Customers with Disabilities – FAQs for Special Assistance
Important update and information for passengers with reduced mobility and disabilities
Airlines have special arrangements for passengers with reduced mobility or disabilities of any kind. Aged passengers or those suffering temporary injuries can seek special assistance on the airport as well as on board the flights provided by various airlines. This document is particularly helpful for such passengers arriving at the airports for boarding flights within the United States. We have made best efforts to answer all your queries that might be arising, just in case, so that you may book your tickets confidently and have a hassle-free, smooth journey. We highly recommend that the policy of your operating carrier, which been specially designed for passengers with reduced mobility or disabilities, must be fully read and understood. This is surely for your own benefit.
Whom to contact for seeking special assistance?
Your operating airline through which you have booked your tickets and the airports involved are obviously the best in case you need any kind of special assistance or you want to place a special request during the duration of your journey. The airlines require that request for such services by disabled, aged or passengers with reduced mobility must be placed at least 48 hours in advance prior to scheduled departure. Such requests can be made during the time of the booking itself. However, if you are facing any kind of difficulties in contacting your airline or the airport, we recommend you to call us immediately so that our customer support executives will get into urgent action and ensure that your request for special assistance is placed with appropriate authorities of your airline or the airport. Also, important caution needs to be taken from your side by supplying with the complete and right information about your special needs so that extra care can be taken to ensure a smooth journey for you.
Do I really need anyone’s support to travel along with me?
Airlines have strict policy regarding safety requirements. If you are suffering with severe disability or your mobility is highly reduced, your reservation may be denied by the airline or you might just be asked to take a companion along with you on board your flight. This is quite essential for your own safety as well as that of your fellow passengers. Your companion will be responsible for taking complete care of you and providing required assistance whenever an emergency arises or when you are finding it extremely difficult in helping yourself.
The need for a companion on board the flight is usually required by people who:
- are suffering from a severe cognitive or learning disability that prevents them from responding to necessary safety instructions or understanding them, or
- are both deaf and blind, which completely bars them from either understanding or reacting to safety guidelines, or
- are disabled and cannot move around without any assistance whatsoever in order to rush through an emergency exit whenever so required.
Taking a companion along with you on board the flight is purely your own choice and decision. You need to make sure whether you are self-reliant or really need any kind of assistance in the form of a companion. You should seriously consider before taking such decision whether the following activities can be managed without any sort of help. Simply ask yourself the following. Questions, whether you can:
- unfasten or fasten your seat belt?
- get up, leave your seat and rush faster to an emergency exit (which doesn’t involve walking alone, but hastening or running as well)?
- wear an oxygen mask yourself?
- eat or drink yourself?
- get on to an on-bard wheelchair by lifting yourself from your seat?
- make use of the toilet facilities without anyone’s physical assistance?
- take your own medicine?
- breath yourself without depending on supplementary oxygen support?
If you are able to do all these, then you can travel on your own with confidence. However, if you feel that taking a companion along with you on board the flight for your assistance is necessary, then it must be ensured that the person traveling along with your should be over 18 years old and physically capable to provide assistance during an emergency. Passengers with reduced mobility or disability are permitted by the airline to take a maximum of 2 passengers along with for additional special assistance. Whenever in doubt, you can always contact your airline and seek necessary guidelines.
Mobility Aids and Wheelchair Users
Sufficient information must be provided regarding your mobility aid/wheelchairs and batteries before you begin your travel. This is your responsibility. For further information in this regard, you can always browse through the airline’s website or read airline policies on mobility aids and wheelchairs. If need be you can also call the airline directly or simply contact us. There are specific rules framed by Department of Transportation and under Air Carrier Access Act mandating domestic and international airlines to provide connecting, deplaning and boarding assistance, including equipment and personal, to disabled, aged and passengers with reduced mobility who have placed such a request.
Thomas Cook Airlines flights do not carry stretchers on-board the aircraft. Regarding such facility on other airlines, you may directly contact the airline.
Passengers are usually not allowed to carry their own oxygen on board their flights because of safety reasons. More information regarding this can be sought by contacting the airline directly.
Passengers who require carrying needles and/or syringes must also bring along with them a doctor’s note or a prescription confirming it as a medical requirement. We are providing the following advice regarding traveling with medication. This is important for you. Please read it carefully.
It is highly recommended that enough medical supplies should be carried along with you for its appropriate use during flight. You must also carry sufficient medicines for at least 2-3 days use upon your arrival. Pack the remaining medicines in the hold, ensuring that the temperature is maintained between 4 and 5 C.
Additionally, you must adhere to the following guidelines:
Syringes and Needles
- Carry a letter from your Doctor confirming the type and names or medicines with prescribed doses. The letter should clearly indicate what the medicines are actually for and any other required medical terms. The purpose of carrying medical equipments like EpiPens or syringes must be clearly stated in order to avoid questioning by local customs or security.
