If you have reduced mobility that poses special requirements during the flight, you must inform your airline at the time of booking.
The airline then forwards these details to the airport, which is then responsible for the special assistance once at the airport. Be as clear as possible about what your needs are during the trip. Without this information, the personnel cannot provide the best possible service.
The right to special assistance at the airport
According to European Union (EU) regulations, people with reduced mobility are entitled to special assistance if the booking has taken place at least 48 hours before stated departure time. If the booking has not taken place within this time frame, you still receive help at the airport although the personnel may not be able to provide exactly the service desired.
Book special assistance if you:
- need special service to get to and from the airport, and for boarding
- use portable oxygen equipment
- are wheelchair bound and use a wheelchair or electric/battery-powered wheelchair
- have imparied vision or hearing, and need direct information
- are accompanied by a guide dog
Pick-up point/meeting point
A pick-up point/meeting point is a place outside or inside the airport building where passengers with reduced mobility can notify of their arrival at the airport, and request special assistance. You are then helped from the pick-up point or check-in hall to the gate, and on board the aircraft to your seat. You can be assisted from either a pick-up point at the airport area, or by the check-in hall.
Prebooked special assistance
Check in advance with the airline how long before departure you need to be at the airport. Large airports have specific personnel who asisst you. At smaller airports, special assistance are carried out by personnel who also have other duties.
Special assistance without prebooking
In order to receive special assistance, you must report to a pick-up point at least two hours prior to the stated departure time, or at the check-in hall at least one hour prior to departure time. In certain cases, the reporting time can be decided in advance by the airline or tour operator in consultation with the airport.
For longer distances, certain airlines may request that people with reduced mobility travel together with somebody who can provide assistance during the flight. On request of the passenger, an accompanying assistant is to be able to provide necessary special assistance at the airport as well as when boarding and disembarking.
Indicate at the time of booking that you are travelling with a guide dog. Also contact the airline well in advance of your departure, since regulations for travelling with a guide dog may vary between different countries.
Guide dogs can most often travel with their leader in the aircraft cabin. The weight limits that apply to standard hand baggage do not apply to guide dogs, nor does it have to sit in a cage when travelling in the cabin. Travelling with guides dog does not incur an extra fee.
Check the regulations in the country of destination
As owner of the dog, you must check which regulations apply for bringing a dog into your country of destination. It is especially important to check which vaccinations the dog is required to have, and applicable quarantine regulations.
Airports are often large and difficult to navigate. Passengers with impaired vision, in the same way as other passengers with reduced mobility, receive assistance at the airport to go from the check-in counters to the aircraft. You will also get help to find the right seat in the aircraft.
Private wheelchairs cannot be taken into the aircraft
State at the time of booking that you use a wheelchair. It is not possible for wheelchair-bound travellers to bring their own wheelchair into the aircraft cabin. The wheelchair is always carried in the aircraft's baggage hold. It is transported at no extra cost, and is not included as part of their baggage allowance.
Remove all loose parts before travelling
Airport staff are careful with your equipment during loading and unloading. Occasionally, equipment and baggage can however be damaged. To minimise the risk of damage, it is recommended that you remove all loose parts from your wheelchair before you hand it over at the airport.
Damaged aids are temporarily replaced
The airport is responsible for the temporary replacement of any damaged or lost aids if the damage has occurred during the special assistance. However, replacements are not always exactly identical to the aids that have been lost.
Electric wheelchairs cannot be carried on all types of aircraft. You must therefore, when booking your trip, state that you have an electric- or battery-powered wheelchair, and also state its measurements and weight.
Only wheelchairs with dry cell or gel cell batteries are approved for transport on board the aircraft. The battery cables must be able to be simply disconnected and attached in such a way so that the electric circuit is not cut off. The battery can remain in the wheelchair.
Wet batteries must be sent as cargo. Lithium batteries are not accepted.
You will be helped to move into a manual wheelchair belonging to the airport once you have checked-in your electric wheelchair.
Check-in staff decide where the wheelchair is to be left. It is often possible to use your own manual wheelchair all the way to the aircraft door. At some airports, the wheelchair must be handed in at check-in. You are then helped to move over to a wheelchair belonging to the airport.
State at the time of booking if you use oxygen equipment. If you have your own oxygen equipment, you must specify what kind of equipment you have. If you are not dependent on oxygen during the entire journey, you do not need to carry your own tubes into the aircraft cabin. An oxygen tube for emergency use is available on board. If you are making a long journey abroad and changing aircraft, ask the tour operator or airline to verify that the batteries and oxygen equipment are approved by the airlines on which you are travelling.
Carefully check different airline regulations
Ensure that the airline you are travelling with allows your equipment on board as different airlines have different regulations. If you are travelling with several airlines, remember to contact each airline.
It is not a problem to pass through security with a pacemaker.
Using the lavatory
Special assistant staff help push your wheelchair to and into an airport lavatory, but do not provide assistance during a visit to the toilet. If you need help during visits to the toilet, you should travel with an accompanying assistant that can help you during the flight as well.
Allergies or asthma
State if you have an allergy or asthma at the time of booking your trip. Certain airlines can ensure that no furred animals are present during your flight.
Certain airlines still serve peanuts. Notify of your allergy at the time of booking your trip, and also the flght attendants when you board. Preferably write down a description of your peanut allergy and the consequences if you are exposed to peanuts. Preferably write in English and hand in to the cabin staff. Ask the staff to forward the information to the captain.
If you have special dietary requirements
State at the time of booking your trip if you are allergic or oversensitive to any particular foodstuff, have diabetes or any other food requirement. The airline can often satisfy your needs. With certain airlines, special diets can however incur an additional cost.
Travelling with medicine
Medicines must always be carried in your hand baggage inside the aircraft cabin. Checked baggage may be destroyed or lost en route, and delays may occur. Medicines in liquid form must be shown when you pass through airport security.