Your rights in the UK
If you’re a passenger with a disability or reduced mobility you are legally entitled to support, commonly known as ‘Special Assistance’, when travelling by air.
This means airports and airlines must provide help and assistance, which is free of charge, and helps ensure you have a less stressful journey.
Special assistance is available to passengers who may need help to travel such as the elderly, those people with a physical disability, such as wheelchair users, and those who have difficulty with social interaction and communication, such as those with autism or dementia.
Your right to special assistance is stipulated in UK law and applies when:
- You fly on any airline from a UK airport
- You fly on an EU or UK registered airline to an UK airport
- You fly from outside of the UK or EU to the EU on a UK carrier
Passengers who want special assistance should aim to give their airline 48 hours notice of the help they require.
Help is available from the moment you arrive at an airport and can cover:
- your journey through your departure airport
- boarding the aircraft and during the flight
- disembarking the aircraft
- transferring between flights
- travelling through your destination airport.
Outside the UK
Similar passenger rights apply in other countries including the EU and the United States. However, there are many parts of the world where similar rights are not available. Assistance may require a fee or not be available at all.
The CAA’s role
We want to make sure everyone has fair access to air travel. We work with industry to make this happen by promoting special assistance and improving the consistency of the service available.
We also understand that, on occasions, passengers can experience issues with the special assistance service. In such cases, and where the passenger wishes to make a complaint about the assistance provided at the airport or on board the aircraft, we advise passengers to first complain directly to the airline or airport concerned. More information on how to complain can be found on our complaints page.