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Disability and mobility assistance

Preparing for your trip

If you have access needs and require additional help for your journey please let us know at least 48 hours before your flight departs. You can do this at Manage My Booking once you've finished booking your flight:

  • You can select the level of assistance you need (for mobility, visual, hearing or developmental impairments)
  • Tell us if you'd need to take your own wheelchair
  • Amend or cancel your request for assistance

Just find your booking, then go to the bottom of the page and click on the 'Disability assistance' link in the 'Service requests' section.

Manage My Booking

collapsedshowWhat we can do to help you

Once we know what your requirements are, we can liaise with the airport operator and other service providers to offer assistance. This includes help from the moment you arrive at the airport, through check-in, boarding the aircraft, reaching your connecting flight and at your arrival airport.

Depending on your requirements, our cabin crew can help you:

  • Store and retrieve your hand baggage
  • Familiarise yourself with your seat and surrounding area
  • Move between your seat and the washroom
  • Open any packaging of your on-board meal, identify your food and layout on the tray

They will also be able to provide you with essential flight information. On flights to/from the US, they will provide you with all flight information in a way that meets your needs.

collapsedshowWhat you'll need to take care of

During your journey you will need to look after:

  • Personal care during the flight, such as feeding and medicating
  • Personal care in the washroom
  • The needs of your assistance dog

 

You will need to travel with a safety assistant if you need help to do any of the following:

  • Lift yourself, e.g. from/to your seat
  • Reach an emergency exit unaided
  • Communicate with the crew on safety matters
  • Unfasten your seat belt
  • Retrieve and fit a life jacket
  • Fit an oxygen mask
collapsedshowContact us

If you're travelling with British Airways and have any questions, please contact us and we're happy to help.

 

Travelling on other airlines:

  • If you're travelling with our subsidiary OpenSkies between Paris and New York, please contact OpenSkies for your requirements.
  • If your flight is operated by one of our airline or franchise partners, they may have different processes so please contact them directly before you travel. Here's more information when travelling on American Airlines, FinnairIberia or Japan Airlines.

Key travel information

Tips for a smoother journey

  • Please arrive at the airport at least two hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight 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.
  • If you have arranged to meet assistance staff at a particular time, please try and be punctual to avoid any delays during the airport process. If you no longer need assistance, just let us know.
  • If you're travelling to/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.
collapsedshowBaggage
  • If you're travelling to/from the US, you can take 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're travelling to/from any other country, you can take up to two wheelchairs or mobility aids in addition to your free baggage allowance.
  • If you need to take any essential medical equipment with you that will exceed your baggage allowance, please contact our Passenger Medical Clearance Unit (PMCU) to avoid being charged at the airport.
  • 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.
    More about baggage
collapsedshowSeating

There's no charge for reserving your seat if you have a specific seating requirement because of your disability. In most cases you can select your seat at Manage My Booking but sometimes you may need to contact us, e.g. for some types of developmental impairments.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Book your flight
  2. Let us know about your assistance needs at least 48 hours before your flight departs through Manage My Booking.
  3. Once you've completed your request for assistance, the tool will confirm if you're able to reserve your seat for free and tell you how you can do this. If you need any help, please contact us.

A few more useful details

  • You can find more details about specific travel needs, e.g. for wheelchair users, 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 and therefore less accessible than other seats.
  • Many of our seats have moveable armrests – have a look at our seat maps before you start checking in.
  • In First and Club World (long haul business cabin), the armrests don't lift but lower when the seat moves to the fully flat bed position.
collapsedshowCheck-in

Online check-in

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.

At the airport

You can also check in at the airport on the day of departure. Please arrive at least two hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight so we can provide you with the best possible service.

If you're travelling from London Heathrow:

  • Terminal 5: There is a designated check-in desk in Departures, Zone G. 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 third pedestrian crossing.
  • Terminal 3: The British Airways check-in area is located in Departures, Zone D.

Depending on the cabin you're travelling in, you can use the Fast Track Security lanes (where available).

 

Which London airport and terminal

collapsedshowBoarding and leaving the aircraft
     
  • You're welcome to board the aircraft ahead of other customers. We will make a pre-boarding announcement at the departure gate and if needed, will help you get to the aircraft and to your seat.
  • 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.
collapsedshowIn-flight entertainment

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 description.

