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disabilityassistance

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Disability assistance

To help us make your journey as easy as possible please tell us at least 48 hours before your flight departs if you need disability assistance for your trip.

It's easy to do, either at the time of booking your flight or afterwards by using Manage My Booking.

Go to Manage My Booking

If your flight is operated by one of our airline alliance or franchise partners, they may have different restrictions, so please contact us before you fly.

If you are travelling with OpenSkies please contact them for your requirements.

Contact OpenSkies
collapsedMobility and wheelchair assistanceshowMobility and wheelchair assistance

Before you travel

If you have any seating requirements due to your disability please contact us as soon as possible after your booking is made.

Travelling with your own wheelchair

  • At most airports, you’ll be able to stay in your own wheelchair until you reach the departure gate.
  • With available space, we can store one collapsible manual wheelchair in the cabin. Please let us know at least 48hours before your flight departs if you want to do this.
  • To give you plenty of time to board the aircraft, arrive at your departure gate early

Electric wheelchairs & mobility aids

Making your wheelchair/mobility aid safe for transport

To be able to store your wheelchair/mobility aid safely on board we need the following information:

  • wheelchair/mobility aid type
  • number of batteries installed
  • type of battery
  • tare (un-laden) weight
  • dimensions (i.e. length x width x height)
  • instructions for preventing inadvertent operation (see below)

In all cases steps will need to be taken to prevent unintended activation of the electric mobility aid in transport. This may be achieved by switching off the mobility aid and removing the key (if fitted), separating power cable connectors between the battery and control panel or by inserting an inhibiting plug (such as an Airsafe™). Only if none of these options are possible, is it acceptable to lock out operation of an electric mobility aid by performing a sequence of movements of the joystick in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

For more details on many electric mobility aids go to the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA).

Our policy is to try and place wheelchairs/mobility aids in containers but there are limitations as to what can be carried.

Please refer to the following maximum dimensions we can accommodate:

Maximum dimensions
Flights to and from
Length Width Height
Rest of world 140cm (55.1in) 85cm (33.5in) 152cm (59.8in)
UK and Europe 140cm (55.1in) 85cm (33.5in) 106cm (41.7in)
London City 74cm (29.6in) 94cm (37.6in) 73cm (29.2in)

Note: whilst we will do all we can to ensure the safe carriage of your mobility aid, there are some safety factors that could prevent carriage. Examples include:

  • Unable to prevent inadvertent operation of the electric mobility aid.
  • Wheel chair/mobility aid weight exceeds aircraft loading limitations due to limited hold capacity on our smaller aircraft operated by BA CityFlyer.

Mobility aids with wet cell batteries

Wet cell batteries can only be carried if they are used to power a wheelchair. If your mobility aid has a wet cell battery we may have to remove it to carry it safely. It would help us if you could bring the manufacturer’s instructions with you to the airport.

At the airport

You can choose whether to give us your wheelchair when you check in or use it until you reach the departure gate.

If you would like assistance between check-in and your departure gate, please let us know at least 48 hours in advance of travel, so that we can arrange this for you. Depending on the airport, this will either be by electric buggy or airport wheelchair.

You are welcome to board the aircraft first if you want to. We will make a pre-boarding announcement at the departure gate.

Baggage allowances

  • If you are travelling from/to the US, you can bring an unlimited number of wheelchairs or mobility aids in addition to your free baggage allowance, as long as it’s for your personal use.
  • If you are travelling from/to any other country than the US, you can bring up to two wheelchairs or mobility aids in addition to your free baggage allowance.

More about baggage allowance

In the event of loss or damage, mobility aids or any equipment relating to your disability, placed into your checked in luggage is not covered for anything more than the maximum liability under the Montreal Convention. We recommend you have a suitable travel insurance for any equipment you are travelling with.

Safety assistance (companions)

For your own safety, you will need to travel with an assistant if you need help to do any of the following:

  • lift yourself
  • reach an emergency exit unaided
  • communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • unfasten a seat belt
  • retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • fit an oxygen mask

Onboard

All our aircraft have a number of seats with moveable armrests for ease of access. Unfortunately, we will not be able to seat you in emergency exit rows due to safety regulations.

