I am disabled. What are my rights as an air traveller?

A disabled person or a person with reduced mobility shares the same rights as any other air traveller in respect of delays, lost and damaged luggage.

However, they have additional rights conferred upon them by The Civil Aviation (Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility) Regulations 2007, which implemented the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. 

The purpose of the regulations is to ensure that disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the same opportunities for air travel as that of other persons and are not discriminated against. The regulations apply to travel between Member States of the European Union and from non-Member States where the airline’s business is situated in the European Union.

Can I be refused transport on the grounds of my disability or reduced mobility?

The regulations provide that disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility should not be refused transport by reason of their disability or reduced mobility unless there are justifiable safety reasons for doing so. The decision as to whether there are justifiable safety reasons should be made at the time when the booking is made. It is, therefore, important that a disabled person or person with reduced mobility makes their needs known at the time of the booking. 

It is justifiable to refuse a booking if such a refusal is necessary in order to meet the safety requirements established by law or in order to meet the safety requirements set out by the authority that issued the air operator’s certificated to the airline in question.

It is also justifiable to refuse a booking if the size of the plane or its doors means that it is physically impossible for the disabled person or person with reduced mobility to get onto the plane. 

If a booking is refused for one of these reasons, the airline, agent or tour operator is required to take reasonable steps to find an acceptable alternative.

If a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility is denied boarding on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility then an offer of reimbursement or re-routing should be made to the disabled person or person with reduced mobility and any person accompanying them. 

For safety reasons an airline may require that a disabled person or person with reduced mobility be accompanied by another person who is capable of providing the assistance which is needed.

Will I be able to take medical equipment and mobility equipment with me?

The regulations provide that in addition to medical equipment a disabled person or person with reduced mobility should be allowed to take with them up to 2 pieces of mobility equipment, including electric wheelchairs. However, this is subject to 48 hours notice being given to the airline and is subject to the amount of space on board the plane.

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For more information on:

  • What are my rights at the airport?
  • What about on the plane?
  • Can I be charged a supplement to cover the cost of an airport or airline providing me with the facilities or assistance I need?
  • Provision of information
  • What if the airport operator or airline fails to comply with the regulations?