so I cannot Accomodate. On economy (which sucks more $$$)

Did all your problems come after your Covid Vaccine? It sounds like my case. If you are there early I have always been put in first row without asking.

Hola yo también no camino nada y el servicio de asistencia en el aeropuerto de Dallas no es muy bueno al bajarme del avión en Dallas no me cargaron bien y me tiraron fuí al hospital el personal es de la tercera edad que no tiene mucha fuerza esa es mi experiencia en american airline.

Make sure you communicate with the airline, airport and TSA with at least two weeks notice. Also the day before you travel. These can be done online but I would recommend both on-line and by phone.
Insist your chair be waiting for you when you arrive. At your final destination, if they you your chair is not there but can be picked up at baggage collection, refuse to get off the plane till they fetch your chair.
On a laminated sheet attached to your chair, have information about where the brakes are, and other information they need to know about transporting your chair, and also your cell phone number.
Above all, try to enjoy your trip as much as possible:

Communication is vital - let the airline know your needs when you book. Get a letter from your doctor stating what you need. Do not be fobbed off by the airline, keep insisting you need these seats (politely of course).
Also communicate with the airline, airport, and airport security about your condition, your needs etc. once you have booked your flight.
Have a wonderful trip.

I called the special assistant for the airline and what I got, was that they would call back to schedule my seating. My flight is in May?

thank you, very useful information