Seat Maps

We do have wheelchairs on our aircraft to assist you on board. Please ask our cabin crew if you like any help with:

  • stowing your hand baggage
  • moving between your seat and the toilet
  • opening any parts of your onboard meal.

Our cabin crew are unable to assist you with personal care during your flight.

At your destination

If your wheelchair has been stowed in the hold, we'll make every effort to return it to you as close to the aircraft door as possible. If this is not possible, we will make sure there is a wheelchair available to assist you to the baggage reclaim area.

We can arrange assistance between the gate and the Arrivals hall if you would like this service. Depending on the airport, this will either be by electric buggy or airport wheelchair.

collapsedVisually impairedshowVisually impaired

Before you travel

You can reserve your seat, for free, at any time after your booking is made.

At the airport

If you are travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through the terminal from checking in through to the aircraft door.

You are welcome to board the aircraft first if you want to. We will make a pre-boarding announcement at the departure gate.

Onboard

If you prefer, we can provide individual safety briefings before the flight departs.

Once you are on board please ask our cabin crew if you like any help with:

  • stowing your hand baggage
  • moving between your seat and the toilet
  • opening any parts of your onboard meal.

Our cabin crew are unable to assist you with personal care during your flight.

Safety assistance (companions)

For your own safety, you will need to travel with an assistant if you need help to do any of the following:

  • lift yourself
  • reach an emergency exit unaided
  • communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • unfasten a seat belt
  • retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • fit an oxygen mask 

At your destination

Let us know if you want us to arrange an escort on your arrival at your destination to guide you through the terminal.

collapsedHearing impairedshowHearing impaired

Before you travel

You can reserve your seat, for free, at any time after your booking is made.

At the airport

If you are travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through the terminal from checking in through to the aircraft door.

You are welcome to board the aircraft at your leisure; however if you would like to, you will be able to board first, just make yourself known to the staff at the departure gate.

Onboard

Our safety information on our onboard screens are displayed with subtitles. If you prefer, we can provide individual safety briefings before the flight departs. The headphones provided in the seatback pack are compatible with hearing aids switched to the 'T' position. This will increase the volume and improve sound clarity.

Once you are on board please ask our cabin crew if you like any help with:

  • stowing your hand baggage
  • moving between your seat and the toilet
  • opening any parts of your onboard meal.

Our cabin crew are unable to assist you with personal care during your flight.

Safety assistance (companions)

For your own safety, you will need to travel with an assistant if you need help to do any of the following:

  • lift yourself
  • reach an emergency exit unaided
  • communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • unfasten a seat belt
  • retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • fit an oxygen mask

At your destination

Let us know if you want us to arrange an escort on your arrival at your destination to guide you through the terminal.

collapsedTravelling with assistance dogsshowTravelling with assistance dogs

British Airways will carry a recognised Assistance Dog free of charge in the cabin on all international flights to/from London Heathrow or Gatwick and on all UK Domestic flights.

An assistance dog is one which has been specifically trained to assist a disabled person and which has been qualified by one of the charitable organizations which meets the full membership criteria of the established international assistance dog organization, Assistance Dogs International, the accrediting body for assistance dog organizations worldwide

More about travelling with an assistance dog

collapsedLearning disabilitiesshowLearning disabilities

Before you travel

If you have any seating requirements due to your disability please contact us as soon as possible after your booking is made.

At the airport

If you are travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through the terminal from checking in through to the aircraft door.

You are welcome to board the aircraft first if you want to. We will make a pre-boarding announcement at the departure gate.

Onboard

If you prefer, we can provide individual safety briefings before the flight departs.

Once you are on board please ask our cabin crew if you like any help with:

  • stowing your hand baggage
  • moving between your seat and the toilet
  • opening any parts of your onboard meal.

Our cabin crew are unable to assist you with personal care during your flight.

