To accompany a solo traveler with special needs to or from an arrival or departure gate (such as an unaccompanied child or an elderly or disabled passenger), you must obtain a gate pass at the ticket counter of the airline on which the person is flying. Please note that gate passes are issued solely at the discretion of the airline, and not all airlines will issue a gate pass. Please verify your airline’s policy prior to your trip to the airport.
If your airline does issue gate passes, be sure to allow additional time for potential lines at the ticket counter, and check with the airline in advance to make sure their ticket counter is open when requesting a gate pass for an arriving flight. Please be prepared to provide government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver's license) and flight information. Only one person may be allowed to accompany a special-needs passenger to or from the gate. Contact your airline for additional information.
It is unlawful for airport operators and their lessees, tenants, concessionaires and contractors to discriminate against any person because of race, color, national origin, sex, creed, or disability in public services and employment opportunities. Allegations of discrimination should be promptly reported to the Airport Manager or:
Federal Aviation Administration Office of Civil Rights, ACR-1 800 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20591
Federal regulations on unlawful discrimination are available for review in the Airport Manager’s Office.
Terminal Operations Specialist 503.415.6232; TTY: 800.815.4636 Portland International Airport 7200 NE Airport Way Portland, OR 97218
In the event of an emergency, ARAs provide mobility-impaired persons means to obtain assistance. ARAs are located on concourses C and D, and near the D/E checkpoint and Clocktower Plaza.
During peak periods, Volunteer Information Persons (VIPs) stand ready throughout the terminal to provide airport information; and directions to gates, restaurants and anywhere else you need to go. VIPs are dressed in royal blue sweaters or shirts featuring the “PDX Volunteer” logo. Two information booths are located in the baggage claim area.
Parking for persons with disabilities is available at discounted rates in most lots. More information regarding disabled parking and rates can be found on our Parking page.
PDX has launched program offering the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard to passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism, PTSD, or hearing loss.
First pioneered at Gatwick International Airport in London, the Sunflower lanyard communicates that passengers wearing it may need extra help while traveling. It is recognized in a growing number of airports, both in the U.S. and Internationally. Participation is voluntary.
Lanyards are available at the following locations:
- TSA supervisor desks just beyond both the Concourse B/C and D/E security checkpoints.
- Contacting the TSA directly in advance of travel via the TSA Cares Program.
- The Alaska Baggage Service Office in the Baggage Claim Area near Carousel #2.
- PDX Information Booths in the Baggage Claim Area near Carousels #3 and #6.
- Lanyards will also be available a minimum of 14 days’ advance notice of future travel by contacting the Autism Society of Oregon by e-mail: Info@AutismSocietyOregon.org.
Therapy Dogs at PDX
We know travel can be stressful for many. Overseen by DoveLewis, the PDX dog therapy program works to provide calm and comfort to PDX travelers. Trained dog therapy teams can be found in a variety of locations throughout the airport.
Need additional support? We recommend coordinating directly with your airline, which has a variety of support services in place. You can also utilize the TSA Cares program for assistance during the security screening process.
Lactation rooms for individuals who wish to express milk prior to or following a flight are located post-security just past the BC and DE security checkpoints. One is located across from Capers Café near the South Lobby and the other is located near Gate D2. These are dedicated spaces that offer privacy for travelers and airport employees who need to express milk. The rooms are designed for use by people without their infants; however, those traveling with infants who are seeking a quiet and private place to nurse their babies may also use these rooms.
Each room is equipped with ample counter space, electrical outlets, a sink & a chair. Both rooms are ADA compliant and accessible.
Traveling With Your Own Wheelchair or Other Mobility Device
If you are a passenger with a disability and you will be traveling with your mobility device, here are a few suggestions to make your airport experience trouble-free and more enjoyable.
When making your airline reservations, advise your airline of the following information:
- Type of mobility device
- Please note that Segway mobility devices are not authorized to be stored on most carriers.
- Weight and size of mobility device
- Whether or not your mobility device will require assembly/disassembly
- Whether or not you are non-ambulatory, and will need an onboard wheelchair to reach your seat when boarding or deplaning the aircraft
- Whether or not you can ascend and descend stairs without assistance
- Whether or not you will be checking your mobility device at the ticket counter, or at the departure gate
When checking in for your flight on the day of departure, confirm all of the above information with an airline agent.
Allow Extra Time when traveling with a battery-powered/electric wheelchair, cart, or scooter:
- Although not required, it is recommended that you check in at your airline ticket counter at least 2 hours in advance; and,
- Arrive at your departure gate at least one hour prior to your scheduled departure.
Attach instructions to your wheelchair if assembly/disassembly is needed
- Although not required, it’s very helpful to airline staff if you attach a copy of assembly/disassembly instructions to your wheelchair (or other mobility device); and, if needed, bring specialized tools with you when traveling. (If you have questions regarding permitted carry-on tools, please contact the Transportation Security Administration at 1-866-289-9673.)
Identify battery type and know how to access it, if your mobility device is battery-powered
- Please let the airline staff know your wheelchair’s (or other mobility device’s) specific battery type, and identify the battery as either spillable or non-spillable so that airline staff can adhere to federal “dangerous goods” handling procedures.
- Before arriving at the airport, it is best if you can educate yourself on how to gain access to the battery compartment and bring a specialized tool, if needed.
