Using Your Disabled Parking Badge At An Airport: All You Need To Know

Dr Handicap - parking at airport
Dr Handicap - parking at airport

Traveling can be a mixed bag. Going to another destination in the world? Exciting! But dealing with the airport? Not so much. Throw in a disability, and dealing with the airport can be downright stressful. Reaching your destination on time means making it to the airport on time – and that involves figuring out where to park your car at the airport. So if you’re wondering “Can I use my disabled parking badge at an airport?”, here’s everything you need to know about disabled parking and flying – the good, the bad, and the universal access symbol.

Airports and Disabled Parking Permits

Airport parking is complicated enough for non-disabled drivers. Disabled parking at airports takes the difficulty up yet another a notch. Luckily, there are a few things available to disabled drivers that help to make airport parking a little bit easier.

Whether you choose economy long-term parking, short-term parking, or a parking garage, disabled parking at airports should be easy to spot. You simply need to look for the wheelchair symbol, or International Symbol of Access, that will be displayed either on a sign posted at the parking spot or painted on the ground.

Most airports also offer discounted parking to those with disabled parking placards or plates. As long as your disabled parking permit or plate is displayed properly and is current, you can access discounted or even free parking. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the airport’s website before you travel to see if these discounted or free disabled parking services are offered.

Dr Handicap - airport

How to Get a Disabled Parking Permit

Every state in the U.S. has its own criteria for disabled parking permits. In most places, the Department of Motor Vehicles handles the disabled parking permit program, so it’s important to check with your local agency to find out specifics for your corner of the world.

What is universally true about disabled parking placard programs in each state is that a doctor will need to verify the medical condition that requires you to get one. The conditions that most people get a disabled parking placard for include:

  • Heart disease
  • A condition that limits your mobility and requires you to use a brace, prosthetic, wheelchair, cane, or another assistive device
  • Lung disease
  • Vision problems such as partial sightedness or low-visual acuity
  • Loss or limited use of one or both hands or legs

Other conditions may qualify you, so it’s best to speak with a medical professional about eligibility in your state. Some states extend disabled parking benefits to those with have to use portable oxygen or cannot walk more than 200 feet without rest.

Applying for a Disabled Parking Permit

Disabled parking permits can be used anywhere with available disabled parking, not simply in airports. So, if you and your doctor agree you qualify, then it’s important to take the right steps to apply for the permit.

You can usually get a disabled parking permit application online or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (or whichever agency handles the program in your state). Once you get a form, you simply need to complete it with the help of your doctor, nurse practitioner, or another medical professional to certify your disability before you submit the completed application.

In some states, disability placards and stickers are available for no cost, while some charge a nominal fee. Nearly every state charges for license plates, but there are normally no additional fees associated with disabled license plates on top of what you pay normally to plate your vehicle.

You can get a temporary disabled parking permit for six months or less, too. This is helpful in some cases where the limitations won’t be permanent, such as recovery from surgery or pregnancy complications.

Dr Handicap - luggage

How to Use a Disabled Parking Permit

Remember, only you can use your disabled parking placard. You can take it in any vehicle in which you’ll be riding, but you must be in the vehicle. If you are caught loaning your disability placard to someone, then you risk having it taken away and may incur other penalties or fines on top of that. Other than that, you can use it anywhere handicap parking is available.

Disability shouldn’t keep you from enjoying things in life such as travel, but it may mean you need to do a little more advanced planning. Thankfully, the answer to “Can I use my disabled parking permit at an airport?” is yes! Find out what’s available to you at your local airport, and you’ll be using disabled parking and flying in no time.

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