For the less able, travelling by plane can be difficult but it’s more difficult when you don’t know what you need to do and where you need to go. Different airlines have different policies regarding disabled passengers making it hard to know where you stand before you travel. With this is mind, we decided to try and get all the important information in one place – here”

Gathering information from BA, Ryanair, American Airlines, Emirates, Easyjet and Virgin, we’ve compiled pretty much all the information that less able people need to know before they fly. We thought it would be easier if all the information was in one place, so we’ve made this pretty extensive list of do’s and don’ts for flying this summer.

It consists of the information available through the airlines but if you have any conflicting experiences please get in touch and we can include those details in a follow-up article. One thing you’ll notice is that this is already very long. But the plan is to build on this information sheet to create a completely comprehensive document of tips, views and advice on less able air travel. This is just the beginning.

Here’s our guide to what the major airlines are saying about disabled access on their planes:

British Airways

Contact telephone: 0844 493 0787

If you need any form of assistance at the airport:

Call at least 48 hours before you fly to provide as many detail as possible and they will provide someone. They say that they understand that people prefer different ways of guidance and they will do what they can to meet individual requirements.

Mobility:

If you have any seating requirements due to your disability please contact BA as soon as possible after your booking is made.

You can arrange for an escort to guide you through the terminal from when you check in through to the aircraft door.

You can bring an unlimited number of wheelchairs or mobility aids in addition to your free baggage allowance.

At most airports, you’ll be able to stay in your own wheelchair until you reach the departure gate. Although you have the option to ‘surrender’ your wheelchair at check-in and use an airport wheelchair to assist you to the departure gate.

You are welcome to board the aircraft at your leisure; however if you would like to, you will be able to board first. A pre-boarding announcement will be made at the departure gate.

We can store one collapsible manual wheelchair in the cabin, per flight, where space is available on-board. If you’d like to do this, just let them know when you arrive at the airport. In some cases you wheelchair may need to be stowed in the hold.

If your wheelchair has been stowed in the hold, they will make every effort to return your wheelchair to you as close to the aircraft door as possible. If it is not possible to bring your wheelchair to the door for safety reasons, they will make sure there is a wheelchair available to assist you to the baggage reclaim area.

If you have an electric wheelchair, the type of battery will determine where they need to store the chair. You’ll need to call ahead and provide them with information. Again, they request at least 48 hours notice.

There a number of seats with moveable armrests for ease of access on all planes. Unfortunately, you will not be able to be seated in emergency exit rows due to safety regulations.

Please make sure you have suitable travel insurance for any equipment you are travelling with because they will not be liable if it gets lost or damaged.

Ask for help if you need to move luggage, go to the toilet or with the food. Cabin crew can not help with personal care.

If you cannot:

  • lift yourself
  • reach an emergency exit unaided
  • communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • unfasten a seat belt
  • retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • fit an oxygen mask

You will need to travel with a safety assistant to help you do this.

Hearing Impairment:

You can arrange for an escort to guide you through the terminal from when you check in through to the aircraft door.

When the onboard screens are used for safety information, this is displayed with subtitles. The headphones provided in the seatback pack are compatible with hearing aids switched to the ‘T’ position. This will increase the volume and improve sound clarity.

Visual Impairment:

Certified Assistance Dogs for blind, deaf or disabled passengers travel free of charge in the aircraft cabin on all British Airways services within the UK.

In addition Assistance Dogs that are compliant with the Pet Travel Scheme may be carried, in the cabin of the aircraft on certain international routes.

You will need to contact them when you purchase your tickets.

Complaints:

If you have a complaint go to their complaints page.

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American Airlines

Contact telephone:  0844 499 7300

If you need any form of assistance:

To ensure that all necessary arrangements are made for you, please contact reservations, using the number above, at least 72 hours prior to departure.

Mobility:

All approved assistive devices within the allowed size for carry-on baggage will be carried on free of charge

Most battery-operated assistive devices , most will need to be switched off upon take-off and landing. Check with reservations if you are relying on an assistive device that must be switched on at all times.