More about in-flight entertainment

collapsedshowOn-board washrooms

The majority of our aircraft offers accessible washrooms but they're not large enough to accommodate wheelchairs. However, on board our Airbus A380 we're able to offer two wheelchair-accessible washrooms on the upper deck and one on the main deck. On our Boeing 787 aircraft we are able to offer one wheelchair-accessible washroom. 

Please remember that you will need to be able to look after your personal care in the washroom. Our cabin crew won't be able to help in this instance. 

collapsedshowFlight connections

Everything you need to know about flight connections with British Airways, including travelling between London airports.

Flight connections

Additional information for specific travel needs

collapsedMobility and wheelchair assistanceshowMobility and wheelchair assistance

Assistance levels and seating

Once you have booked your flight, please go to Manage My Booking and let us know what level of mobility assistance you need. You can choose from three levels:

Service type Description
Service 1
  • Assistance to and from the aircraft; depending on the airport, this will be either by electric buggy or airport wheelchair
Service 2
  • Assistance to and from the aircraft; depending on the airport, this will be either by electric buggy or airport wheelchair
  • Help with stairs if the aircraft is parked away from the terminal building
Service 3
  • Assistance to and from the aircraft; depending on the airport, this will be either by electric buggy or airport wheelchair
  • Help with stairs if the aircraft is parked away from the terminal building
  • Use of the on-board wheelchair to get to/from your seat and to move around the cabin during the flight. Please note you will need to have enough upper body strength to lift yourself between your seat and the on-board wheelchair, otherwise you will need to travel with a safety assistant who can help you with that.

Once you've completed your request for assistance we will advise on available seating options. If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Travelling with your own wheelchair 

  • Depending on the airport, you can choose whether you'd like to give us your wheelchair when you check in, or use it until you reach the departure gate.
  • To give you plenty of time to board the aircraft ahead of other passengers, please arrive at your departure gate early.
  • We may be able to store one collapsible manual wheelchair in the cabin, depending on available space. This is allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis. Please contact staff at the boarding gate.
  • We have wheelchairs on our aircraft to assist you on board. You will need to be able to lift yourself from your seat onto the wheelchair, or travel with a safety assistant who can help you do that.
  • If you're checking in your wheelchair, attach a tag with your contact details to it.

 

Electric wheelchairs and mobility aids

What information we need

To be able to store your wheelchair or mobility aid (e.g. scooter) safely on board we need the following information:

  • Wheelchair/mobility aid type
  • Dimensions (see table below)
  • Tare (un-laden) weight
  • Number of batteries installed
  • Type of battery (see notes for wet cell/lithium batteries below)
  • Instructions for preventing inadvertent operation (see notes below)

We will always try and place your wheelchair/mobility aid in containers to keep them safe. There might be some instances where we might not be able to carry your wheelchair/mobility aid, for example:

  • If we're unable to prevent unintended operation of the electric mobility aid.
  • If the weight exceeds the loading capacity on our smaller aircraft that are operated by our subsidiary BA CityFlyer to/from London City.

 

Dimensions

We can accommodate the following maximum dimensions for wheelchairs and mobility aids:

Flights to and from
Length Width Height
UK and Europe (except to and from London City and flights operated by Jet Time*) 140cm (55.1in) 85cm (33.5in) 106cm (41.7in)
London City (dimensions for upright position) 74cm (29.6in) 94cm (37.6in) 73cm (29.2in)
Flights operated by Jet Time* 139.7cm (55in) 65.5cm (27in) 76.2cm (30in)
Rest of the world 140cm (55.1in) 85cm (33.5in) 152cm (59.8in)

*Jet Time are operating a selection of flights for British Airways from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Copenhagen until 26 October 2016.


Wet cell batteries 

We can only carry wet cell batteries if they're 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 please bring the manufacturer’s instructions with you to the airport.

