Information for disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility

If you have a disability of any kind or your mobility is reduced, for example because of age or temporary injury, there are a range of free services to help you at the airport and on board of the flights within the European Union. We have put together this document to provide answers to questions you may have about your journey, which will help you book with confidence.

Who should I contact if I need special assistance?

We strongly recommend you contact the involved airports and airline directly and request special assistance when you fly, as needed. To ensure such special assistance is available to you, you need to book your flight and request such services at least 48 hours in advance of your departure. If you have trouble contacting the airport or airlines to request such services, please call us at 0203 514 8100, and we will endeavor to notify the airport and the airlines of your request for special assistance. It is really important that you give the airlines and the airports the right and complete information about your needs so they can ensure your trip goes smoothly.

What free services should I expect?

Under the EC no. 1107/2006, if you are disabled or have reduced mobility, you are entitled to receive assistance while in the airport and on-board of your flight, while travelling within the European Union.

At the airport:

Airports within the EU have to make assistance available to help you:

  • get from your point of arrival at the airport you are flying from (car park, station, drop-off point, etc.) to the Bag Drop;
  • go through customs and security to the boarding gate;
  • get on board the plane and into your seat;
  • stow your hand luggage in the overhead locker;
  • get off the plane after landing;
  • store and retrieve your baggage and any mobility equipment;
  • bring you to the point at which you leave the airport.
  • move to the toilet facilities if required
  • reach connecting flights when in transit

At most airports within the European Union, you should be able to find clearly marked Call Points where you can announce your arrival at the airport and ask for assistance. Where a disabled person or person with reduced mobility is assisted by an accompanying person, this person must, if requested, be allowed to provide the necessary assistance in the airport and with embarking and disembarking. Ground handling of all necessary mobility equipment, including equipment such as electric wheelchairs is subject to advance warning of 48 hours and to possible limitations of space on board the aircraft, and subject to the application of relevant legislation concerning dangerous goods. Temporary replacement of damaged or lost mobility equipment may be available, albeit not necessarily on a like-for-like basis. Ground handling of recognised assistance dogs, when relevant.

Assistance on board

  • Carriage of recognised assistance dogs in the cabin, subject to national regulations.
  • In addition to medical equipment, transport of up to two pieces of mobility equipment per disabled person or person with reduced mobility, including electric wheelchairs (subject to advance warning of 48 hours and to possible limitations of space on board the aircraft, and subject to the application of relevant legislation concerning dangerous goods).
  • Communication of essential information concerning a flight in accessible formats.
  • The making of all reasonable efforts to arrange seating to meet the needs of individuals with disability or reduced mobility on request and subject to safety requirements and availability.
  • Assistance in moving to toilet facilities if required.
  • Where a disabled person or person with reduced mobility is assisted by an accompanying person, the air carrier will make
  • All reasonable efforts to give such person a seat next to the disabled person or person with reduced mobility.
Overseas Accommodation and Overseas Transport Arrangements

The majority of overseas accommodation, overseas transport (including transfers) and other holiday services provided overseas are not equipped to cater for the needs of many disabled holidaymakers. Furthermore the natural terrain and the layout of some resorts can sometimes make life difficult for wheelchair users.

It is therefore important, if you have any disability, that the appropriate enquiries are made about the suitability of particular accommodation, resorts, transport and services, and that you are fully satisfied you have made the correct choice before you book and confirm your holiday. If in doubt, please contact us. Please note: if special arrangements need to be made for you an extra charge may have to be levied, this may be the case either before you go or when you arrive in resort. We cannot be held responsible if you fail to tell us about special needs/requirements that will affect your holiday experience and this means we will not compensate you.

Will I need someone to travel with me?

In order to meet safety requirements, the airlines may deny your reservation or require you to travel with a companion for your own safety and that of other passengers. That person would be responsible for assisting you in the event of an emergency if you are unable to help yourself.

Generally, the people who are likely to need a companion are those who:

  • have a severe learning or cognitive disability which prevents them from understanding or reacting to safety instructions; or
  • are both blind and deaf so they are unable to understand and react to safety instructions; or
  • have a disability that prevents them from moving without assistance to reach an emergency exit.

To decide whether you are self-reliant or need to travel with a companion, think about whether you can manage the following activities without help. Can you:

  • fasten and unfasten your seat belt?
  • take out and put on your lifejacket?
  • leave your seat and get yourself to an emergency exit (this does not need to be by walking)?
  • put on an oxygen mask?
  • feed yourself?
  • lift yourself from a passenger seat to an on-board wheelchair?
  • use the toilet facilities unaided?
  • administer your own medicine?
  • breath without being reliant on supplementary oxygen?

If you do need someone to travel with you, that person must be over 18 years old and physically capable of helping you in an emergency. Such person can travel with a maximum of 2 passengers requiring additional special assistance.

If in doubt, please make sure that you contact the airline and ask if you would be required to have a carer travelling with you.

Emergency Exit Seats

Due to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations, any persons with reduced mobility or any physical disability or intellectual impairment cannot be allocated seats adjacent to the emergency exits.

Fitness to Fly Certificate

Some medical conditions require a fitness to fly certificate. If you consider yourself to have a condition that will require your G.P. to give authorisation for travel, please obtain a certificate from your G.P. stating you are fit to travel prior to contacting ourselves. If in doubt please contact us on the numbers shown above.