Seat power ports cannot be used for assistive devices.

Wheelchair assistance can be requested at the airport. It can only be provided at check-in through security and up to the boarding gate

Wheelchair users will receive priority boarding. Just ask an American Airlines agent at the gate

Staff cannot stay with the passenger at all times or guarantee supervision at all points of the journey

American Airlines welcomes customers that wish to travel with their own manual or battery-operated wheelchair. Both types of wheelchairs can be checked in as baggage in the main terminal at no additional cost. Staff will provide a wheelchair to escort you from check-in through security and to the gate.

There is also the option to check manual wheelchairs at the departure gate. Your wheelchair will then wait for you at the aircraft door on arrival.

When storage space is available, folding wheelchairs can be stowed in the cabin on some type of aircraft. Contact by phones for more information.

In most airports, battery-operated wheelchairs must be checked-in the main terminal.

In-flight wheelchairs are available on all American Airlines jet aircraft, including all transatlantic flights from Europe and India. Atendants will be happy to assist you if you need to use an in-flight wheelchair to go to the toilets during your flight

All of our transatlantic flights are equipped with handicap toilets. Please note that our flight attendants can only assist to push the in-flight wheelchair to and from the lavatory door. Passengers must be able to lift themselves in and out of the wheelchair and use the toilets on their own, or travel with a personal care attendant to provide assistance

Visual Impairment:

Customers can be escorted from check-in through security to the gate or an American Airlines Transfer desk where they may wait on their own.

American Airlines welcomes guide and assistance animals in the cabin on most international and U.S. domestic flights.

All trained guide and assistance animals travelling with a passenger with a disability can travel free of charge.

An identification card or any other written documentation to confirm that the animal is a guide and assistance animal must be presented at check-in. Alternatively, the presence of harnesses or markings on harnesses, tags or the credible verbal assurances of the owner will be considered as sufficient proof that the animal is a guide and assistance animal.

All guide and assistance animals must be clean, well behaved, remain with the owner at all times, and cannot exhibit disruptive behaviour or pose a threat to the other passengers or other animals.

Hearing Impairment:

Customers can be escorted from check-in through security to the gate or an American Airlines Transfer desk where they may wait on their own.

Passengers that are both visually and hearing impaired can travel unaccompanied on any flight providing they can read Braille or communicate with the flight crew.

Passengers unable to read Braille or to communicate with crew members will need to be accompanied with a guardian travelling on their own ticket.

Complaints:

If you have a complaint go to their complaints page.

Emirates

Contact Telephone: 0844 800 2777

If you need any form of assistance:

If you require special assistance during your journey with Emirates, please let them know at the time of booking.

If you have booked your flight on emirates.com or with another on-line booking agency, please telephone after booking to advise them of your requirements.

For safety reasons, you would need to travel with an escort or attendant if you:

  • need to travel in a stretcher or incubator, or require medical attention during the flight. The escort must be able to attend to your personal and medical needs.
  • are unable to comprehend or respond properly to safety instructions due to a mental disability.
  • are unable to assist in your own evacuation of the aircraft.
  • have severe hearing and vision impairments and cannot establish some means of communication with airline employees.

Flight attendants are not permitted to assist with feeding or personal hygiene and lavatory functions. They cannot lift or carry you, and they cannot provide medical services such as giving injections. If your medical condition requires others to provide this type of care, you should travel with a ticketed attendant or escort who can see to these needs during the flight.

Mobility:

There are wheelchairs available for use at all airport locations and someone can assist you with transportation from check-in to the boarding gate.

Please request this service when making your booking, and upon arrival at the airport notify an airport service agent that you require a wheelchair.

Emirates accepts motorised and non-motorised wheelchairs and assistive devices for transport. However, there are some restrictions on size and weight that you should discuss with your booking agent at the time of booking.