Safety assistance (companions)

For your own safety, you will need to travel with an assistant if you need help to do any of the following:

  • lift yourself
  • reach an emergency exit unaided
  • communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • unfasten a seat belt
  • retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • fit an oxygen mask

At your destination

Let us know if you want us to arrange an escort on your arrival at your destination to guide you through the terminal.

collapsedOther disability assistance and useful informationshowOther disability assistance and useful information

Euro Traveller seating

The divider we use between Club Europe and Euro Traveller means that the seats at the front of Euro Traveller are not bulkhead seats – and are less accessible than other seats.

Liability for checked in baggage

In the event of loss or damage, mobility aids or any equipment relating to your disability, placed into your luggage and checked in for travel in the hold is not covered for anything more than the maximum liability under the Montreal Convention. We recommend you have a suitable travel insurance for any equipment you are travelling with.

Checking-in

It is now the responsibility of the airport operators, within the EU to assist anyone with a disability during their time at the airport. This includes intellectual disability or impairment, age or any other cause of disability.

In order to give you the best possible service, we ask that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time.

On arrival go straight to the assistance desk where we can arrange appropriate help for you at the boarding gate.

At London Heathrow, there are hosted assistance desks at the following locations:

  • Terminal 5 – departures level, zone G
  • Terminal 3 – first floor above check-in zones A and B
  • Terminal 1 – departures level, zones A and K

You can complete all security screening and take advantage of pre-boarding the aircraft ahead of our other customers if you wish.

We strongly recommend you advise us at least 48 hours before you travel if you need any assistance, in order for us to notify the airport operator or service provider with this information.

If you have arranged to meet assistance staff at a particular time may we request that you keep to this time to avoid any delays during the airport process. If you no longer need assistance, then please just let us know.

We know that at times you might need to travel at short notice or your plans may change. If you have not been able to notify us in advance of your journey we will do our best to help you as much as possible when you arrive at the airport. During busy periods there may be delays, so please allow as much time as you can at the airport.

Transferring between flights

We recommend the following minimum times to transfer between flights at London Heathrow:

  • for flights within Terminal 5 - 60 minutes
  • flights operating in and out of different terminals - 90 minutes

If you require assistance these times will increase according to your needs so please bear in mind the following information.

In order to respect your privacy and for safety reasons we will ask you to leave the arriving aircraft after our other customers have disembarked. This could be 15 – 20 minutes after the aircraft doors are opened.

For the same reasons you may also prefer to pre-board your onward aircraft ahead of the other customers.

If you have a wheelchair in the hold we can arrange to deliver it to the aircraft door if you would like to use this for the transfer. You will have to allow extra time for this to be done and also extra time for it to be loaded into the hold of your next aircraft.

If you are using an electric wheelchair this process will take longer as the battery will need to be reactivated on arrival and then disabled before loading onto the next aircraft.

In Terminal 5 you may need to transfer between our satellite buildings, and we can usually arrange for you to travel in an electric buggy. The journey can take 10 – 15 minutes depending on the arrival and departure gates.

If your connection is between terminals then accessible buses or a train service are available.

Whilst we will do everything we can to help you to your onward flight, please be aware there might be a delay in assisting you during busy periods. We would always advise you to factor in delay times when making your travel plans.

If you have any other requirements linked to your disability regarding assistance or seating, please let us know at least 48 hours in advance.

Contact us

US rule for non-discrimination on the basis of disability

British Airways is covered by this rule for any flight that begins or ends at a US airport. A full copy of the rule is available for viewing on request at our airports serving the US.

You can also obtain a copy of the rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation directly:

  • within the United States only, call the toll-free hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY)
  • call the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at 202-366-2220 (voice) or 202-366-0511 (TTY)
  • by mail to the Air Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building, Room W96-432, Washington, DC 20590
  • on the Aviation Consumer Protection Division's web site - www.dot.gov/airconsumer

Airport authority responsibility within the EU

It is now the responsibility of the airport operators, within the EU to assist anyone with a disability during their time at the airport. This includes intellectual disability or impairment, age or any other cause of disability.

Airlines should provide the airport operator with advance information so that the appropriate service can be offered. To enable us to pass your request to them, please contact us 48 hours in advance.