You can find information about flying with a disability on:
- the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website:
- the Equality and Human Rights Commission website:
Information on disabled parking at UK airports is available from:
Make sure you've told the airline about all the assistance and travel needs you and your child will have before you fly. If you have let the airline know you will need help, any airline should offer:
- Assistance in reaching and registering at check-in
- A briefing on emergency procedures
- Help getting on and off the plane
- Help with baggage
- Someone to meet the you at the destination airport
As long as you have given 48 hours notice, you should receive assistance unless there are safety reasons that prevent this.
Page last updated: July 2019
If your child will need assistance on the plane or at the airport, it’s best to let the airline know at least 48 hours before the journey. You may be asked to fill in an Incapacitated Passengers Handling Advice Form (what a terrible name!), or your doctor may need to complete a Medical Information Form. If they have any concerns about whether your child is fit to fly, the Aviation Health Unit can be contacted at the CAA: www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Am-I-fit-to-fly/Guidance-for-health-professionals/Contact-the-Aviation-Health-Unit/
If your child uses a ventilator, the airline will need to be advised well in advance of travelling, especially if they'll need to use it on the plane. Some airlines offer oxygen on-board or alternatively an oxygen concentrator may need to be taken. Oxygen needs to be pre-ordered with the airline and some airlines do charge.
Travelling With A Powerchair
If your child has a wheelchair, check that the airline will carry it in the plane's hold. The airline will need to know its size, weight and battery type. Two pieces of mobility equipment can be carried free of charge from Europe to anywhere in the world, but this may differ on the return flight if it's not with a European carrier. Check in advance with the airline.
Powered wheelchairs need to be made safe before they can be stored. The electrics need to be disengaged and this can usually be done with an 'airsafe plug', which the airport may supply, or you can buy one before travelling. If an 'airsafe' plug can't be used, then the battery will need to be disconnected. A photocopy of the relevant section of the equipment handbook can be useful to help airport staff to do this correctly.
Wheelchair manufacturers can provide an airline battery safety certificate.
Your child may be able to stay in their chair until they reach the side of the plane and then transfer into an on-board wheelchair to access the plane. Manual slings / a hoist may be used to assist a transfer from a wheelchair to an on-board wheelchair or onto the seat on the plane. Cabin crew won’t lift / transfer passengers so once your child is in their seat on the plane, if they need to move during the flight they’ll have to be assisted by you.
If your child won’t be able to access a toilet during a flight and needs to use a device such as a uribag, you need to let the airline know in advance which device it'll be. This is because there may be issues with the safe disposal of the contents from certain toileting devices. The airline will try and assist with privacy while your child is using a toileting device - for example, by holding up a blanket.
If your child needs supportive seating, talk to the airline’s customer services before travelling to make sure that it’s compatible with the airplane seats and seatbelts. Seating options can also be tested out and equipment hired from Tryb4uFly: www.tryb4ufly.co.uk/
You can check where seats are on planes and the amount of legroom available: www.seatguru.com
If you’re travelling with an assistance dog, please see: