Travelling with a disability
Everyone loves travelling. This is not always easy with a disability or reduced mobility, however. Is your mobility reduced, for example? Are you using crutches? Or are you accompanying someone with a disability? In this case, assistance at the airport is most welcome – and this is certainly available! You will find the answer to your questions here:
- When can access to the aircraft be denied?
- Are you entitled to assistance?
- What can you take on the plane with you?
- What can you do if you are denied access to the plane?
You can also view a video clip about your rights as a passenger with a (mobility) disability here.
The European 1107/2006 Regulation defines the rights of persons with disabilities and/or reduced mobility who want to travel by plane. An airline, travel agent or tour operator should never stop you from buying a ticket on the basis of your disability, and they may not deny you access to the aircraft, except in two cases:
- The size or the aircraft or the doors make boarding or transport impossible for the person with reduced mobility.
- Safety is not guaranteed.
Please note: For safety reasons, the airline can require that a person with a disability or reduced mobility is accompanied by someone who can provide him/her with the necessary assistance.
All European airports and airlines are obliged to offer you assistance if you have a disability or suffer from reduced mobility. Such assistance is free-of-charge.
How can you apply for assistance? You should notify the airline, travel agent or tour operator of your needs at the latest 48 hours in advance. All parties involved will then ensure that you can smoothly board your flight.
If you apply 48 hours in advance, you are entitled to bring two pieces of mobility equipment with you (e.g. crutches or a wheelchair), in addition to the luggage allowance.
You can keep medical equipment with you in the cabin, just like hand luggage. A guide dog is allowed to accompany its owner - subject to the national guidelines. Check with your airline which rules apply in the country of arrival.
Please note: Was your wheelchair or other mobility equipment lost or damaged? In this case, you can claim damages of up to 1,131 special drawing rights (+/- € 1,448), as is the case for other luggage. Is the value of your equipment higher than this? Consider taking out the additional insurance for valuables before or at check-in.
It goes without saying that you are assured the same rights as other passengers when travelling with a disability or reduced mobility. Is the airline denying you or your mandatory companion access to the aircraft in one of the two exceptional cases outlined above? Then you (or both of you) should be offered the following choices:
- an alternative flight with the most favorable travel time
Moreover, the airline must immediately notify you of the denied boarding. You can also request an official document listing the reasons. You will receive this by post at the latest five days after your request.
Please note: Is the denied boarding based on an unjustified reason? In this case, you have the possibility of claiming a flat rate compensation, in addition to your right to claim an alternative flight or refunding.