Available storage for one passenger’s collapsible, manual wheelchair in the aircraft cabin on many Emirates aircraft on a first-come first-served basis. Wheelchairs or assistive devices that are too large or heavy to be accommodated in the aircraft cabin will be carried in the hold.

If you wish to take your own wheelchair to the gate, you must arrive at the gate at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

Non-collapsible wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, and power scooters are accepted as checked baggage. These items can be checked at the main check-in counter.
If you travel with a battery-powered wheelchair or other mobility aid, certain safeguards must be taken before you travel. Please provide at least 48 hours advance notice of your requirement and advise them of the dimensions and weight, and the type of battery used for your equipment.

Also, be sure to check in at the airport at least one hour ahead of scheduled check-in time to ensure that your equipment is transported in accordance with all dangerous goods handling requirements.

When necessary, wheelchairs or assistive devices will be disassembled and reassemled. If you do need to disassemble your wheelchair, the staff will need instructions:  bring the manufacturer’s instructions with you to the airport. You will need to be present during the disassembly/reassembly of the device.

Medical equipment and up to two assistive devices which are approved for transportation in cabin do not count towards the number of carry-on baggage a passenger is allowed free of charge.

Canes/crutches must be stowed under your seat prior to take-off and landing. The cane or crutches must lie flat on the floor and should not block emergency exits or protrude into the aisle.

Passengers with special needs will be provided with pre-boarding assistance upon request, allowing the opportunity to be seated prior to general boarding.

Onboard wheelchairs designed to fit in the aisle of our aircraft are available on all Emirates flights to assist non-ambulatory passengers to move to and from the aircraft lavatory.

Movable aisle armrest seats are provided but the number and locations of movable aisle armrest seats may vary by aircraft type. You may select a seat with a moveable armrest through your reservations agent or, where available, during online check-in using the seat map for your flight on emirates.com.

Hearing Impairment:

Inform the check-in agent if you are deaf or hearing impaired so that special assistance can be given to you in the event that your flight is delayed, or if the departure gate is changed after you have checked-in.

A Flight Attendant will provide updates to you during the flight when announcements are made.

Onboard headphones are compatible with standard hearing aids switched to the ‘T’ position.

On all Emirates aircraft, pre-recorded video aircraft safety briefings are captioned in both English and Arabic. We also offer many movies which are closed captioned on Emirates aircraft equipped with the ice Digital Widescreen in-flight entertainment system.

Visual Impairment:

Emirates requires at least 48 hours advance notice that a passenger with a disability intends to travel with a Guide dog in cabin, in order that  arrangements can be made at Dubai Airport to receive the animal in the passenger terminal.

In accordance with United Arab Emirates Federal Government regulations, all animals must enter the UAE as manifested cargo. An exception is made for Seeing-Eye Dogs (Guide dogs for the blind) which may travel free of charge in the aircraft cabin on direct Emirates flights from European Union member states, or to or from the USA and Canada.

A Guide dog may be seated with the  passenger in the aircraft cabin if the animal can be accommodated without obstructing the main cabin aisle or emergency exit row.

All other service dogs will be accepted for travel free of charge as manifested cargo, provided that a passenger with a disability provides credible evidence that the animal is a service dog and is in possession of the requisite health and other entry/exit permits necessary for the animal to travel into the UAE/USA or Canada.

Gate agents will provide verbal flight information including boarding announcements and notice of any flight delay or gate changes.

For blind or visually impaired customers a Meet and Assist Service is available to guide you to and from the aircraft gate – or if you prefer, you may make use of wheelchair assistance. At your request, we can also provide you with flight connection and transfer assistance.

Every Emirates aircraft comes equipped with Safety Briefing Cards printed in Braille for our customers who have vision disabilities.

Flight Attendants will read to you the meal menu options, identify food items and placement on your tray and assist with opening packages upon request.

Due to safety regulations you will not be allocated an exit row seat.

Complaints:

If you have a complaint go to their complaints page.

