British Lung Foundation
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Wheelchair Assistance at the Airport

HI All

I have always been too embarrassed to ask for wheelchair assistance at the airport,I always manage to get to the departure gate by myself.

But that was 7 years ago,and now my wife say's best safe than sorry,so ask.

I am still embarrassed about it,considering I am supposed to do exercise,which includes walking,but can anyone tell me just how I go about getting the wheelchair,does my wife push me round,what happens when we reach our destination,what about coming home?

So many questions,I know someone will have done it,so could you give me some pointers please.

Many thanks


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13 Replies

Hi Alan

You have to request assistance at the time you book your ticket, I believe a member of airport staff will assist you and do the pushing. Make sure that you say you will need assistance both ways. Travel agent may well advise you on this.

I've not done it myself in a wheel chair but I do know this information is required at the time you book your ticket.

If you've already purchased your ticket a quick call to the travel agent may advise you further.

Happy Holidays

It is best to prebook the assistance with your airline but you can just turn up and request assistance. At Gatwick for instance there is a big assistance sign out side the main doors and you can phone the assitance people and they will bring you a wheelchair and book you in, I also use Alicate Airport and it is the same there, we travel light so my wife pushes me to the gate and then the Airport staff push you to the aircraft. I can usually get through Gatwick going out OK as there are a lot of travelators but coming back the terminal is all up hill from the aircraft to the terminal so I have no chance usually of making that so I ask for assistance when I arrive at Alicante and they book the assistance at Gatwick from there.

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if you are flying from heathrow i have a friend who is in charge of all that so lf you need help let me know

I agree with other members that it's easier to mention your disability at the time the flights are booked.

I flew to Switzerland and back last year with the Assisted Service of both Easyjet and and can heartily recommend it. The staff at both ends of my journey were very understanding, yet professional. You'll whizz through Passport Control and Security which is a big bonus ! Don't hesitate to make use of the service :)

When you book your holiday / flights, advise the airline that you will need assistance at both airports and they will arrange absolutely everything.

Wheelchair will be provided at depature to take you to the gate and as a bonus, as eian said, gets you through all security and other stuff very quickly and also allowed to board the plane first. On arrival, there will be a wheelchair to meet you, which will take you through passport control (very quickly!) and to baggage collection. Mine will also take me out to my taxi if I ask them.

Same thing happens in reverse when you come back home. It really could not be easier or smoother and I have done it many times.

Meant to add that you can ask for assistance on arrival at the airport and also ask the air crew to arrange for someone to meet you from the plane. However, for peace of mind, I like to know that it is all in place before I go.

My dad used to use this service all the time. It worked really well for him. My family and I went on holiday a few times with him and my mum and I remember on a couple of occasions we had to board an aeroplane via stairs as there was no bridge/walkway to the plane. Instead of my dad having to attempt that he was brought up in a lift still in the wheelchair. It was so helpful and took a worry off us as he would have been so distressed if he'd had to climb those stairs.

Oh I should mention that we boarded the plane first and were given front row seats, so it wasn't embarrassing for him at all. My children were peering out the window watching granda slowly coming up into the air...they were so excited! :)

Just returned from my hols to Ibiza and always ask for wheelchair assist as it is much easier and blow the idea you need the exercise! Some of these walks are incredibly long. Has anyone tried getting off at Malaga recently? Try the transfer from Madrid to new Iberia terminal - humungous as it feels like you have walked from London, especially as there is a shuttle train involved too!

If you haven't already booked it, call Special Assistance before you travel and arrange it. I get taken right to the plane usually on an ambi-lift and off the same way each end. Best way for stress free travel.

Have even booked help travelling on the train so that I can get a chair from the platform to the taxi rank, especially when you know it is a long walk.

Enjoy your hols - it costs nothing which is a lovely bonus


Thank you all for the replies,they make me feel a lot better about asking for assistance,which I think I will do.

I will be flying from Manchester,so I hope they have the kind of service you all speak so highly of.


Hello Alan,

I have used this service to and from Manchester several times and it has always been a positive experience. Good luck and enjoy your holiday. Auntymary.

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Hi Alan, I travel out of Liverpool and Manchester regularly using their wheelchair assistance. It has always gone very well until last month when unfortunaately my hubby clicked the "requires help to the aircraft steps" button and unfortunately my breathing was very bad that day but Ryanair made me walk up the steps. This aside it was our fault and I would always ask for assistance when booking my flight/holiday, I even ask for confirmation emails to confirm the booking for the wheelchair. The system is very simple, you arrive at the airport go to the wheelchair assist desk and they will have your name on computer. They put you in a wheelchair take you straight to the front of the queue and from then on you are first class all the way, no waiting around in queues anywhere. In Spain the system is very similar , if not better. Everyone is very kind, no embarressment whatsoever. Enjoy your hols. Maximonkey

Hi All

Thank you for the replies,as usual you have been a fountain of knowledge.

We will be travelling from Manchester to Fuerteventura,probably in October,or whenever my wife can get time off work.

There are 2 questions I must ask.

1) Where is the Wheelchair Assist desk in Manchester Airport,is this the place to go if the Travel Agent arranges a Wheelchair?

2) Do you give the person pushing you round a tip?




The following link will provide you with all th information you need on the airports in the UK

Hope this helps

Happy holiday


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