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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. Both airlines and airports should do their best to provide the best service possible and provide passengers with a smooth journey.

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 a UK airport
  • You fly from outside of the UK or EU to the EU on a UK carrier

If a problem occurs with your assistance, you should contact the airline or the airport to resolve the issue or raise a complaint. The airport is responsible from your arrival at a designated point at the departure airport, through the airport as well as assisting you to board the aircraft. The airport at your destination is then responsible to help you disembark the aircraft, through the airport until the designated point at your destination. During the flight it is the airline’s responsibility to assist you.

If you experienced any problems with your assistance which are not satisfactorily resolved after contacting the airline or airport you may be able to take your complaint further. See the How to make a complaint page for further information on this process.

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. Therefore, if your claim is not covered by the UK law you may want to contact authorities in the relevant countries for further information.

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.
Among other projects the CAA monitors the special assistance provided by airports and publishes their findings for the general public to view. You can access their recent reports by searching for ‘Airport Accessibility Report’.