Before the trip
Inform the travel agent at the time of booking if you have any special needs on the flight or at the airports you will be visiting.
It is important that you specify at the booking stage if you require any of the following:
- you require special assistance with baggage.
- you require special assistance in order to get to and from the aircraft and help to get on board.
- you use a battery-powered wheelchair.
- you have a hearing problem and require personal information.
- you have a guide dog.
- you use mobile oxygen equipment.
At the airport
When you arrive at the airport go immediately to the checking-in counter of the airline you are to fly with. Give them the same information that you have previously given at the time of the booking. In this way you can confirm that the airline has registered all your requirements and special needs.
At the airport you will be informed of the estimated time of boarding. Remember that the distances at airports can be long, therefore allow plenty of time.
It can sometimes be difficult to understand the information given on the monitors, notice boards and over the public address system. Don't be afraid to ask for help from the airport personnel or on the aircraft.
In order to receive the help you require to board the aircraft, you only need to give the cabin crew clear instructions regarding your requirements.
All airlines have their own regulations, but generally certain seats on an aircraft are reserved for people with a mobility problem. You are not allowed to sit by the emergency exit. On international flights you can ask to be placed in a non-smoking area. On domestic flights all smoking is prohibited.
The help you received at the time of your departure will also be available on your arrival or during any intermediate landings or if you need to change aircraft.
Do you use...
...an electrical-powered wheelchair?
If your wheelchair is electrically-powered it is necessary that you have the batteries approved. Make sure that you know how to dismantle or fold the chair in case this may be necessary for transportation. All airlines have differing rules regarding the admissible weight of wheelchairs, it is therefore advisable to contact the respective airline in advance.
If you use oxygen equipment it is necessary to inform the airline of the type of equipment you use. Most airlines have approved equipment which can be made available to you during the flight.
If you intend to stay abroad for any length of time or if you are required to change aircraft, ask the travel agent or the airline to check that the batteries and oxygen equipment is approved by all the concerned airlines.
In conjunction with all international flights and sometimes with domestic flights, it is necessary to pass through various security controls. During these controls your hand baggage is most likely to be X-rayed. However, neither your pacemaker nor wheelchair will be affected by these controls.
If you have a mobility problem, it can be difficult to use the small lavatories on board the aircraft. The airports are equipped with lavatories for the disabled which can be used before boarding the aircraft.