Ryanair

Contact Telephone: 0871 2460003

If you need any form of assistance:

Ryanair state that passengers who are not self-reliant are required to travel with an accompanying passenger  (an able bodied accompanying person aged 16 and over):

When it is evident that a reduced mobility passenger is not self-reliant:

  • Passengers must be capable of using toilet facilities unaided
  • Passengers must be capable of feeding themselves unaided
  • Passengers must be capable of administering their own medicines and medical procedures unaided.
  • Can support their upper body without assistance

Where a reduced mobility passenger is travelling with an accompanying adult, they will do their best to ensure the accompanying passenger is seated next to them.

Each able bodied accompanying adult cannot assist more than one reduced mobility passenger and must purchase the prevailing adult fare.

In order for an airport to provide pre-booked special assistance, passengers must present at the special assistance desk at least 1 hour 40 minutes before their flight departure.

Passengers with pre-booked assistance requirements should arrive at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes prior to the flight departure.

Passengers requiring airport special assistance can pre-book these services on the Ryanair website up to 48 hours before the flight.  After this time and up to 12 hours prior to scheduled flight departure, passengers should contact the Ryanair Special Assistance Line (subject to opening hours).

If you do not provide 48 hour’s notice, the required assistance may not be available and your travel plans may be disrupted.

For safety reasons the below categories of passengers are required to sit in designated seats onboard, in order to prioritise the safety of all passengers in the event of an emergency aircraft evacuation:

  • Assistance type (BDGR) Passenger travelling with a guide/assistance dog that requires a walker through the airport (departure & arrival) to the aircraft seat and separate safety briefing from cabin crew
  • Assistance type (PETC) Passenger travelling with a guide/assistance dog, but requires no special airport special assistance services
  • Assistance type (WCHC) Passenger requires assistance through the airport (departure & arrival) and to be lifted on/off the aircraft and to the aircraft seat
  • Assistance type (WCHS) Passenger requires assistance through the airport (departure & arrival) and up/down the aircraft steps
  • Assistance type (DPNA) Self-reliant passenger with an intellectual disability who can understand & respond to safety instructions who requires assistance through the airport (departure & arrival) to the boarding gate.
  • Assistance type (BLND) Blind/vision impaired passenger requires a walker (departure & arrival) through the airport to the aircraft seat and separate safety briefing from the cabin crew

For safety reasons, Ryanair does not permit passengers to bring their own oxygen on board.

If oxygen is required for use during the flight it must be reserved at the latest 7 days prior to travel or directly with Ryanair via your local Ryanair call centre preferably on the same day of booking for a fee specified in the Ryanair Fees.

Safety regulations limit oxygen requests to one per flight. Passengers requiring oxygen must carry a letter from their doctor written in English confirming that they are fit to travel; that they do not require a continuous supply of oxygen for more than 250 minutes at a flow rate of 2 litres per minute and that the oxygen we provide is suitable for them. Passengers will not be accepted for travel without this letter.

Mobility

There are onboard aisle wheelchairs available on all aircraft and crew are trained to provide assistance to reduced mobility passengers in moving to and from the aircraft lavatory door.

For health and safety reasons crew cannot assist passengers to move from their seat to the onboard wheelchair or from the chair to the lavatory or with medication.

Passengers with reduced mobility who are travelling with an electric wheelchair/mobility scooter are required to advise us at least 48 hours before travel of the weight and lowest collapsed height of the wheelchair. Passengers are also asked to bring the operating instructions to the airport .

Electric wheelchairs/mobility scooter must comply with the following to be accepted for carriage:

  • The wheelchair battery must be dry/gel cell ONLY
  • The dimensions of the wheelchair when collapsed must not exceed 81cms (height), 119cms (width) and 119cms (depth)
  • The battery power must be isolated and exposed terminals protected from short circuiting, to protect the wheelchair/mobility aid from inadvertent activation, please remove the key, deactivate using the joystick or deactivate using an isolation switch or buttons, or other isolation mechanism (such as Anderson Connector or Airsafe plug )

The 32kg single item weight limit DOES NOT apply to mobility equipment.

