Travelling with a Disability


Every disability is very different and therefore every disabled traveller’s needs will also be different. However, there are some things that many of us with disabilities need to think about before we travel, whilst we are travelling, and whilst we are away on holiday. 

Advanced planning

This is really essential. You will need to do all the usual things that apply to everyone such as consulting your doctor about immunisations etc but you’ll also need to make sure you have any medical equipment you may need, prescriptions to cover you for the duration of the trip including a few spares for emergencies and possibly contact details for nearby hospitals if you may require their services whilst away. You will need to talk to our specialist team about what special assistance the hotel, tour company or transport company can provide you with, specialised accommodation that you may require, specialised car rental or organised seating on planes, any equipment needing hiring, coaches etc. It’s always worth asking about local disabled facilities that are in place where you will be staying too. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure your wheelchair is serviced before you travel too. In short, the more advanced preparations you can do, the easier your holiday will be, and the less likely you are to encounter problems. You may need a letter from authorities to allow you to take certain medications abroad.

Flying with a disability

Flying when you have a disability need not hinder your journey. Many people automatically assume that because someone is disabled it will automatically restrict their opportunities for travel but this doesn’t need to be the case. Yes, if you are disabled then flying can be slightly more complicated, but airlines are now set up to assist disabled travellers. Please inform us about your needs at time of booking so we can organise assistance as most airports and airlines need at least 72 hours notice.

On the day you travel, arrive early – having extra time to organise things can make a real difference. Manual wheelchairs can usually be transported as hand luggage these days, but powered chairs will need to go in the hold. This means that you’ll need to make sure a chair is ready for you when you land so it’s advisable to speak to a flight attendant and ask them if they can radio ahead and arrange for your chair to be ready as soon as you disembark, particularly if you have a connecting flight to reach. Every airport works differently.

Think about what facilities you’ll need aboard the aircraft. Is there disabled access to the toilets, do they provide telecommunication devices if you’re hard of hearing, what documentation is required if you travel with a guide dog or service dog (remember even these dogs are subject to quarantine laws). Will you be required to have an attendant with you due to mobility impairment, severe hearing or vision impairment or mental disability? Can you climb stairs or do you need to be lifted on to the aircraft ? Airlines should always be able to answer these questions and be willing to provide us with the answers.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is vital if you have a disability – if you’re travelling in the EU then you can receive basic medical assistance if you carry an E.I.H.C. card formerly known as an E111 card (EU Residents only), but this only entitles you to the quality of health care which is provided in that country as standard and the standards are not the same in all countries.

Be aware that many policies sold by tour operators don’t cover individuals with pre-existing conditions so we may need to arrange your insurance independently, making sure it covers any specialist equipment you require and that if something like your wheelchair is stolen or damaged you are covered. All Pre-existing conditions must be declared or you will invalidate the policy . We work with Latitudes for our guests with exiting medical conditions.

Whilst You Are Away

There are a number of things which you may need and want to check out before your holiday or trip that relate to the time you spend there. This includes everything from accommodation to day to day activities, excursions, car hire transfers etc. If you don’t check things you may find yourself severely restricted by what you have available to you. 

  • Are there excursions you want to take and will they cater for your disability?
  • How close is the nearest beach with disabled access and facilities?
  • How  accessible are the facilities at the hotel? – is it just rooms that are accessible, or all areas including dining, spa, children’s play areas etc.
  • Are hearing loops in place in your hotel? 
  • Are accessible buses or taxis available or car hire ?
Special Assistance

This page on our website contains information and answers to Questions you may have. Please check the Information below in full and if you would like to speak to our Specialist team about assistance you may need.  Just Contact Us either by phone or by filling in link on contact form by clicking image below.



Passengers with a Disability or Reduced Mobility or Medical condition travelling by Air 

Accommodation and Transport Services Overseas

Under European Law, if you have a disability or have difficulty moving around, you can receive assistance when you fly. This service is available to anyone with Mobility problems, normally provided Free*, e.g. because of a disability, age or a temporary injury. To take full advantage of the service, you need to pre-book at Least 72 hours prior to your departure. If you advise us within 72 hours we will endeavour to provide assistance where possible. Airline Ticket Services Ltd Group are often praised for our assistance by our clients with Reduced Mobility.