If there is cause for concern or reasonable doubt as to whether a passenger is ‘fit to fly’ the airline may request medical support in order to make a fair assessment.

Wheelchair Users and Mobility Aids

It is your responsibility to provide sufficient information about your wheelchair/mobility aid and batteries prior to travel. Airlines policies on carrying wheelchairs and mobility aids can be found on their websites or by calling the airline directly or by contacting us.

Assistance Dogs

Airlines are able to carry guide dogs free of charge on many routes, please contact us or the Airline you are flying with for full details.

For more information on Pet Travel Scheme you can call or make contact in the following ways:
PETS help line: 44 (0) 870 241 1710 Monday to Friday – 0800 - 1800
PETS website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/contact-us
PETS e-mail: pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk

Stretchers

Stretchers are not carried on-board Thomas Cook Airlines flights. For other airlines, please contact the airline directly.

Oxygen

For safety reasons customers are not permitted to carry their own oxygen for use on-board. Please contact the airline directly for more information.

Medication

Customers carrying syringes and/or needles must carry a doctor’s note or a repeat prescription as confirmation of medical requirement. Please read the following important advice about travelling with medication.

  • We recommend that you carry enough medical supplies to cover use in-flight, plus sufficient for 2-3 days use upon arrival. The remainder should be packed in the hold, (the temperature of which is maintained between 4 and 5 degrees centigrade).
  • Have a letter from your GP confirming the name and type of medication being carried, with prescribed doses. The letter should state what the medication is for and any other medical items required. For example, syringes or EpiPens, that might otherwise be questioned by local security or customs.
  • The medication should be in its original packaging, clearly pharmaceutically labelled identifying it as prescribed and belonging to you.
  • It is advisable to obtain a repeat prescription from your GP and take this with you when you travel abroad so that medication can be replaced in event of loss, damage or having insufficient supplies.
  • Please be aware that some medication may contain ingredients that are considered illegal in other countries. You are advised to check with the Embassy of the country you are going to.
Needles and syringes

The carriage of needles and syringes is permitted onboard for the treatment or control of medical conditions. However, you must also carry supporting documentation in the form of either:

  • A letter from your GP confirming the type of medication and what it is for. Or,
  • If you do not have a GP’s letter, the medication must have a printed pharmaceutical label identifying it as prescribed and belonging to you.

A "sharps" box to dispose of needles safely and hygienically is available onboard - please ask the crew.

Keeping medication cold

The onboard fridge cannot be used to keep medication cold, (for example, insulin used for diabetes). However, you may bring a cool bag with you.

Liquid medication in hand luggage

The amount of liquid medication you are permitted to take in your hand luggage is subject to current security advice. Please visit the Department for Transport website for the latest information: http://www.dft.gov.uk

Hearing impaired

If you are hearing impaired and require assistance, please contact us or the airline directly (see the ‘Who should I contact’ section above). If required, an escort can be provided to and from the aircraft. Airlines offer separate briefing or subtitled in flight safety video about safety procedures for deaf and hard of hearing customers on-board. If you are hearing impaired, please contact us so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

Visually impaired

If you are blind or visually impaired and are unable to travel without assistance you may need to travel with a care provider who must purchase a seat. The assistance that airlines offer visually impaired passengers may include an escort to and from the aircraft, individual safety briefings, and assistance during the flight. Please contact the airline or call us for specific details.

Expectant mothers

Expectant mothers should be generally accepted without a medical certificate up to the end of the 27th week of pregnancy. Between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy a medical certificate may be required. This must confirm the expected date of delivery and confirm fitness to fly (doctors letter must have been written no earlier than 6 weeks before the outbound date of travel).

Expectant mothers may not be accepted under any circumstance after 34th week of pregnancy.

In the case of a multiple pregnancy the pregnancy should not be beyond the 32nd week at the time of the return inbound flight.

Please contact the airline for its specific policy.

Cruise lines will not accept passengers who have entered their 24th week* of pregnancy or beyond. All pregnant women are required to provide a letter to state both mother and baby are in good health and fit to travel.

Miscarriage

Passengers who have had a recent miscarriage may fly provided that they have had no bleeding or pain for at least 24 hours prior to the date of travel. A letter should be obtained from the passenger's doctor confirming this.

Broken limbs

Any plaster cast must have been set in place for over 48 hours for legs and 24 hours for arms. In the case of a full leg plaster, where the leg cannot be bent, 2 (two) additional seats must be purchased.

Seating

Dependant on the person’s level of the mobility, assistance seating (that is, a seat with a moveable aisle armrest) may be used or alternatively a fixed armrest seat will be used if this is sufficient. The airline will endeavour to ensure that any accompanying person is seated next to the person requiring assistance.

Seat width

We realise that some larger customers, due to their size, often find that aircraft seat width is insufficient for their needs. For your own safety and comfort and that of other customers, you must advise your travel agent at the time of booking if you know or are unsure as to whether the seat size on the aircraft will be sufficient for your needs. If you do require additional space, then subject to availability, you can purchase more than one seat located side by side or if you prefer, a wider seat in an upgraded class (where applicable). We regret however, that due to additional costs incurred by your tour operator, you will have to pay the full cost of all seats required by you, plus any upgrade supplement per seat. For more information on seat width for individual airlines please contact us or the airlines.

If you have purchased an extra seat due to your size, please contact us or the airline directly to ensure the airline is aware.