How to request assistance
If you’re travelling with additional assistance requirements, we can provide airport assistance for passengers with a disability. Just let us know the type of support you require at least 48 hours before your flight departs. Then, on your day of travel, follow our tips to help ensure a smooth journey.
- If you want to make a new booking and you’re travelling with a disability, our Accessibility Team can provide support and advice. Customers outside of the UK will be directed to their local support team.
- Once you’ve booked your flights, log in to Manage My Booking to let us know the type of assistance you need. Select the blue menu bar at the bottom of the page labelled ‘Manage My Booking’ and then choose the ‘Request assistance’ option. You will then be able to select the support that you require.
- You must do this at least 48 hours before your flight is due to depart to give us time to make arrangements. If we don’t receive advance notice that you need assistance, you could experience delays with the service that you need during your journey.
- Choose the type of assistance you need. We offer assistance if you are hard of hearing or deaf, have low vision or are blind, or if you have non-visible disabilities or mobility issues. You can find out more about the help on offer from 'What assistance is available?' or by speaking to our Accessibility Team. This applies to UK-based customers only.
- On your day of travel, please arrive at the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time for long-haul flights and two hours ahead of short-haul flights. You’ll be able to tell our Assistance team more about your specific needs.
We no longer accept Frequent Traveller Medical Cards (FREMEC) as you can arrange the most appropriate assistance through Manage My Booking.
If you have any questions about British Airways’ disability assistance offering or need any further help, please contact us.
Tips for a smoother journey
- Please arrive at the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time for long-haul flights, and two hours before short-haul flights. This is so we can provide you with the best possible service.
- Allow sufficient time for each stage of your journey according to your needs, and factor in potential delays at busy periods.
- On arrival at the airport, please approach the Assistance desk, or use the customer help points to call the Assistance team. Please ensure you arrive on time to avoid any delays.
- If you no longer need assistance, let us know as soon as you can. You can cancel any assistance you’ve booked on ba.com via Manage My Booking.
- If you’re a member of our Executive Club, you can add additional assistance to your account. When you enter your Executive Club number to connect it with a new booking, your additional assistance requests should automatically appear against your passenger details. Please check this has happened by reviewing your trip in Manage My Booking. This is also the only place you can make changes before you travel.
- Any new assistance requests added to your account will not transfer to existing bookings, so you’ll need to request assistance for each existing flight via Manage My Booking.
- If you're travelling to or from London, you can find more information about accessibility and mobility at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports.
- More airport information including services, facilities and link to maps.
- Find out more about travelling with a medical condition.
If you have any questions or need further help, please contact us.
Key travel information
- If you're travelling with wheelchairs or mobility aids for your own use, you can take them with you as hold baggage in addition to your free baggage allowance.
- If you need to check any essential medical equipment or supplies that will exceed your baggage allowance, you’ll need to provide a medical doctor's letter that lists the equipment and supplies that you’re carrying and your flight details. This should be presented to airport check-in staff to avoid excess baggage charges. Find out more about travelling with medicines, medical supplies and medical equipment.
- Attach a bright ribbon, tag or strap to your bags so they're easier to spot on the baggage carousel.
- If you're checking in your wheelchair, attach a tag with your contact details to it.
You may be able to reserve your seat if you have a specific seating requirement because of your disability. In most cases you can select your seat in Manage My Booking, but you may need to contact us in certain circumstances, like if you have a non-visible disability. This is so we can ensure we’re supporting you in the best way possible.
This is what you need to do:
- Book your flight
- Let us know about your assistance needs at least 48 hours before your flight departs through Manage My Booking. If you don't give advance notice, you could experience delays with the service that you need.
- Once you've completed your request for assistance using the ‘Request assistance’ tab, please return to Manage My Booking.
- Select the ‘choose seats’ tab within Manage My Booking to confirm whether you're able to reserve your seat. If you need any help, please contact us.
A few more useful details
You can find out more about specific travel requirements in the next section. Here's some general information to help you make an informed choice:
- The seats, cabin layout and personal space vary depending on the cabin and aircraft you're travelling in.
- On flights within Europe, we use a divider between the Club Europe (business) and Euro Traveller (economy) cabin. This means that the first row of seats in Euro Traveller are not bulkhead seats. Bulkhead seats on short-haul flights are only available in Club Europe.
- Many of our seats have moveable armrests. Take a look at our seat maps before you choose your seat.
- Armrests are lowered in First and Club World, our long-haul business cabin, when seats are moved to the fully flat bed position.
Our new Club Suite has a high wall to provide greater privacy. Customers in this cabin should be able to move independently, for example from a wheelchair to a seat.
You can check in online 24 hours before your flight departs, unless you're travelling with your assistance dog in which case you will need to check in at the airport. There are two ways to check in online:
- Go to Manage My Booking, check in and print your boarding pass
- Use the free British Airways app to check in and download your boarding pass to your mobile device.
At the airport
You can also check in at the airport on your day of departure. Please arrive at least three hours before your scheduled departure time for long-haul flights and two hours before short-haul flights so we can provide you with the best possible service.
If you're travelling from London Heathrow:
- Terminal 5: There's a designated check-in desk in Zone E in Departures. If you're arriving by car, follow the signs for Departures leading to the top of the building. The nearest drop-off point is at the second pedestrian crossing.
- Terminal 3: The British Airways check-in area is located in Zone D in Departures.
Depending on the cabin you're travelling in, you can use the Fast Track Security lanes where available.
You're welcome to board the aircraft ahead of other customers. We'll make a pre-boarding announcement at the departure gate and if needed, will help you get to the aircraft and to your seat. If you wish, you can notify a member of staff at that gate that you wish to board the aircraft first.
We'll be able to assist you in leaving the aircraft as soon as other passengers have disembarked and the service provider has arrived. This usually takes at least 15 minutes.
If you can't use stairs and the aircraft needs to park away from the terminal building, we can arrange for step-free access with the airport operator. Please let us know at least 48 hours before your flight departs through Manage My Booking.
On board our long-haul flights, you can choose from a wide variety of films, TV programmes, audiobooks, podcasts, music and games. We also offer different entertainment options for our younger travellers.
We provide headphones that are compatible with hearing aids switched to the T-position to amplify the sound. On most of our flights you can also select some films with closed captions/English subtitles or audio descriptions.
The majority of our aircraft offer accessible toilets but they're not large enough to accommodate wheelchairs. However, on board our Airbus A380 we're able to offer two wheelchair-accessible toilets on the upper deck and one on the main deck. On our Boeing 787 aircraft we are able to offer one wheelchair-accessible toilet.
Please remember that you will need to be able to look after your personal care in the toilet. Our cabin crew won't be able to help with this.
Find out more about the on-board toilets in our fleet guides.
Everything you need to know about flight connections with British Airways, including travelling between London airports.