- Some mobility devices have batteries that can only be accessed by a technician. If this is the case, you may not be able to fly with your mobility device. Check with your air carrier to be sure.
If space is available, many airlines will allow folding wheelchairs to be stowed in the cabin on a first-ask, first-serve basis. If cabin storage is not available, airlines will typically allow you to check your wheelchair as baggage at either the ticket counter or the departure gate. Your airline will provide a wheelchair and wheelchair aid to assist you to your gate, if needed.
Advise your airline in advance if you wish to use your mobility device in your connecting city. They’ll let you know if you will have sufficient time in your connecting city. If not, the airline can provide you with their wheelchair service.
Aisle Width of Aircraft
The width of aisle space varies from aircraft to aircraft. Some aisle width spaces can be fairly narrow and difficult to navigate with an airline’s onboard wheelchair. Ask your airline about the aisle width before confirming reservations, if you are concerned about the wheelchair transfer process from the gate onto the aircraft.
Policies vary from airline to airline regarding mobility devices in general. To learn more about your airline’s procedures and requirements for mobility devices, please visit your airline’s website or call their reservation desk.
All-User restrooms are located near Gates C3 and D1.
A sensory room is a special room designed to develop a person's sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. According to the Autism Society of Oregon, “Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in Oregon – and the world. If you haven’t already, you will meet someone with autism.” At PDX, we partnered with a nonprofit named Kulture City as well as the Autism Society of Oregon and nearly a dozen other partners to develop the space at PDX. Our sensory room is located on Concourse D near gate D10. It's open and available to passengers 24/7.
Service animal and pet relief areas are located both pre- and post-security. Pre-security, find the area outside baggage claim at the north end of the terminal (lower level). The post-security pet relief area is located in the Concourse Connector, at the south end closest to gates C1/C2.
Portland International Airport offers mailing services, and baggage storage and delivery. Mailing services include a Mailsafe Express mailing station at each security checkpoint which allows you to mail prohibited items back to your home (or destination) if you accidentally bring them to the checkpoint. Envelopes and first-class postage stamps can be purchased pre-security at The Oregonian News store near the B/C security checkpoint and at Your Northwest Travel Mart store near the D/E security checkpoint.
Mail drops are located at the South Service Center in Clocktower Plaza. Once daily pick-ups are provided Monday through Saturday. UPS and FedEx also have drop boxes at the South Service Center.
Aira is a smart phone application used to assist people with some form of sight impairment. Those needing assistance use their smartphone to connect with an operator who can effectively “see” what the visually impaired person cannot by using the camera on their phone or specially designed smart glasses (with an incorporated camera) and personally guide them through a space or experience. Once users have downloaded the app, they can connect to an agent free of charge while on PDX property. Both the Android and Apple version of the app are available free of charge on the app stores.Learn more.
Visual paging is available on all concourses, as well as Baggage Claim and the central terminal food court.
Reserve a Wheelchair Prior to Travel
Contact your airline in advance and advise them that you will need assistance upon arrival. Tell them where and what time to meet you in the garage or at the valet parking station) and the number of bags you will be carrying.
Park and Advise Wheelchair Dispatch of Your Location
If parking in the garage, park in the ADA designated spaces near the elevators (or in a non-disabled parking space, if you wish to take your disabled parking permit with you when traveling). Once parked, call wheelchair dispatch at 503.460.4300 and advise them where to meet you. Courtesy phones are located in the elevator cores and airport operators are available from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
If using valet parking, please ask the attendant to request the wheelchair for you.
Parking charges apply for the garage and valet parking.
For wheelchair assistance to and from your rental car, please contact your car rental agency directly for information.
For wheelchair service or blind assists please contact your airline in advance if you are traveling; otherwise, use any of the white courtesy phones located throughout the terminal to contact an airport operator for assistance from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Your wheelchair (or blind assist) aid will assist you with your luggage. There is no charge for wheelchair assistance, but gratuities are appreciated.
Please allow up to 30 minutes for your wheelchair to arrive during peak travel times from 5:00 am to 7:30 am and from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
If you cannot walk short distances, you can park in the garage or at the valet parking station in front of the terminal, departure (upper) level, and wait for wheelchair assistance - applicable parking fees apply. See “Parking” below for disabled parking discount information, and instructions on how to arrange for wheelchair assistance from the garage or the valet parking station to your gate.
If you can walk short distances, disabled loading and unloading spaces are available at the north and south ends of the upper and lower roadways in front of the terminal. Only active loading or unloading in these areas is allowed, and a driver is required to remain with the vehicle at all times. Unoccupied vehicles may be cited and/or towed. If you need to wait for wheelchair assistance, please do so in the parking garage or valet parking area.
For more information for how we assist visually impaired travelers, please read the previous section - 'Visually Impaired Travelers'.
Drinking fountains throughout the airport offer convenient wheelchair access.
Airport parking lot shuttle buses are equipped with ramps and accessible.
Spacious family restrooms are available on Concourse B (lower level), Concourse E (between gates E8 and E9), Concourse C (near west-end of bypass-tunnel), Concourse D (near gate D5; adjacent to the pet relief area)
The ground transportation information booth on the arrivals level roadway provides an alternate counter for easy wheelchair access.
All Quick Pay parking payment machines in the airport's parking garage are easily accessible to customers in wheelchairs.