Access to Air Travel
People with a disability or reduced mobility are entitled to special assistance when travelling by air. This assistance was established by European law (EC Regulation 1107/2006). The Regulation was introduced to make it easier for disabled people or people with reduced mobility to travel by air and requires airports and airlines to provide assistance to passengers at all stages of their journey.
The Regulation not only applies to people with permanent or physical disabilities but to anyone who has difficulty moving around, for example because of their age or because of a temporary injury such as a broken leg. Click on the links below for more information.
- The Regulation applies to flights starting or finishing within the European Union.
- It applies to the whole process of air travel from booking your flights, arriving at the airport and checking in, right through to boarding the plane and departing at your destination airport.
- The Regulation applies to airports and airlines as well as tour operators and travel agents. Tour operators and travel agents must pass on your specific needs to the airline. Airlines must then inform the departure and arrival airports of the assistance you require.
- Under the Regulation airlines cannot refuse a booking from a passenger on the basis of their disability or mobility impairment. The only exemptions to this are on the grounds of safety restrictions or limitations due to the size of the aircraft. If an airline refuses a booking, they must provide you with the reasons for this and justify their decision.
- In terms of mobility equipment, you are allowed to travel with two items free of charge. Mobility equipment is therefore not considered baggage.
What do you need to do?
Under the Regulation you are required to confirm the assistance you may need at least 48 hours before travelling. It is best to provide this information when booking your flight. It is then the responsibility of the airline or booking agent to let the airport know of your specific requirements.
What if things go wrong?
If you are not happy with the service you receive from the airline or airport you have a right to make a complaint. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, the Consumer Council can assist you further. We are responsible for investigating complaints about air travel for flights departing from or arriving into Northern Ireland. We can also provide general advice and guidance regarding the Regulation.
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 the Regulation or any other air travel issues please contact us and we will be happy to provide assistance.
For complaints regarding departures or arrivals outside Northern Ireland but within Great Britain passengers can contact the Civil Aviation Authority. For complaints regarding departures or arrivals from the Republic of Ireland passengers can contact the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
To find out more information about the assistance disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility are entitled to, download your free copy of the Consumer Council’s guide; Access to Air Travel. The guide is also available in an easy read format for people with a learning disability - Access to Air Travel Easy Read.
Equality and Human Rights Commission Helpline - England
Telephone: 0845 604 6610
Textphone: 0845 604 6620
Equality and Human Rights Commission Helpline - Wales
3 Callaghan Square
Telephone: 0845 604 8810
Textphone: 0845 604 8820
Equality and Human Rights Commission Helpline - Scotland
The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
Telephone: 0845 604 5510
Textphone: 0845 604 5520
The Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC)
55-59 Adelaide Street
Telephone: 028 9072 6020
Textphone: 028 9072 6016
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
7 - 9 Shaftesbury Square
Telephone: 028 90 500 600
Textphone: 028 90 500 589
Enquiry Line: 028 90 890 890