Customers with special needsFlights between Canada and the US

Air Canada is subject to the US Department of Transportation's Rule on "Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel" (14 CFR Part 382) applicable to the services we offer customers with special needs who:

Below are a few important things you need to know.

Do I need to provide advance notice?

If one of the 8 conditions listed below applies to you, you will need to:

If one of the 8 conditions listed below applies to you, you will need to:

List of conditions

  1. You require medical oxygen or need to use your personal oxygen concentrator (POC).
    1. View list of approved POCs for travel on Air Canada flights.
    2. POCs must bear a label from the manufacturer to reflect that they have been tested to meet requirements for such devices set by the Canadian government.
  2. You are travelling with an electric wheelchair on a Dash 8, CRJ or Beech aircraft (fewer than 60 seats).
    1. Although advance notice is required only for the smaller aircraft listed above, we recommend that you contact Air Canada Reservations in advance for all aircraft types to ensure proper handling of your wheelchair. View our fleet page for more information on our aircraft.
  3. You are travelling with a dog as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal in the cabin. See the "Service animal" question below for more information.
  4. You have both a severe hearing and severe vision impairment.
  5. You need Air Canada to provide hazardous materials packaging for the battery of your battery-operated assistive device (e.g. wheelchair);
  6. You are travelling as part of a group of ten or more qualified individuals with a disability;
  7. You are travelling with a service animal on a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more. See the 'Service animal' question below for more information.
  8. You have a severe allergy to peanuts or nuts, or are severely allergic to cats or dogs, and would like to request a buffer zone in order to help avoid the risk of exposure.

However, no medical approval is required prior to travel, unless otherwise stated in the "Do I need medical approval for travel?" section below.

If none of the situations listed above apply to you, you are not required to provide advance notice. However, if you require special assistance at the airport or in flight, or need special seating accommodations, we highly recommend that you contact Air Canada Reservations in advance, so we can better serve your needs.

Do I need medical approval for travel?

Medical certificate

If one of the medical conditions listed below applies to you, you may be required to provide a medical certificate. Alternatively, we recommend that you ask your treating physician to complete the Fitness for Travel form, in particular its Section 4.

  • You require medical oxygen or need to use your personal oxygen concentrator (POC).
  • You have an infectious or contagious disease that could pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others on your flight (e.g. tuberculosis).
  • There is medical reasonable doubt that you can complete the flight safely without requiring extraordinary assistance during the flight.

Air Canada also requires a 48 hour advanced notice if you have any of the medical conditions listed above. We will nonetheless make a reasonable effort to accommodate reservations made within these time frames.

If you are not sure whether you require a medical certificate for travel, please contact Air Canada Reservations.

Fitness for Travel form

The cabin environment on a flight is not the same as on the ground. In certain individuals, high altitude may affect the oxygen concentration in the blood. As such, certain medical conditions may be affected by high altitude. Air Canada has identified these conditions and, for all of its flights - with the exception of flights between Canada and the United States or flights for which passengers hold a ticket with a US-based airline coded flight operated by Air Canada (e.g. UA7811) - Air Canada requires that persons with these conditions have their treating physician complete a Fitness for Travel form. This is to ensure the passenger's condition will not be aggravated during flight, and will not require emergency diversion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation states that, if you are travelling between Canada and the U. S. or hold a ticket with a US-based airline coded flight operated by Air Canada (e.g. UA7811), we cannot require that you to complete the Fitness for Travel form.

However, we strongly recommend that passengers with specific medical conditions consult their medical practitioner and have him/her complete Section 2 of the Fitness for Travel form.

When to request medical approval

Air Canada requires a 48 hour advanced notice if you have any of the medical conditions listed in the "Medical certificate" section above.

Air Canada will nonetheless make a reasonable effort to accommodate reservations made within these time frames.

Please read and follow the procedure for requesting medical approval carefully.

May I request special seating?

By contacting Air Canada Reservations, you may request:

  • A seat:
    • with liftable or removable armrests
    • with additional floor space to accommodate a service animal
    • with greater legroom if you have a fused or immobilized leg (e.g. full-leg cast or leg that cannot bend)
  • An adjoining seat for:
    • A personal care attendant or safety assistant
    • A reader/assistant if you are visually impaired
    • An interpreter if you are hearing impaired

To request special seating, please contact Air Canada Reservations at least 24 hours before departure. We will also make a reasonable effort to accommodate reservations made within this time frame.

Do some passengers need to travel with a safety assistant?

Yes. Air Canada may require that you travel with a safety assistant if:

  • Because of a mental disability, you are unable to comprehend or respond appropriately to safety instructions from onboard personnel;
  • You are affected by a mobility impairment so severe that you are unable to assist in your own evacuation of the aircraft in case of an emergency; or
  • You are affected by both severe hearing and severe vision impairments that are such that you cannot establish adequate means of communication with onboard personnel to allow for the transmission of the required safety briefing and to enable you to assist in your own evacuation of the aircraft in case of an emergency.

We recommend that you contact Air Canada Reservations in advance of travel to benefit from special rates* (if applicable) and to request adjoining seats for you and your safety assistant.

*Special rates do not apply to Hawaii.

May I travel with a service animal, or with a dog as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal?

Service animals

If you wish to travel with a service animal:

  • We recommend that your service animal be harnessed at all times. If it is not harnessed, we strongly recommend that it be held on a leash when it is not in its kennel.
  • As evidence that the animal you are travelling with is a service animal, you may present an identification card or other written document, carry tags or a harness for your animal, or provide credible verbal assurance.
  • If you are travelling on a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more, you must:
  • You may, in certain circumstances, hold your animal in your lap during the flight. Please contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk for more information:
    Phone:
    • 1-800-667-4732 (Toll-free between Canada and the U.S.)
    • 1-514-369-7039 (long distance charges apply)
    Hours of operation (Eastern Time):
    • Monday to Friday: 6am to 8pm
    • Saturday and Sunday: 6am to 6pm

Dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals

If you are travelling with a dog* as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you must provide supporting documentation in the form of an original letter on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional (e.g. a psychologist, a psychiatrist, the general practitioner who is treating the passenger's mental or emotional disability, or a licensed clinical social worker), dated within one year of your departure date.

The letter must confirm that:

  • you have a mental or emotional disability recognized by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders);
  • you need your dog for emotional or psychiatric support during travel and/or at destination;
  • the person who prepared the document is a licensed mental health professional; and
  • you are currently under the care of the licensed mental health professional who prepared the document.

The letter must also provide information on the mental health professional's license (i.e. type of licence, date issued, and issuing authority).

*Air Canada does not accept animals other than dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.

How may I obtain a copy of Part 382?

You may obtain a copy of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Rule on Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel (14 CFR Part 382) in accessible format by contacting the US Department of Transportation through one of the following means:

  • Web: On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division's website.
  • Phone:
    From within the US – call the hotline at:
    • 1-800-778-4838 (voice)
    • 1-800-455-9880 (Hearing Impaired - TTY)

    From outside the US – call the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at:
    • 202-366-2220 (voice)
    • 202-366-0511 (Hearing Impaired - TTY)
  • Mail:
    Air Consumer Protection Division
    US Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
    The West Building
    Room W96-432
    Washington, DC
    20590

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