Airport assistance query

I'm going on holiday in a couple of weeks and have sorted out airport assistance for the first time. No idea how this service works, however. Can anyone give me a few notes on how this works? Do they just take you through security and leave you to do your own thing? We usually go for something to eat and Hubby and the kids wander round the shops and stuff before boarding. A friend told me she gets taken to a kind of "holding area" but that's just for short internal flights, so I'm hoping it's not the same for flights abroad. Any advice? Thanks Huggs xx

20 Replies

  • I'm pretty sure if you give them a phone, they will be able to go into detail as to what is available to you :) xxx

  • Thank you for the reply. Have you used the service before? They phoned the other day to inform me that I had to get a letter from my doctor listing all my medication as i will be taking it in my hand luggage. I didn't even think at the time to ask about specific details. D'oh!! I'll give them a phone tomorrow. Was just wondering if anyone on here had any personal experience/advice to pass on. :-)

  • I haven't used them personally. I do hope that they are able to help you. I have heard they are pretty good though x

    Take care and big hugs :)

    Elizabeth xxx

  • Thanks Elizabeth, I'll give them a call and find out more info about it. Lorraine xx

  • Oh btw when you ask doc for letter re meds also get then to write you are well enough to travel

  • Its brilliant. They fast track you through checkin and passport control then tKe you to a sectioned area to wait for confirmation of gate but you dont have to stay there you can go eat, shop. Then go back to wait area and someone will take you to gate or you can meet assistance at gate toget on plane. They are so friendly and you get treated like a vip. So much more relaxing for you and the family. Have fun, enjoy.


  • I have never used it myself but I want to genuinely and sincerely wish you all the best of luck with this.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • At Newcastle you sign in at the main desk area for outward bound - At this point all you luggage is labbelled and if you are in a wheel chair they will suggest either putting chair in hold now or going to assistaNCE DESK THEY WILL SWAP CHAIR FOR ONE OF THEIRS AND YOURS WILL GO ON THE BAGGAGE CONVEYOR.

    You wait at assistance and a porter will take you up to go through security. In an assistance chair you whizz past everyone (they dont like it)

    Then you are taken through to the waiting area for bording for your flight! Last time this was yhe easiest way Boarding and assistance people are taken through first and up in this fasinating lift into the plane - you walk if you can the last fifteen yards in to the plane. You are given your seat.

    Arriving at airport you have to wait for the assistance guys to take you off and through customs. If you are joining a bus you might be last on!

    Hope thi s helps I found amazing :)

  • Thank you so much everyone. I can relax a bit now. Well relax about that bit anyway...just have to organise everyone for going on holiday now Lol

    Thanks again Lorraine xx

  • Just one warning if you are travelling in Europe - Disabled Assistance usually works well at the UK end but can be variable abroad. I came back from Rhodes to find there was no wheelchair available at the airport, and they just shrugged their shoulders when I said I'd requested assistance. After that I bought my own wheelchair .....

    The other thing we find difficult is managing both wheelchair and luggage - when you first arrive at the airport and before you connect with the assistance people. Sometimes I can manage to push the wheelchair while himself does the luggage, but otherwise he has to leave me with chair and suitcases while he goes in search of the assistance. Allow plenty of time for all this!

  • Thank you. We're always at airport in plenty of time. My hubby travels a lot for work and likes to be there extra early when we go on holiday.

    We're going to Crete, fingers crossed they don't have the same service as Rhodes then. I'll let you know.

    Lorraine xx

  • Assistance depends on airport flying from. Gatwick set up is wonderful. There is a booth, clearly marked at Departure entrance - check in there. They will provide wheelchair assistance through check-in desk and then security. Once through they will pass you to the internal Assistance - where if there is some time before departure of your flight you can get a pager so you can go for a meal or whatever. Then they will page you to return to desk so buggy can then take you to aircraft. If you then need lifting to aircraft this can be done by a special hydrolic lift. Just let them know the level of assistance required. Have a lovely holiday.

