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United Airlines to Improve Accessibility for Travelers

Photo Credit: Pascal Border/Pexels

Travelers who use a wheelchair can soon utilize new tools and technologies at United Airlines to improve accessibility for their flights. United recently entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation to deliver these initiatives to increase accessibility and improve travel experiences for customers who use wheelchairs.

For customers who utilize wheelchairs, United will soon offer a new flight filter on its website to help travelers see which aircraft can accommodate different sized wheelchairs. Customers will be able to input the dimensions of their personal wheelchair during their flight search. The search results will prioritize flights that have doors that can best accommodate the wheelchair dimensions. 

If a customer has to book a higher-fare flight to accommodate their wheelchair’s size, United will refund the fare difference. This is valid on flights booked for the same day and between the same destinations. Customers will have to complete a short form after they’ve traveled to receive a refund. After review of the information they’ve input, United will promptly ensure they receive the difference. These tools will be available to travelers beginning in 2024. 

“By offering customers an easy way to know if their personal wheelchair fits on a particular airplane, we can give them the peace of mind they deserve when they fly with us,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for United. “Plus, collecting this information ahead of time ensures our team can handle these special items with proper care and attention.”

Recently, United has employed other measures to improve accessibility such as: 

  • Providing ramp agents new mobile technology that shows when a wheelchair is on a flight. This technology ensures they are prepared to properly receive and load it. Additionally, this inhibits flights from being closed out until all wheelchairs have been loaded.
  • Adding Braille to aircraft interiors in August, which helps millions of travelers with visual disabilities navigate cabins with more independence. United plans to outfit its entire mainline fleet with Braille by the end of 2026.
  • Re-designing the United mobile app to be easier to use for people with visual disabilities. The app now offers increased color contrast, additional space between graphics and making sure information is presented in a way that works with screen reader technologies.
  • Updating Inflight Seatback Entertainment screens to include closed captioning, text-to-speech controls, magnification, explore-by-touch capabilities, audio-described movies and adjustable, high-contrast text and color correction.
  • Providing Bridge, United’s Business Resource Group for people of all abilities, which helps create a workplace environment that helps all employees achieve their potential. Additionally, Bridge supports United’s commitment to allyship for customers with disabilities. 

For more information on what United is doing to accommodate its travelers, please visit www.united.com

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