Easter holidays are one of the busiest travel times of the year; here are useful tips for disabled passengers who will fly this Easter.
Traveling by air is considered by most a familiar routine. However, disabled people or persons with reduced mobility must carefully plan their journeys to avoid delays and unpleasant surprises.
Reduced Mobility Rights put together travel tips for disabled passengers traveling by air this Easter.
Before you travel:
* Contact your airline as soon as possible, in any case at least 48 hours before your flight. Inform them of the assistance you need. Demand to receive written confirmation or a reference number of your request. Take note of the day, time, and name of the person you spoke to,
* Visit the websites of the airports you will depart from and arrive to in order to become familiar with meeting points and services available to disabled passengers. If available, note down the contact information (phone number) of special assistance services.
* If you travel with a guide dog, please make sure you are up to date with legal requirements (vaccinations, treatments). Please ensure you have your dog papers with you at all times.
At the airport:
* Please make sure to arrive at the airport well ahead of your flight's departure time, best if at least two hours before your schedule departure.
* Remember (print out) the services you are entitled to receive:
At the airport terminal:
Assistance to move from a designated arrival point within the airport terminal to the check-in counter; Assistance with personal and baggage check-in process; Assistance to move from the check-in counter to the aircraft, with completion of emigration, customs and security screening. Assistance to board the aircraft with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate.
On board the aircraft:
Assistance to move from the aircraft door to your seat, help to store and retrieve baggage to and from the overhead locker. Assistance in moving from your seat to the toilet. Assistance to move from your seats to the aircraft door.
When leaving the aircraft:
Assistance to disembark from the aircraft, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate. Assistance to go from the aircraft to the baggage hall and retrieve baggage, with completion of immigration and customs procedures. Assistance to move from the baggage hall to a designated arrival area within the airport terminal building.
Inside the airport terminal, when taking an onward connection:
Assistance to reach connecting flights when in transit, with assistance on the air and land sides and within and between terminals as needed.
In addition to the above, PRMs shall receive the following services:
To be assisted by an accompanying person who can provide the necessary assistance in the airport and with embarking and disembarking. Ground handling of all necessary mobility equipment, including equipment such as electric wheelchairs subject to notification of at least 48 hours prior to the time of departure of the flight. Transport free of charge of up to two pieces of mobility equipment per disabled person or person with reduced mobility, including electric wheelchairs, subject to notification of at least 48 hours prior to the time of departure of the flight. Carriage free of charge of recognised assistance dogs in the cabin, subject to national regulations. To be seated next to your accompanying carer whenever possible (mandatory if PRM is a minor). To the temporary replacement of damaged or lost mobility equipment.
People with reduced mobility and disabled travelers must receive the above assistance. It is unlawful of an EU or U.S based air carrier (or any other air carrier flying from and to the United States of America) or airport managing company or their third party service providers to deny the above assistance in part or as a whole.
What if something goes wrong?
If you are a citizen or resident of the United Kingdom, or you are in transit in the United Kingdom, and you want to complain about a service you are entitled to but you were denied access to, please contact the UK Civil Aviation Authority on 020 7453 6888. Please write this number down. It is always best to take action as soon as a problem arises.
One final thought. Disabled passengers and travelers with reduced mobility must make their voice heard if something goes wrong. Services they are entitled to are not "favours", they are part of paid assistance agreements. Reduced Mobility Rights is available to assist travelers by providing independent information. Please use our contact form to learn more.
We wish all holiday-makers a memorable time this Easter Holiday.