  • Totally agree with Sandiel. The setup varies according to airport. Mostly the UK outbound is great. The main issue is the foreign airport which is unpredictable, and ensuring the return journey is also noted on their systems. We have found there is often a breakdown in communication between airport/ operator and plane. This often happens if flying back at night. Best is to get written confirmation, i.e. by email, and take it with you. This way you can show them if they claim to have 'no record'.

  • I recommend booking for a higher level of assistance than you need - long story.

    As already said, varies by airports outside UK (Madrid is appalling, avoid at all costs, also avoid Iberia - a BA partner). If possible write down instructions in languages you're not fully conversant with, obvious reasons.

    Enjoy and be kind to yourself :-)

  • I have flown all over the USA and Hawaii with oxygen concentrator. I always get a wheel chair (pre-ordered when booking flight). It is wonderful because the attendants take me in the chair through security, etc. no long waiting lines. They will take me to the bathroom, etc. loaded on plane first too.

  • Thanks for all the kind responses. I am feeling much calmer about it now. I am going to phone them tomorrow to ask for written confirmation to take with me and to run through the details for the return journey just to make sure all ok.

    I always loved the airport at holiday time but over the past few years it has filled me with dread, so hopefully I can start getting excited about it again!! :-)

    Thanks again Lorraine xx

  • i have used assistance at the airport several times. my experience is mostly good but it is not consistent everywhere you go, as others have said. in Europe it can be a little slow and haphazard but uk is generally good. once you get to airport check in at assistance desk and they do the ret, sometimes though you have to go through normal checkin first.

    if you only have hand luggage then its straight to them. they get someone to take you through security and into a holding area, you are left to do as you please until a given time ,(which they will have told you) they come back and take you through to the gate via their own route, as you may be in an airport that has steps and long corridors etc - they will use short cuts and lifts. once at the gate (before everyone else) you will wait for boarding. the gate will be opened to you before everyone else and you will go to an ambilift vehicle that will take you to the aircraft and lift you on board, once aboard you will go to your seat. everyone else boards as usual.

    at the other end you will wait til all others are off and the ambilift will come to take you off return you to the airport building and out through the passport control onto the arrivals lounge to depart the airport. they may even take you to the taxi rank or car hire as well.

    they treat you well and are as helpful as possible. but some countries are a bit lax about things, and you may wait a very long time for things to happen.

    the first on last off policy is the hard bit, the waiting you always feel that they forgotten you.

    anyway I hope that explains the service, though I see others have also told you of their experiences. good luck and safe journey.

  • I have used the Assistance service flying from both Gatwick & Heathrow and have fond them to be a great help. I use my wheelchair all the way to the gate and then get it back very quickly at my destination.

    I have flown to the USA and received wonderful service there and just recently returned from a week in Italy, flying back from Milan-Linate.

    It often amuses me to see everyone fighting to get off the aircraft a quickly as they can whereas I wait. I then get fast tracked through immigration so pass them queuing as I get the luggage.

    I do agree that there is one gap that needs to be filled and that is baggage handling. What is the use of having support being pushed in your wheelchair if you are then left to get the cases from the carousel. My wife has a stomach hernia and we really struggle between us.

    I hope that you have a great time on your travels.

    Best wishes,


  • Works great. I get collected from check in, taken to a quite place until it's time to board, taken to the gate and helped onto the place. (pre boarded), helped to make connecting flights,etc. I travel; with American Airlines and they are brilliant.



  • I flew fromEast Midlands Airpor tlast year it was great they gave us a big R (rapid) on our boarding passes so we didn't have to queue at all, there was 3 of us who all have problems. We explained that we didn't need wheelchairs but we could not stand for long periods of time. They were great. Naples Airport was horrendous and they didn,t care because we weren't in wheelchairs they sent us back to normal queues. one elderly lady was walking round with her disability badge in the air asking for help.

    I am flying from Manchester this year so will be ringing them to find out their procedures before I go.

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