Transport

Anna
08th June 2018

Access to Air & Sea Travel

Special assistance services available when flying or sailing. 

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Passenger Rights

All airports and airlines in the European Union are required to provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility.

Most ferry companies or terminal operators in the European Union are required to provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility.

All types of disabilities are covered including hidden disabilities such as learning disabilities, autism and hearing loss. A passenger may have reduced mobility because of their age, an illness or a temporary injury, for example a broken arm or leg.

Key Information

You are entitled to assistance at all stages of your journey, from booking your ticket, checking-in and boarding the aircraft, right through to leaving your destination airport at a designated point (eg airport car park, train or bus station or a connecting flight). 

  • The special assistance must be provided free of charge.
  • You should request assistance at least 48 hours before you travel to ensure all assistance needed, including any relevant equipment, is available.
  • An airline can only refuse a booking if the size of the plane or its doors prevents a person from boarding, or for safety reasons, for example, if a passenger who intends to travel alone is unable to fasten or unfasten their seatbelt unaided. 

Similarly when sailing, you are entitled to assistance at all stages of your journey, from booking your ticket, arriving at the terminal, boarding the ship right through to disembarking the ship and leaving the arrival terminal.

  • The special assistance must be provided free of charge.
  • You should request assistance at least 48 hours before their sailing to ensure all assistance needed, including any relevant equipment, is available.
  • The ferry company can only be refused where the design of the ship or port terminal makes it impossible to board the passenger or if carriage of the passenger contravenes safety requirements.

Types of assistance

When travelling by air you are entitled to:               

  • Help points in arrival areas, including terminal entrances, car parks, bus and rail stops so passengers can call for assistance;
  • Help with checking-in, using information screens and getting around the airport;
  • Passengers can request for security screening to be carried out in a private area out of view of other passengers;
  • Help boarding the plane, on-board the plane, disembarking; and
  • At your destination airport – help to retrieve your baggage, through immigration and custom procedures and to a designated point such as the airport; car park, train or bus station or a connecting flight. 

 

When travelling by ferry you are entitled to:    

  • A designated point at the terminal for your to announce your arrival and request assistance;
  • Help with checking-in, going through security and getting around the airport;
  • Help boarding the ferry, on-board the ferry and disembarking.
  • Some ferry companies offer a shuttle bus service to take passengers requiring assistance from the terminal building to board the ferry and also when disembarking. Ask your ferry operator if this available if you would like to use this;   
  • At your destination port – help to retrieve your baggage and to the terminal exit.

For more information on the assistance available, your rights and responsibilities including how to request assistance when travelling by air or ferry download a copy of the Consumer Council's guides: