Ethiopian Airlines is committed to providing safe, convenient, and comfortable service for its customers. The following information is provided to assist customers with special need in planning a trip with us.
The services outlined herein only apply to all Ethiopian flights to/from USA. If your travel includes other carrier(s), check directly with that carrier for your travel needs as different polices and procedures may apply.
We recommend that you make your special services request such as wheelchair assistance when you make your reservation. Although we do not require information about the extent of your special need, the more information we have about you, the better prepared we shall be to meet your needs.
If a passenger contacts Ethiopian and indicates that he/she cannot use Ethiopian’s websites due to a special need Ethiopian shall disclose and offer Web-based fares to such passengers without charging a fee for making a reservation over the phone as a special need accommodation.
To indicate your special requests while booking online on our website, please select your special request from the drop down box in the ‘passenger information’ section. After completing your reservation online, you can include additional special needs information in your reservation online or you may include additional special needs in your reservation by calling our reservation office.
We recommend that all customers make their reservations as far in advance as possible.
In cases where there are no level entry boarding bridges, we require passengers who will need to use a wheelchair lift or ramp device for boarding to check-in one hour early to permit adequate boarding time.
We also recommend that you contact us in advance if you,
If you are traveling with a battery powered respiratory assistive device that you will use in-flight, please contact us no later than 48 hours before the scheduled departure to confirm the expected maximum duration of the flight and to determine the required number of batteries to power your device.
Ethiopian offers accessible seating for customers with special need upon request. In order to ascertain that accessible seating is available for you, please contact us no later than 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
To reserve one of these designated special need seats, contact your agent or Ethiopian reservations at least 24 hours prior to departure.
Note: Aircraft change may affect your pre-assigned seat reservation. When this occurs, every effort will be made to accommodate your accessible seating needs.
Ethiopian staff are available to assist passengers with special need in boarding, deplaning and connecting with their flights.
We provide connecting flight assistance for individuals who may need help from one departure gate to another. If you are a non-ambulatory passenger requiring connecting assistance and you have a lengthy layover time, we recommend that you travel with a companion to ensure maximum comfort during the layover.
Please ensure that your wheelchair batteries are clearly labeled as spill-able or non-spill-able so that we may establish and apply correct dangerous goods handling procedures.
Dry cell and gel cell batteries are considered non-spill-able. Under such circumstances, Ethiopian will take the following steps:
Ethiopian is using a closet as the priority space to stow at least one typical adult sized folding, collapsible, or break down manual passenger wheelchair. We have installed a placard prominently on the closet indicating that such wheelchair and other assistive devices are to be stowed in this area with priority over other items brought onto the aircraft by other passenger or crew. The dimensions of the wheelchair to be stored in the closet are 13 inches by 36 inches by 42 inches or less without having to remove the wheels or otherwise disassemble it.
A passenger with a special need who uses a wheelchair and takes advantage of the opportunity to pre-board the aircraft can stow his/her wheelchair in this area, with priority over other items brought onto the aircraft by other passengers or crew enplaning at the same airport, consistent with applicable government requirements concerning security, safety, and hazardous materials with respect to the stowage of carry-on items.
Ethiopian offers pre boarding to a passenger stowing his or her wheelchair in the cabin.
How do I arrange travel with a service animal?
Ethiopian accepts service animals trained to assist customers with special need in the cabin. We only accept dogs as emotional support animals, provided there is a medical doctor’s attestation stating the medical or therapeutic need for the animal to travel in the cabin with the customer. The following policies apply.
Do I need a medical certificate to travel?
Medical certificates are generally not required for passengers with special need. The following conditions will however need medical certificates:
To be valid, a medical certificate must be dated within 10 days of the initial departure of the flight. For cases regarding a communicable disease or infection, the medical certificate must be dated within 10 days of the flight for which it is presented.
If you have a communicable disease or infection, the medical certificate must state that the disease or infection would not be communicable to other persons on the flight if precautions are taken. It must also state the conditions or precautions that Ethiopian needs to take to prevent transmission of the disease or infection.
Every effort would be made to accommodate your travel needs while taking into consideration the health and safety of other customers.
Would Ethiopian accommodate special dietary requirements?
Ethiopian can provide special meals if the request is made no later than 24 hours prior to departure.
What if I need to bring medicine?
Always carry medication in your carry-on luggage. (Our aircraft do not have medical refrigerating facilities on board, so please plan accordingly.)
Also, if you use needles to inject medication, it is helpful to have your doctor’s prescription for security purposes. Please contact your flight attendant for proper needle disposal.
How do I arrange for supplemental oxygen on board?
With at least 48 hours notice, supplemental oxygen can be provided for you on our flights for a fee. Due to a limited supply, we recommend that you make oxygen requests at the time of the ticket purchase. A medical certificate is required upon check-in to verify the need for oxygen and the rate of flow per minute required (the aircraft’s built-in oxygen cannot be used for this purpose.)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit the use of personal oxygen units during flight.
Ethiopian provides oxygen for in-flight use only. Therefore, if you need oxygen at departure, upon arrival or during your layover, you will need to make your own arrangements for oxygen to be provided at all ground locations.
Can I bring personal medical equipment on board?
You may bring medical or life support equipment, such as a respirator, nebulizer or ventilator on board for use during the flight provided the equipment can fit underneath a seat or be strapped into an adjoining seat. If an adjoining seat is required, it must be purchased at the applicable fare.
Advance arrangements are necessary for use of medical equipment during flight to ensure it will not interfere with the aircrafts communications and navigation systems and to ensure availability of aircraft power hookup, if needed.
Most life support equipment use batteries. Dry or gel cell batteries are acceptable for operation on board, but wet cell batteries are not permitted.
Do I need an attendant to travel?
Ethiopian does not provide escorts or personal attendants. Therefore, you must be accompanied by a personal care attendant to see to your needs if you are traveling in a stretcher or require extensive personal assistance on board.
Complaints resolution officials
Ethiopian has Complaints Resolution Officials (CRO) at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and Washington Dulles Airport to address questions and concerns from our customers with special need. To locate these CROs, please contact an Ethiopian representative.
For more details on the regulation of the Department of Transpiration (DOT) of the USA on the subject, please use the following link:
14 CFR, Part 382 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
- Consumers can obtain a copy of this Part 382, the regulations regarding nondiscrimination on the basis of special need in air travel, in an accessible format from the Department of Transportation by any of the following means:
- For calls made from within the United States, by telephone via the Toll-Free Hotline for Air Travelers with special need at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY),
- By telephone to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY),
- By mail to the Air Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Room W96-432, Washington, DC 20590, and
- On the Aviation Consumer Protection Division's Web site (http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov).
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