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Mobility Impairments

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

Most airlines provide accommodations to persons with disabilities who have difficulty walking through the airport—usually in the form of a wheelchair and wheelchair attendant. Please contact your airline for more information about wheelchair assistance as TSA does not provide this service.

If a passenger has difficulty walking or standing and uses a walker, cane, crutches, or other mobility aid, the way his or her screening will be conducted depends on his or her level of ability. The passenger should inform a security officer of his or her level of ability to walk or stand independently before the screening process begins. Passengers can use TSA’s Notification Card to communicate discreetly with security officers. However, showing this card or other medical documentation will not exempt a passenger from additional screening when necessary.

Passengers can be screened using imaging technology only if they can stand still with their arms above their heads for 5-7 seconds without the support of a person or device. Similarly, passengers can be screened using walk-through metal detectors only if they can walk through without the support of another person.

A passenger can request to be screened while seated if he or she cannot walk or stand during screening. If a passenger cannot or chooses not to be screened by imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector, the passenger will be screened using a thorough patdown procedure instead. A patdown procedure also is used to resolve any alarms of a metal detector or anomalies identified by imaging technology.

In addition to screening the passenger, the passenger’s walker, crutch, cane, or other device must undergo X-ray screening, unless it cannot fit through the X-ray. If an item cannot fit through the X-ray, or the passenger cannot be separated from the item, it must be inspected by an officer. Please tell the officer if you need to be immediately reunited with the device after it is screened by X-ray.


Please click on the links below for specific information about screening for passengers with disabilities or medical conditions:

Latest revision: 24 April 2014