No wheelchairs are permitted to travel in the aircraft cabin and segways cannot be carried.

It’s recommended to that travel insurance cover for mobility aids be purchased as an airline’s liability is limited.

If  the use of a syringe is required for medical reasons (for example a diabetic passenger), these items are permitted to be carried in the aircraft cabin.

However, passengers should carry a doctor’s letter to evidence this requirement  on all flights.

Visual Impairment

Call for assistance. May be required to be seated in designated seats in the cabin.

To be accepted on a Ryanair flight a guide/assistance dog must be trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability (physical, sensory or psychiatric).

The guide/assistance dog shall wear a standard identifying jacket or harness throughout the journey.

Guide/assistance dogs travel in the aircraft cabin and must sit on the floor at the passenger’s feet.

A maximum of four guide/assistance dogs are permitted per flight. The dog along with containers and food are carried free of charge.

Any passenger wishing to travel with their guide/assistance dog on board should pre-advise us preferably on the same day as booking. This can be done online or via the Ryanair Special Assistance Line (See above).

Guide / Assitance dogs are accepted on:

  • All Ryanair intra EU/EEA flights
  • All Ryanair domestic flights

Guide/Assistance dogs are NOT Accepted on flights on the following non EU routes:

  • Flights to/from Morocco.
  • Passengers travelling with a guide/assistance dog must carry a valid Pets Passport* or third country official veterinary certificate* (plus required medical documentation) on all EU/EEA flights.

Hearing Impairment:

If you are profoundly deaf, but do not require any airport assistance, you should still prenotify Ryanair by telephone.

Call for more details regarding a individual safety briefing.

Complaints:

Click here for the Ryanair Complaints form

EasyJet

Contact Telephone: 0800 998 1130

If you need any form of assistance:

EasyJet say that “the airports that we fly from and arrive at are responsible for providing the assistance you need to help you through the airport and to and from your plane.”

Let EasyJet know what help you need at least 48 hours (2 days) before your flight is due to leave, and they will forward this information to the airport. The assistance provider at the airport will give you the help and services you need and provide any necessary equipment.

If you make your booking online you will get to a section called ‘Special needs and access requirements request’. That will give you a range of options to identify your needs. Tick all the boxes that apply to you.

If you are travelling alone, you will be asked to confirm whether you are able to manage important safety activities on your own.

If you have told us about your needs, we will allocate a suitable seat for you free of charge

People who are likely to need a companion are those who:

  • have a severe learning or cognitive disability which prevents them from understanding or reacting to safety instructions; or
  • are both blind and deaf so they are unable to understand and react to safety instructions.
  • have a disability that prevents them from moving without assistance to reach an emergency exit.

If you do need someone to travel with you, they must be over 18 years old and physically capable of helping you in an emergency.

If we ask that you have a travelling companion for safety reasons, we will guarantee that the cost of the companion’s seat is the same price that you paid, regardless of when the flight was booked.

If you do not have a travelling companion and our staff believe that you need one for safety reasons they will do their best to find a volunteer from among the other passengers who is willing to take on this role only in an emergency.

If we cannot find a volunteer, you may be refused boarding for safety reasons.

At most airports within the European Union, you should be able to find clearly marked Call Points where you can announce your arrival at the airport you are flying from and ask for assistance.

Recommended that you arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight leaves to make sure that there is time to get the assistance you need.

Mobility

If you are a wheelchair user travelling with your own chair, you should not leave it at check-in. Ask to keep it right up to the door of the aircraft

If you have a disability or reduced mobility you can bring, free of charge, 2 items of mobility equipment (for example wheelchairs, sports wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches, etc.).

We will also carry free of charge any medical equipment that you need to have with you.