- Ensure that the medicines remain in their original packaging and properly labeled stating as prescribed and belonging to you.
- Obtain a repeat prescription from your Doctor and carry it along with you when traveling abroad so that you don’t find it difficult in replacing them whenever lost, damaged or running short of supplies.
- Ingredients in some medicines might be considered illegal in some countries. You need to be aware about this. The best way is to check with the concerned Embassy of the country you are traveling to.
Syringes and needles are allowed to be carried on board the flight for controlling or treatment of medical conditions. Supporting documentation however must be carried in either form, such as:
- Letter from your Doctor that confirms the type of medicines you are carrying and what it is actually for.
- If you forget to carry or don’t have Doctor’s letter, then you need to ensure that a printed pharmaceutical label must be on the medication clearly identifying it as belonging to you and prescribed.
After use when you want to dispose the needles or syringes hygienically and safely, a “sharps” box is available on board the aircraft. If you need them then ask the crew for it.
Keeping your medicines cold
Do remember to bring a cool bag along with you for properly storing your medicines. The airline doesn’t allow the medicines to be kept in on board fridge for keeping them cold. This is applicable for insulin as well used for treating diabetes.
Carrying liquid medicines in hand luggage
The airline allows the amount of liquid medicines to be carried in your hand luggage based on current security regulations. For latest update, please visit http://www.dot.gov
Passengers with hearing disability who want assistance should contact their airline directly or contact us (Please See: “Whom to contact for seeking special assistance” section above). The airline will provide an escort to/from the aircraft whenever required. The airline also provides separate briefing or plays a video on board the aircraft regarding safety procedures for passengers who are deaf and hard of hearing. For making necessary arrangements, deaf and hearing impaired passengers are required to contact us.
Passengers who are blind or visually impaired and not able to travel without any assistance may take a companion along with them after purchasing a seat for the companion. The airlines take extra care of visually impaired passengers by offering assistance such as an escort to/from the aircraft, help during the flight, and separate security briefings. For specific details, contact the airline directly or contact us for assistance.
For expectant mothers, airlines have their own separate policies. You need to check the policy of your airline when traveling as an expectant mother to ensure whether boarding is possible. Usually, the airline allows expectant mothers to fly without a medical certificate up to the end of 27th week of pregnancy. However, the expectant mother needs to provide a medical certificate whenever asked for, when traveling between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. The expected date of delivery as well as fitness to fly must be confirmed by the medical certificate. In such a case it must also be ensured that the Doctor should have written letter not before 6 weeks prior to outbound date of travel.
Domestic U.S. flights do not allow expectant mothers to fly within 30 days of their delivery date. Airlines flying on international routes are unlikely to permit expectant mothers to board the flight after 34th week of pregnancy under any circumstances. If the expectant mother is undergoing multiple pregnancies, the airline requires that such pregnancy is not beyond 32nd week during the time of return in-bound flight. The airline should be however contacted for its specific policy.
Expectant mothers who are into their 24th week of pregnancy or beyond will not be accepted by cruise lines. A letter stating that both mother and baby are in good health and fit to travel needs to be provided by all pregnant women, to the airline.
Some airlines have specific policies regarding passengers who have undergone miscarriage recently. The airlines require that the passenger who had a miscarriage recently is allowed to fly only on the condition that they had no bleeding or pain at least 24 hours before their scheduled date of travel. The passenger needs to provide a letter from Doctor to the airline confirming this.
For passengers traveling with broken limbs, the airlines requires that in case of legs any plaster cast should have been set in place for over 48 hours, while regarding arms the plaster cast should be over 24 hours. If the passenger is traveling with a full leg plaster and in the case that the leg cannot be bent, the airline requires such passenger to buy two additional seats.
Passengers with reduced mobility will be provided assistance seating with moveable aisle armrest or even a fixed armrest seat if required. This will however depend on the level of mobility of the passenger. The airline will ensure that the companion traveling with disable passenger is seated next to him/her for providing assistance.
Sometimes aircraft seat width is found to be insufficient for some oversized passengers. If you also happen to be oversized passenger, seek advice from your travel agent which airlines to fly on which has the required seat width. This will save you and other passengers from hassle. If additional space is required, you may do so by purchasing an extra seat located next to each other. You may also consider an upgraded class for traveling on a wider seat. More information on seat width can be had from the airline directly or you may contact us.
Overseas Transport Arrangements and Overseas Accommodation
When traveling overseas many disabled holidaymakers may find transport arrangements, accommodation and other holiday services not properly equipped or suited to their requirements. Wheelchair users may find layout of some resorts and natural terrains quite difficult to access. In such cases, you may contact us to make suitable enquiries regarding accommodations, resorts, transport, car rentals and other similar services. We will make best efforts to fully satisfy you and help you make the right choices before booking your holidays. For special arrangements, you will be charged more. We want to ensure that your journey is smooth and hassle free. Your satisfaction is greatly valued and matters us the most.