Disability Information Form 

Accommodation & Transport Services Overseas

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

It is therefore important, if you have any disability, that the appropriate enquiries are made about the suitability of any particular accommodation, resorts, transport or other 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 may affect your Holiday experience and this means we will not accept any liability.

Who should I contact ? 

We recommend you contact the airline directly for information regarding on board assistance. The Airline will be pleased to answer any Questions or Queries that you may have regarding assistance as long as it is at least 72 hours before your flight.


Alternatively, if you would prefer,  advise us about all the requirements you may have, we are happy to pass the details on to the relevant airline. Please complete the disability information form above. For Urgent Assistance please call our Disability specialists On 0844 74 00 615.

Type of Assistance available on board an Aircraft ?

 The assistance airlines can provide to disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility, includes the following:

  • Assistance moving to and from seats on the aircraft;
  • Providing use of the on-board wheelchair;
  • Helping a passenger to and from the on-board lavatory providing this does not involve lifting or carrying the passenger;
  • Assisting a passenger with their hand luggage on board the aircraft;

Airport Assistance (within the EU)

Airport operators within the EU have a responsibility to assist anyone with a disability or mobility difficulties during their time at the airport. This includes Intellectual disability or impairment, age or any other cause of disability. The airports will signpost designated help points for passengers with reduced mobility. 

Airport Layout

To help plan your journey, we recommend visiting the airport website to find out information about airport layout and walking distances for each terminal. This may help determine the level of assistance you require. Remember to check both departure and arrival airports. It is worth checking which departure / arrival gates may be used to ensure you can allow enough time to reach it.

 Self Reliant Passengers and Carers

Many Airlines Can Offer A Comprehensive Range Of Pre-Bookable Services Designed To Meet Your Specific Needs. Just Choose The Service You Require And Contact Us Or Your Airline No Later Than 48 Hours Before Your Departure (Services Can Be Booked As Early As The Day Your Booking Is Made) To Make Your Request. We'll Take Care Of The Rest.

In Order To Meet Safety Requirements, We May Refuse To Accept A Reservation Or Ask That A Carer Travels With You.

Safety Reasons May Include The Ability To Evacuate The Aircraft, Fasten Or Unfasten The Seat Belt, Activate Emergency Oxygen Or Life Jackets.

A Carer Must Travel With Any Passenger Who Does Not Meet The DFT (Department For Transport) Code Of Practice Definition Of Self Reliance.

In Establishing Whether Someone Is "Self-Reliant" The DFT Stipulate That The Passenger Should Be Independent In The Following Areas:

  • Feeding – in most cases, the passenger should be capable of feeding themselves. Cabin crew could still expect to assist with opening food containers and describing catering arrangements to blind people.
  • Lifting - the passenger should be capable of moving from a passenger seat to an on-board wheelchair.
  • Toileting - the passenger should be capable of using the toilet facilities unaided. Cabin crew can assist passengers to and from the toilet door with the onboard wheelchair, but cannot assist within the toilet for hygiene reasons.
  • Communicating - the passenger should be able to communicate with cabin crew and understand their advice/instructions.
  • Medicating - the passenger should be capable of administering their own medicines and medical procedures.
  • Breathing - the passenger should not be reliant on supplementary oxygen.

If You Are Not Self-Reliant (Capable Of Taking Care Of All Your Physical Needs Independently In-Flight) A Carer Is Required For Travel To Take Care Of These Needs. The Carer Must Purchase A Ticket At The Same Time. A Carer Can Travel With A Maximum Of 2 Passengers Requiring Additional Assistance As Outlined Above. 

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, Cruise line or Tour operator  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 and Medical Assistance 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 / Cruise Line 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. 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 Will Need To Travel With A Carer Who Must Purchase A Seat. The Assistance That We Offer Visually Impaired Passengers Can Include An Escort To And From The Aircraft, Individual Safety Briefings And Assistance During The Flight. Also, Braille Cards Are Available On Some Flights On Request. 

Expectant Mothers 

Expectant mothers will be 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 will 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 will 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.
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.

*The number of weeks is based on flights operated by Thomas Cook airlines. Other airlines' Policies may vary, so please check with the airline you are travelling with for their pregnancy restrictions. 

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, at least 2 additional seats must be purchased. 

Seating

Dependant on the person’s level of mobility, assistance seating (That is, a seat with a move able 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 us 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 Click Here.
If you have purchased an extra seat due to your size, please contact Us or the Airline directly to ensure the Airline is aware.