You must pack these items separately from any other luggage that you want to check in and you must provide a doctor’s certificate confirming that you need these items for the duration of your time away from home.

They have special ‘boarding chairs’, designed to fit down the aisle of the plane.

The assistance providers will take you to your seat and stow your hand luggage in the overhead locker.

If the plane is leaving from a remote stand (away from the terminal building), there will be stairs from the ground to the door of the plane. If you cannot manage stairs you will be taken to the plane in a vehicle called an ambulift, which can be raised up to the height of the plane door so that you can transfer into a boarding chair in the cabin of the ambulift and be taken to your seat.

However you get on board, your own wheelchair should only be taken from you at the door of the plane and loaded straight into the hold. You will get it back at the door of the aircraft when you arrive at your destination.

If you can manage steps and stairs but need help with the long distances in some airports, you will be given a ride in an airport buggy or in a wheelchair to get to your departure gate.

It is important to note that cabin crew cannot provide assistance with eating, drinking or taking medication. Nor can they give assistance in the toilet or any other form of personal care (although our cabin crew can help you get to the toilet). If you need help with any of these activities, you should travel with a companion.

If you want a different seat to the one you have been allocated, but you do not need it because of your disability, you will be asked to pay for it on the same basis as other passengers using our allocated seating system.

There are also some extra support systems that you can bring and use:

  • Crelling harness;
  • Burnett body support;
  • Travel chair;
  • Child car-seats;
  • CARES harness.

Cabin crew will be able to assist you to get to/from the toilet door but they cannot give you any assistance using the toilet. You should also note that they do not carry on-board wheelchairs so can only help you reach the toilet if you do not need a wheelchair.

With this in mind, it is important to check the scheduled length of your flight when planning your journey. Currently the longest scheduled easyJet flight is 6 hours.

It is very helpful when you are booking if you specify the type of wheelchair, its dimensions, its weight, and whether it is foldable.

Wet-cell batteries: these are not allowed on board easyJet flights

For chairs with dry-cell or lithium batteries:

  • the battery can remain attached to the wheelchair provided that it is secure;
  • the terminals do not need to be disconnected if they are already inside a cell case or isolated (to avoid any short circuits);
  • the motor must be disengaged.

Visual Impairment

Assistance is available for blind or partially sighted people at all departure airports from the moment you arrive to the time you take your seat on the plane.

The same service is available to help you from the plane, through baggage reclaim and immigration to the point where you leave your destination airport.

On board the plane, the cabin crew will explain to you where your seat is located in relation to the emergency exit and the toilets, help you with food and take you through the safety briefing individually.

If you are travelling with a guide dog, please let them know in advance so we can make sure that you have a suitable seat with as much space as possible for the dog.
The dog must not obstruct the aisle at any time and cannot be allowed onto a seat.

Guide or assistance dogs will only be permitted to travel if you are in possession of an official document provided by a recognised assistance dog training organisation. This must confirm that the dog is a fully-trained assistance dog or is under the control of a trainer.

The dog must also be wearing a standard identifying jacket or harness.

Please note that on international flights between the EU (plus Croatia, Norway and Switzerland) and the UK, guide or assistance dogs are subject to the UK Pet Passport Scheme. It is your responsibility to ensure that your guide or assistance dog fully meets the requirements of the Pet Passport Scheme.

Hearing Impairment

The cabin crew has been trained to communicate with passengers who are hearing-impaired. Some cabin crew members may also be able to communicate in British Sign Language.
Let them know in advance if you need any additional assistance in understanding the safety briefing or with any other aspect of the journey.

Complaints

EasyJet contact form

Virgin

Contact Telephone: 0844 412 4455

If you need any form of assistance:

 

Mobility:

Sticks, crutches and walking frames can be taken on the aircraft free of charge and will not count towards your free baggage allowance (unless they’re being carried on behalf of someone that’s not travelling).

You can usually take mobility aids into the cabin with you.

On occasions where there’s nowhere to store them, the cabin crew will need to place them in the hold. If this is the case on your flight, the crew will be happy to assist you to and from your seat.

