Travelling can be stressful at the best of times, but for those with a disability, there are even
more things to consider when planning a trip away. Navigating life when you have a
disability should be getting easier and easier in this modern age, with wheelchair ramps and
laws put in place to ensure that everyone gets equal treatment and opportunities; including
when using public services. However, many places still need to update their facilities and
consider the needs of those who may offer assistance in a number of ways. Whether you have
a visible disability or an invisible one, there should be assistance in place to ensure that you
can get to where you need to be without restrictions. But are there? Check out our accessible
airport guide below and see which UK airports are the most forward-thinking when it comes
to helping their passengers.
Common Requirements for Disabled Passengers
Those who need assistance will likely be familiar with the adjustments that might need to be
made when navigating the airport. However, for those who are first time flyers, are assisting
someone disabled or who have recently obtained an injury or diagnosis; these are the main
aspects which you might need to consider before your travel;
Ramps and/or Wheelchair Access
The first consideration is whether the airport has sufficient wheelchair access, lifts or ramps
for less mobile passengers. All airports should have this, however they may be situated in
different areas than stairs or escalators. Therefore, check with the airline beforehand or try to
get a layout of the airport to ensure that you don’t end up missing your flight.
When it comes to guide dogs and assistance dogs, contacting the airline is the best way to
ensure that there are procedures in place so you can take your dog with you on the flight. As
for getting around the airport and through security, letting the airport know beforehand will
also ensure a lot less hold ups.
Many people with physical disabilities and invisible illnesses might need personal assistance
to get to where they need to be. From using different methods of communication to directing
the person in a way which helps them, many airports have people who can meet people at the
airport such as the staff at Edinburgh airport who are there to assist from the car park to the
Booking your airport parking online before you travel will ensure that you secure parking
which meets your needs. For example, if you are booking cheap Humberside airport parking
online, then you can book disabled parking in the short stay car park just seconds away from
What do Airlines Need to Know?
One of the best ways to ensure you have a smooth journey, is to make sure that both you and
the travel providers are aware of your needs as soon as possible. Most airports will try to
accommodate all passengers, but some alterations might have to be made before you arrive at
the airport. For example, some airports require a letter from a doctor if you have a prosthesis
due to security reasons, and for safety on board passengers will be required to be able to do
things such as apply an oxygen mask – if a passenger is unable to do that, then they may need
a travel companion. At Purple Parking, there is a complete list of UK airlines and the
regulations and facilities they offer for disabled passengers including the travel of assistance
dogs, baggage allowance for mobility aids and bathroom facilities onboard.
In terms to travelling to the airport, Blue Badge spaces should be available at all airports,
alongside assistance buttons for those who are unable to reach payment machines. However
some spaces are available on a first come first serve basis, so booking cheap Doncaster-Sheffield airport parking online for example is the best way to ensure you don’t run into
issues. Using our online booking system, you can also book Meet & Greet parking, which
may be even more convenient for disabled passengers.
Which Are the Best Airports for Disabled Passengers?
A recent article in The Independent, discusses the ratings given to 31 airports all over the UK
by the Civil Aviation Authority, which have graded airports on a variety of areas regarding
accessibility. Among the “very good” airports, were Edinburgh, Exeter, Doncaster-Sheffield
and Glasgow, with Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick and Heathrow receiving a “good” status.
However, the one airport which received a “needs improvement” grade was Manchester
Airport. The report was conducted using 1,400 online and 150 face-to-face surveys, as well as 62
interviews and 15 rail journeys with passengers wearing hidden cameras. This comprehensive
report hopes to make improvements at airports across the country; taking insights from the
people affected by accessible (or inaccessible) travel.