Access to Air Travel
All airports and airlines in the European Union are required to provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility. A passenger may have reduced mobility because of their age, an illness or a temporary disability, for example a broken arm or leg.
This assistance is provided to ensure air travel is as convenient for passengers with a disability as it is for passengers without a disability.
- If you have a physical disability, a learning disability or reduced mobility you are entitled to assistance at all stages of your journey, right from the point of booking your ticket. 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.
What is special assistance?
- Airlines and airports are required to offer help to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility at different stages of their journey. Examples of special assistance including helping passengers check in luggage, assisting passengers travel through the airport and helping passengers to board and disembark the plane.
- Assistance will only be provided if you request it. The assistance you receieve should be appropriate to your needs and must be provided free of charge.
- Staff providing the assistance will have been trained to meet your specific needs.
For detailed information on your rights and responsibilities including how to request special assistance when travelling by air download a copy of the Consumer Council's Access to Air Travel Guide. The guide can also be downloaded in an audio format and in an easy read format for people with a learning disability.
What if things go wrong?
If you are dissatisfied with the service provided by an airline or aiport, you should raise the issue with a member of airline or aiport staff immediately. This will allow the airline or airport to respond to your issue quickly and hopefully resolve it.
If you are still not satisifed with the assistance received, report your complaint to the management of the airline, airport or tour operator.
If you remain dissatisfied with the response provided, please do not hesitate to contact the Consumer Council. We have the power to investigate the matter on your behalf.
Alternatively, if you do not feel comfortable with raising the complaint with the airline or airport yourself you can contact the Consumer Council in the first instance.
You can send details of your complaint by clicking here or alternatively you can contact us on freephone 0800 121 6022 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us to the following address:
The Consumer Council
116 Holywood Road
If you want to receive further guidance regarding your rights and responsibilities or any other air travel issues please contact us and we will be happy to provide assistance.