Delta people believe travel is for everyone – and amid our broader diversity, equity and inclusion focus, we continue in our efforts to create a world that is more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.
We aim to make Delta the carrier of choice for all customers through thoughtful, reliable and innovative service – and while we have long engaged in a variety of initiatives to increase air travel accessibility for customers with disabilities, our work in this important space is always evolving.
Last year, Delta joined airlines across the industry to create a Passenger Accessibility Commitment, as we all work to make air travel more accessible to customers with disabilities. This industry-wide accessibility commitment complements the Department of Transportation’s Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and is backed up by important actions Delta has taken throughout the years including our work with our Advisory Board on Disability.
“People with the lived experience of disability oftentimes know better what we want and need, said John D. Kemp, Delta Advisory Board on Disability Chair, American disability rights leader and President of Lakeshore Foundation. “To be chosen to serve on the Advisory Board brings with it the tremendous responsibility to be representative of our diverse disability community, to promote recommendations that are inclusive of our community, and to bring forth thoughtful solutions to Delta. And as members, we see the improvements being made that we’ve suggested. That’s what’s impressive.”
In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the 37th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act, we are proud to share progress along our journey that has made travel more accessible on Delta, including:
Expanding Closed Captions on Delta Studio Movies and Series
Delta customers can now enjoy over 1,000 hours of in-flight entertainment featuring closed captioning, on all Delta studio movies and series on seatback screens globally. Made possible through collaboration with our Advisory Board on Disability, entertainment industry partners and content curation team, this expanded accessibility feature ensures customers can discover and enjoy more entertainment along their journey.
Enhancements in Assistive Device Handling
In 2022, Delta carried more than 220,000 wheelchairs, scooters and mobility devices across our global network, and we are constantly focused on the safe and efficient transport of these devices to connect our customers around the globe. Delta has a dedicated customer mobility team that is trained to offer elevated and personalized white glove service for customers with assistive devices. This specialized training focuses on proper and careful handling of assistive devices ensuring safe and timely handling at hubs across the Delta operation – and our teams continue to train employees at other domestic and international hubs. Delta also uses advanced technology to dispatch employees to be at the right place at the right time to support customers for their specific needs, including the movement, loading/offloading and transferring of a customer’s wheelchair, scooter or other mobility device.
Investing in first-of-its-kind Innovation
Delta continuously invests in technology and innovation to support customers with disabilities. Delta Flight Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, debuted a full prototype of a first-of-its kind airplane seat earlier this year that allows customers who use a powered wheelchair to remain in their own wheelchairs for their entire journey. DFP partnered with U.K.-based consortium Air4All on the seat, which converts a standard passenger seat to an accommodation for wheelchair restraint. The patented design offers comfort and safety for all passengers by providing access to headrest, center console tray tables and cocktail table that adjust to serve passengers with wheelchairs in place. The seat earned the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) 2024 Innovation Award for Best Cabin, and will go through testing and certification programs to become certified.
Advisory Board on Disability
Delta has a long-standing Advisory Board on Disability composed of frequent Delta flyers who themselves have disabilities or are experts on certain disabilities – and is the longest running board of its kind among U.S. carriers. This critical team shares firsthand experiences and expertise to guide their recommendations for how we serve customers and shares their experiences and expertise on disabilities to train Delta employees. Delta involves our Advisory Board in creating experiences pertaining to aircraft accessibility, airport renovations, procedures and more -- and we engage them early and often before we make decisions impacting people with disabilities.
Fly Delta App Features
The Fly Delta App is at the center of the customer’s journey, allowing travelers to seamlessly plan, book and manage their day of travel. Customers in need of mobility assistance or additional services during travel can easily share this information ahead of their journey by tapping the “Accessible Services” button. Customers can also let us know if they’re deaf or hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted. By using the app to share this information ahead of time, we can be prepared to best assist you across your journey.
We know that the path to a more accessible travel experience is a journey, but we are proud to be moving in the right direction. Before boarding, in the air, at your destination and anywhere in between, our gate agents and attendants are available to assist. We maintain comprehensive resources on our accessible travel services on our Accessible Travel Service page on Delta.com.