Collapsible manual wheelchairs may be carried within the cabin on any aircraft that has dedicated storage space.

If there isn’t storage space and your manual wheelchair needs to go in the hold, you can check it in either at the check in desks or the departure gate. Detachable items such as seat cushions and footrests will be checked in and loaded with the wheelchair.

If you are travelling with a electric wheelchair the first thing to do at the earliest opportunity is for you to contact our Special Assistance team.

The electric mobility aid must be able to be loaded through the cargo doors and not exceed the loading limits of that aircraft. In the event of last minute aircraft changes your electric mobility aid may not be able to travel on your planned flight.

There must be sufficient space available on the aircraft when your booking is made. As mobility aids come in different shapes and sizes they can’t specify exact limits that each aircraft type can carry.

The batteries of the electric mobility aid must comply with all dangerous / hazardous goods regulations. Check here for the rules about removing batteries for flight.

Your electric mobility aid must be able to be prevented from inadvertent operation or short circuit. One way you may consider to achieve this is by using an inhibitor plug

It would be a great help if you could arrive at least 90 minutes before your scheduled time of departure, so we can prepare your wheelchair for your flight.

You will often be able to stay in your wheelchair/mobility aid until you get to the aircraft – if not, you’ll be able to use a wheelchair provided by the airport after checking your wheelchair in. This process differs between airports around the world.

On landing, whenever possiblethey’ll have your wheelchair/mobility aid ready and waiting at the aircraft doors. However, you may have to reclaim it at the baggage hall – in these instances an airport wheelchair will be made available until yours can be reclaimed.

If you have mobbility issues you may want to use a seat with a moveable aisle armrest. On most of our aircraft these are at every seat in the Economy cabin that is not at bulkhead or exit.

On the 747-400 fleet, (5 aircraft primarily operating our Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow routes) the moveable armrests are only at rows 26C-27C/29C-37C/30H-37H and 31DG-37DG. On their A330 fleet our Premium Economy seats on the left side of an aisle have moveable armrests.

If you have difficulty walking up and down stairs quickly, you won’t be able to sit on the upper deck of our Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

If you or someone you’re travelling with needs spinal support or posture control to sit upright, we can provide Burnett Body Support

If a Burnett Body Support or travel chair won’t meet your needs, you can bring the CARES harness or the Crelling harness yourself.

The level of accessibility of the onboard toilets depends on which kind of plane you’re flying on:

  • Our Airbus planes operating long haul routes are equipped with one fully wheelchair-accessible toilet
  • Our Boeing 747-400 aircraft have partially accessible toilets
  • Aircraft operating our Little Red service have partially accessible toilets

Cabin crew will be happy to help you to and from the toilet door, but they cannot assist inside the toilet itself, for hygiene reasons.

Hearing Impairment

If you’re travelling alone, you can arrange to be escorted through the airport and pre-boarded before other passengers to make things easier. Just let the Special Assistance team know

If you’d like one of the cabin crew on your flight to have sign language skills, it can be arranged. Please bear in mind this can take up to 6 weeks to organise.

All our aircraft carry neck loops, which work in conjunction with the ‘T’ switch on a hearing aid, so you can enjoy the audio entertainment onboard. There is also a selection of captioned movies available throughout your flight.

Visual Impairment

Can also be escorted through the airport

All our aircraft carry a safety information booklet, which has generic safety information in large print and on the other side of the booklet the same information is printed in Braille.

To be allowed to stay with you in the cabin of the aircraft, your assistance dog should have formal identification from the UK Department of Health, and be qualified by one of the following organisations:

  • Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
  • Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  • Support Dogs
  • Dogs for the Disabled
  • Canine Partners

Complaints

To contact Virgin with a complaint use this Virgin contact form.

If you know of anything that would be worth adding to this guide or any comments at all please get in touch with us. Hopefully we can get all the relevant information in one place!

