Hidden disabilities

Advice for passengers or their carers with hidden disabilities travelling through Gatwick

Special assistance desk

Airport journeys can be stressful for many people, especially if you are unsure of what to expect on the day. Here you can find advice to help parents and carers who are travelling with children and vulnerable adults whose difficulties may not be immediately apparent to our staff.

Hidden disabilities

We are working with a number of charities to identify how we can improve the airport experience for our vulnerable passengers who may not want to share details of their hidden disabilities.

If this applies to you or someone you're travelling with, we can offer you a special lanyard to wear on your journey through our airport. This will identify you to staff as someone who may need additional support or understanding. Our staff have been specially trained to recognise the lanyards and act accordingly. 

To pick up a lanyard at Gatwick, please go to one of our Assistance Reception areas. We will be happy to give you a lanyard, even if you haven't requested or need special assistance. 

We have also produced an booklet, Making your journey easier, where you can find detailed information on what to expect on your journey through the airport to help you prepare.

For more information please email us at: hidden.disability.at.gatwick@ocs.co.uk

Facilities for the hard of hearing and partially sighted

Induction loops are available where there are signs showing the 'sympathetic ear' symbol. The airport directional signs use black text on a yellow background, for maximum visibility. Guide and hearing dogs are the only dogs allowed in the terminal buildings.

Travelling with passengers with dementia

Airports can be busy and confusing at the best of times. If you have dementia then these feelings are amplified many times and the airport can become bewildering. The Alzheimer's Society produces a really useful factsheet with tips and advice about planning a holiday for people affected by dementia, including arranging travel insurance. 

Autism spectrum disorder

The National Autistic Society has some helpful advice on what to do if you're travelling with children or adults with autism. We also produce an autism friendly visual guide to travelling through Gatwick Airport which will help familiarise you with what to expect at the airport in advance of your holiday. 

Young people with ADHD

Children and young people with ADHD are very susceptible to anxiety and find any change to their normal daily routine potentially stressful. We recommend that you take time to prepare your child for the journey in advance and bring lots of activities to keep them busy at the airport and on the plane. You can find more advice in our Making your journey easier booklet.

Travelling with IBD

If you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis (the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD) you may find the thought of travelling quite daunting, whether that’s due to toilet accessibility, going through security with a stoma bag or other IBD related concerns. To help alleviate any anxiety and ensure you have a more positive travel experience, Crohn’s and Colitis UK have put together a travel and IBD factsheet to help you feel more comfortable when planning a vacation or business trip.   

Getting familiar with the airport

While we do not offer specific tours, sometimes visiting the airport in advance of your trip can help, especially with young children. You will be able to familiarise yourselves with the airport layout and check-in areas.  

Read more advice in our online booklet

Travelling with children

Visit our travelling with children page to get advice to help you get off to a stress-free holiday

Fear of flying

Despite the safety of flying, you may be one of the many people who feel nervous in advance of your trip. If this is spoiling the idea of your holiday, then help is available. Find out more about self-help tutorials and courses for nervous fliers run by airlines