Regardless of whether you have limited mobility or not, your trip to and from the United States should be a hassle-free, relaxing journey. Thankfully, Swiss Air has specially-trained staff and systems in place for accessible travel to ensure everything runs smoothly from departure to landing. While you will need to make some preparations before your trip, once you get to the airport, you will be able to forget your worries and focus on enjoying the experience. Read on to find out all you need to know about accessible travel with Swiss Air so you can plan your trip to the United States with ease.
It is recommended that you check with your doctor that you are safe and fit for travel before booking your tickets and ask them if there are any necessary precautions or preparations that you need to make before your journey.
To receive the best service and support from airport staff, it is best to book your flights no later than two days in advance of your departure so that you have time to inform the service centre and they can prepare for travel. It is also asked that you inform the airline staff if you will be travelling with a service dog, even though they are allowed to go in the cabin free of charge. You will be required to bring any necessary documentation for your service animal to ensure they are let into the country without any restrictions.
Depending on your level of impairment, Swiss Air may require a medical certificate, also known as SAF/MEDIF. These are usually only required for exceptional circumstances, details of which can be found here. If you are a frequent traveller or have a chronic or stable condition, you may be provided a Frequent Travelers Medical Card (FREMEC) to save you from having to complete a SAF/MEDIF form every time you fly.
Swiss Air can provide free wheelchairs and escort vehicle to assist you within the airport both in Switzerland and when you land in the United States. It is recommended that you arrive at the check-in desk no later than 90 minutes before the time of the last check-in so that staff has time to assist in escorting you through check-in, security, and departures.
Travellers with disabilities are offered priority boarding to ensure they are safe and comfortable onboard before the rest of the travellers board the plane.
Should you wish, onboard wheelchairs are available on flights to and from the United States. These are specially designed chairs that mean you can move up and down the aisles with ease. If you would like an onboard wheelchair, it is asked that you arrange this prior to travel. On-board staff is also able to assist with stowing luggage in the overhead compartments, helping you get to and from the bathroom and with unpacking and identifying items on your food tray.
Please note that the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers because of their disability and the Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing the ACAA on all flights to, from, or within the United States.
More information on accessible travel can be found here.
(Gathered October, 2019) https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/traveling-disability
(Gathered October, 2019) https://www.swiss.com/ch/EN/prepare/special-services/accessible-travel#t-page=pane2