 

Lithium batteries

  • If your wheelchair or mobility aid uses lithium batteries and is specifically designed so they can be removed, you must follow these instructions:
  • Remove all lithium batteries according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protect the removed batteries from short circuit, e.g. by covering exposed terminals with electrical tape.
  • In order to protect them from damage, place batteries individually in a protective pouch and take them with you as hand baggage.
  • The maximum battery size is 300Wh, or for devices fitted with two batteries, 160Wh each.
  • In addition, you're allowed to take one spare battery at max. 300Wh, or two spare batteries at max. 160Wh each.
  • You can then take your wheelchair or mobility aid with you as checked baggage without restriction.

 

Preventing unintended activation

In all cases, we will need to take steps to prevent unintended activation of your electric wheelchair/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 the control panel or
  • By inserting an inhibiting plug (such as an Airsafe™)

Only if none of these options are possible, will we have to lock out operation of the 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).

 

Flight connections 

  • If you'd like to use your wheelchair at the airport you're connecting at, we can arrange to have it delivered from the hold to the aircraft door. Just let us know at least 48 hours before your flight departs.
  • Please allow extra time for it to be unloaded and reloaded onto your onward aircraft. If you're using an electric wheelchair, this process will take longer because the battery needs to be reactivated on arrival and then deactivated before loading onto the next aircraft.

 

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.

 

Travel support systems 

You're welcome to bring your own travel support chair or harness for use during the flight. If you have children between 1-4 years you can use your AmSafe Child Aviation Restraint System.

It's not possible to use travel support systems on all our seats. Please contact us and we'll help you reserve a suitable seat.

collapsedVisually impairedshowVisual impairments

Seating

You can reserve your seat for free at Manage My Booking at any time after you have booked your flight. If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Airport escort

If you're travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through your departure or arrival airport.

 

On board

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

 

Travelling with an assistance dog

We're able to carry a certified assistance dog free of charge in the cabin of all our flights but might need to limit the number of dogs we can carry in the cabin. This service cannot be booked online.

More about travelling with assistance dogs

collapsedHearing impairedshowHearing impairments

Seating

You can reserve your seat for free at Manage My Booking at any time after you have booked your flight. If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

At the departure airport

  • If you're travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through the terminal from checking in to the aircraft door.
  • You are welcome to board the aircraft ahead of other passengers if you prefer. Please contact the staff at the departure gate.

 

On board

  • The safety information on our on-board screens is displayed with subtitles. If you prefer, we can provide individual safety briefings before the flight departs.
  • We provide headphones that are compatible with hearing aids switched to the 'T' position. This will increase the volume and improve sound clarity.
  • More about our in-flight entertainment.


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 airport.

 

Travelling with an assistance dog

We're able to carry a certified assistance dog free of charge in the cabin of all our flights but might need to limit the number of dogs we can carry in the cabin. This service cannot be booked online.

More about travelling with assistance dogs

 

collapsedIcon for learning disabilities.showDevelopmental impairments

Seating

If you have a specific seating requirement, please contact us.

 

Airport escort

If you're travelling on your own, let us know if you want us to arrange an escort to guide you through your departure or arrival airport.

 

On board

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

collapsedTravelling with assistance dogsshowAssistance dogs

We're able to carry a certified assistance dog free of charge in the cabin of all our flights but might need to limit the number of dogs we can carry in the cabin. This service cannot be booked online.

More about travelling with an assistance dog

Legislation

collapsedshowEU regulations

Within the EU, airport operators are responsible for assisting 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 offer the appropriate service, we need to provide the airport operator with advance information about your travel requirements so please contact us at least 48 hours before your flight departs.

collapsedshowUS legislation

We are covered by the US Rule for Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability for any flight to or from a US airport. You can view a full copy of this rule by:

• Asking a member of our staff at any of our airports serving the United States, or

• Contacting the Aviation Consumer Protection Division (US Department of Transportation) using the below details.

 

Adress Contact details and opening hours Website
Aviation Consumer Protection Division


Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings

Aviation Consumer Protection Division

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE

Washington, DC 20590

United States

Phone: (202) 366-2220

TTY/Assistive device: (202) 366-0511

 

Monday to Friday, 08:30-17:00 (EST)

Visit Aviation Consumer Protection Division website and view PDFs
Air Travelers with Disabilities hotline
Toll-free hotline (only available within the US)

Phone: 1-800-778-4838

TTY: 1-800-455-9880

 

Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00 (EST)

More information