Leave a Reply

  1. Eric Gray Buffalo NY

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and detailed information you offer.
    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that
    isn’t the same old rehashed material. Excellent read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. Diane Brook

    Just an added piece of information regarding Ryan Air. They will only accept four disabled passengers per flight. That includes anyone with learning difficulties such as Autism who may be physically able. Therefore very important at the time of booking to let them know you will need assistance. I travelled with them last summer, they were very supportive getting on and off the plane. I was able to take my wheelchair to the cabin door which was really helpful. However, I have powered wheels on a manual chair and they wanted masses of information regarding them at the airport, even though I had emailed through all the details. So get it all in writing and take the email confirmations with you plus your manual for the chair. The seating is very cramped and not ideal if you have mobility issues.

  3. adam

    Great read, thank you very much for making my airline choice alot easier.

  4. Mrs. C. Erasmus

    This is one of the most useful sites I’ve found. Thank you for doing this. Please, do you have this type of complete information for KLM &/or DELTA? I’ve read everything on their individual web sites but your information is more complete. Thank you in advance for any additional information you provide for me.

    1. Fiona Jarvis

      We will try and find more information on KLM & Delta. But it may take some time!

  5. Julie Paton

    I’m wondering how I’d travel on a package holiday, where it uses one airline going out and another coming back, plus how to get up the steps!
    My chair doesn’t fold and at £3K I wouldn’t want it thrown in the hold.
    This is why I’ve stopped going away.

    1. Fiona Jarvis

      A tricky one and that’s why I always book airline and hotel/villa separately. With regard to putting things in the hold there’s no obvious solution other than a strong carry case – if that exists?? Mine goes in the hold and no problems so far regarding damage.

  6. MaxListing Owner

    This comment was posted on our Facebook page by Allyson Bottrill:

    “Don’t know what feedback you have re airlines but flew with flybe at the weekend from Birmingham to Edinburgh. Birmingham assistance staff very attentive and efficient and the cabin crew on flybe equally so. At Edinburgh a minibus met me and took me to the arrivals entrance again very efficient and attentive. Ten out of ten for all of them”

  7. “So great you’re getting out the house” – Tips for traveling as a disabled person | Scope's Blog

    […] websites like Euan’s Guide (which Professor Stephen Hawking endorses) and the brilliant Blue Badge Style offer some invaluable advice, and there are always people online to ask for tips and pointers like […]

  8. 'So great you're getting out of the house..' - Sophie Morgan

    […] websites like Euan’s Guide (which Professor Stephen Hawking endorses) and the brilliant Blue Badge Style offer some invaluable advice, and there are always people online to ask for tips and pointers like […]

  9. David Nicholson

    Monarch Airline. I have a couple of questions.

    I am clear that my wheel chair will be carried in the hold.
    Will my walking frame also be carried in the hold F.O.C.

    Can I book my own choice of seat or will it be allocated at check in. If I book my own seat what restrictions apply (Emergency exits etc)

    My flight is Spain>Uk

    Thanks in anticipation.

    1. Fiona Jarvis

      I’m afraid you have to contact Monarch directly. All we can say is most airlines let you take your frame on board and there should be no charge. Usually all equipment is carried FOC. You generally cannot sit in emergency exit seats. Do tell us how you get on!

  10. Tina Shands

    Great blog. Thanks for the information.

  11. Susan

    Excellent imformative guff. I am thinking of travelling to the US. Can someone tell me whether British Airways or Virgin have disabled failities in either business or first class, as I would need to have bed rext on a long haul flight?. Their spec only seems to mention Economy or Premium Economy.

    1. Fiona Jarvis

      We’re not sure about this but another frequent traveller with a disability recommends Virgin. I think it will depend on the type of plane so I think you will have to call them.

  12. aeonline

    I have booked a flight with BA. I called about taking a wheelchair onboard, they require it to be booked ahead of time. All these details were requested by phone: make and type of wheelchair all dimentions and weight.