Call your airline to arrange Special Assistance at the airport
The thought of having to brave an airport whilst injured is enough to fill anybody with a sense of dread. Usually the sheer excitement of going on holiday (or going home) is enough to help us endure the somewhat stressful exercise of getting through airport security but doing this with an injury makes it seem like an impossible task. However, if you call your airline or your travel agent, they may be able to arrange special assistance at the airport to help you get to your destination.
When you can use ‘special assistance’:
- Your journey through your departure airport
- Boarding the aircraft and during the flight
- Disembarking the aircraft
- Transferring between flights
- Travelling through your destination airport
This service is free of charge and usually needs to be arranged at least 48 hours in advance, however if this is not possible then there are multiple help points throughout the airport and your airline will usually have a special assistance desk that you can visit to arrange help. Of course, all the above also applies if you are injured whilst on holiday and travelling home - just call your chosen airline and they will advise you of whether the service can be arranged.
What to expect:
Wave a temporary cheerio to your travel group
If the rest of your travel group do not require assistance, then airports will usually only allow you to nominate one other person to accompany you through security and boarding.
Separate customs and security
Your assistant will help you go through the usual security checkpoints; however, these may be in a separate location to the main security control area.
Perhaps the best part of the Special Assistance service at airports is that you do not need to spend any time standing in lengthy queues. Which leads fittingly onto the final point;
This service will ensure that you are seated safely and comfortably on the aircraft before any of the other passengers board.
What not to expect:
Special assistance to be available via all airlines and airports
As stated by the Civil Aviation Authority it is part of EU legislation that passengers with reduced mobility are legally entitled to the Special Assistance service at airports. Similar passenger rights apply in other countries including the United States, however there are many parts of the world where similar rights are not available, and assistance may require a fee or may not be available at all.
Good airline to equal good service
Whether you’re flying first class with British Airways or economy with Ryanair, this will not make a difference to the quality of the Special Assistance service you receive whilst you’re at the airport. Until you are on the airplane it is the airport, not your airline, who are responsible for the service.
Access to the airport lounges
Most injured passengers requiring assistance will bypass the airport lounge and go straight to the aircraft after they have passed through security control. So, our advice would be to make sure that you are stocked up on supplies as you will most likely not be entering the airport lounge
To get off the plane first
Despite having priority when boarding the airplane, once you have arrived at your destination you will unfortunately have to wait for all the other passengers to depart before the Special Assistance staff come on board to help you get off.
If you are looking for travel insurance and have pre-existing medical conditions, call our travel insurance team on 01243 784000 who will be able to help you find an affordable policy which will take care of you from the moment you book your holiday to when you land in the UK.