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Many airline websites will not allow online check, nor through their kisoks, if your reservation is “flagged” as having special needs (such as traveling with your own wheelchair or a service animal), therefore requiring check-in at the counter, even if all they do is issue a boarding pass. While not specific to the format and accessibility for those with communication impairments, it does have an impact on all travelers with a disability who are able to use online check-in or at a kisok, who do not need additional assistance getting to the gate.
Welcome to Regulation Room and thank you for your input, mbsimon. DOT is proposing to require airlines to make checking-in an accessible function for covered airline websites (If you’re interested, you can read the proposed rule language at http://archive.regulationroom.org/air-travel-accessibility/agency-documents/rule-text/#382.43). But nothing specifically address the point you raise about some airlines not allowing those with tickets flagged as needing special assistance to check-in online or at a kiosk. Do you think this should be made clearer in the final regulation? Also, could you provide the names what airlines you know of that don’t let people with these flagged tickets… more »