Special needs and concerns when you fly
You’ll find important information here for people who have special needs or concerns when they fly – for instance, if you have a functional impairment and require assistance, if you have an allergy or are afraid of flying.
We at Swedavia want everyone to be able to fly. Therefore you can get extra assistance at the airport – so you’ll be able to feel as safe and secure as possible. You can read more here about how passenger assistance works and how you book, pack medicines, check in mobility aids or travel with an assistance dog. You can also read about how it works if your child is travelling on his or her own and get tips if you are afraid of flying. There is also information for you if you have impaired vision or hearing and want to know more about how things work at airports and on board the aircraft.
Please let us know if you have special needs when you book your flight and try to describe what you need assistance with. It is a good idea to book passenger assistance 48 hours before your departure through your airline. The earlier you let us know, the better prepared staff are to assist you – both at the airport and on board the aircraft.
On board the aircraft, the airline is responsible for you as a passenger, and every airline has special rules for each aircraft type. Usually, the larger the aircraft, the better access there is for people with reduced mobility. Small aircraft also have very limited cargo space, so it is difficult to get space for wheelchairs, especially electric wheelchairs.
Do you have a functional impairment that entails reduced mobility and means that you need assistance at meal times and to use the lavatory? Then most airlines want you to travel accompanied by a personal assistant who can help you during your journey. Read more about this below.
If you use a wheelchair, it is a good idea to choose a bag for your hand baggage that fits in your lap since a personal assistant or the assisting airport attendant may have difficulty carrying your hand baggage and pushing the wheelchair at the same time.
If you have a walker, you should show it when you check in so that it gets a baggage tag, you can then use the walker at the airport all the way to the gate. Staff will then take care of the walker and place it in the baggage hold.
Is your hearing impaired so that you need assistance during your journey? Then it’s important that you mention this to staff – both when you book your flight and when you board the aircraft. If you want, you can also book assistance ahead of time. Read more about this under the heading “Assistance service”.
At the airport, you will get information about when the plane departs or lands on information boards and monitors. There are also signs that lead you to the right gate. All of Swedavia’s airports also have assistive listening technology (hearing loop system) available at their information desks.
Cabin crew can personally provide information to you, for instance, about safety on board. There is also an information sheet in each seat pocket with a detailed description of procedures in case of an emergency.
Is your vision impaired so that you need assistance during your journey? Then it’s important that you mention this to staff – both when you book your flight and when you board the aircraft. If you want, you can also book assistance ahead of time. Read more about this under the heading “Assistance service”.
At the airport you will get some information about the flight through announcements on the loudspeaker system. But unfortunately, some airports limit the announcements they make on the loudspeaker system and instead refer passengers to information boards and monitors. Most airports have an information desk with staff that can personally provide you with information, for instance, about your flight.
At some airports, there are also tactile floor markings that lead to a help point or information desk.
Cabin crew can personally provide you with information, for instance, about safety on board.
For instance, you can get an airport attendant to assist you if you have a functional impairment that entails reduced mobility, impaired vision or impaired hearing, or if you feel anxious and have difficulty finding your way in new places. Assistance service is free of charge for people with a functional impairment. People are also legally entitled to the assistance of an airport attendant so that everyone has the possibility to fly. If you do not have a functional impairment but still want an airport attendant, you pay a fee to the airline.
If you are travelling with an assistance dog, it is important that you mention this to the airline when you book your flight. You will also need to:
- ask the airline what rules apply for assistance dogs on the flight you are taking.
- check what rules apply for assistance dogs in the country you are flying to.
- check what vaccinations the dog must have and whether there are any quarantine rules for the country you are flying to.
An assistance dog is usually permitted to travel with you in the aircraft. The dog is not included in the weight allowance for regular baggage and does not need to sit in a cage in the aircraft. There is no additional charge for an assistance dog.
Even if you have a guide dog, you can get assistance at the airport and assistance to get to your seat if you want. Read more about this under the heading “Assistance service”.
Always pack your medicine, including liquid medicine, in your hand baggage since checked baggage can, for instance, sometimes be delayed. If you have liquid medicine in your hand baggage, you simply show this when you go through the security checkpoint. They will screen this together with other hand baggage or use special equipment for screening liquids.
Allergies and special diets on board the aircraft
Are you allergic or hypersensitive to some food or beverage, do you have diabetes, or do you have other dietary requirements? Mention this when you book your flight. Often the airline can give you different food or a different beverage, but in some cases that could mean you pay a fee. Some airlines can see to it that no animals with fur are on the flight you take.
Read more about what allergy-related procedures there are on your airline’s website.
Some airlines still serve peanuts. So if you are allergic to peanuts, you need to tell people – both the airline when you book and the cabin crew when you board the aircraft. You also need to describe in writing your peanut allergy and the consequences if you are exposed to peanuts. It is a good idea to write this in both Swedish and English and leave this note with the cabin crew. Ask them to also give this information to the captain.
Fear of flying
Identify the fear
- Try to recall when your fear of flying started – nobody is born with a fear of flying, and if you can find out how it started, it is easier to deal with the fear.
- Try to identify the fear: Are you afraid because you feel closed in, or is it perhaps the feeling of not having control?
- Think about whether there is another cause of this fear, one that may not be related to flying. It may, in fact, be a completely different stress factor that is causing your fear.
- Do you need help to identify and overcome your fear? There are effective classes to reduce or overcome your fear of flying or flying phobia, using what is called cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
A few weeks before the flight
- Read about planes and air travel. This can make it easier to identify the different sounds and relax.
- Look for information on-line about what you are most afraid of, if you know what that is.
- Go to the airport and get used to the environment, watch aircraft as they take off and land, and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace and quiet without feeling the stress of having to fly.
- Contact the airline you are travelling with. Explain that you are afraid of flying. If you feel safer in a certain section of the airline – for example at the very front, the back or the middle – you can call the airline in advance and ask to be seated there.
- Try different relaxation exercises, or exercises in which you go through the flight process step by step.