The JJs List Blog

The Challenges of Flying With Developmental Disabilities

Posted by on July 7, 2014 - 2 Comments


Why would an airline refuse a gate pass to someone who is providing support to a person with a developmental disability who cannot navigate the terminal independently?   That’s what happened when US Airways denied Hannah Newmark, a volunteer assigned to meet Schofield a gate pass. In the Washington Post article, The Developmentally Disabled Face Extra Challenges When Flying, Hannah had to get assistance from someone else to find Schofield at the airport.

I just don’t get it.

For some individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the ability to navigate an airline terminal requires support. This is a simple accommodation that doesn’t cost the airline and is already a regular procedure for children who are flying alone.  Why can’t they make it available for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities?

I understand that not all disabilities are noticeable, and that security at airports should be on alert. However, at what point do we start accepting certain accommodations as reasonable and other as not?

What’s your experience flying as an individual with a disability or supporting an individual with a disability? Tell us about your experience.

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About the Author:

Philister Sidigu

Philister Sidigu

Written by Philister Sidigu Philister Sidigu is the Digital Marketing and Community Engagement Manager at JJ’s List. You can find her on  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn  and  Twitter.


Non-Emergency Transportation helps a lot to overcome to such situations. I really appreciate such types of practices and hope that the people will be comfort with such vehicles transportation even during non-emergency situations.
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Sara Wilson says:
Feb 02, 2020

Thanks for sharing such an informative post!! This is a great article, and something I think needs to be communicated more often. It will definitely help people with developmental disabilities. As here we are discussing about people with developmental disabilities, I want to add a unique name to the list: “Sunshine Communities”. They provide supported housing for people with developmental disabilities. Hope this information will help!! Cheers!!

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