Special assistance FAQs
If you need special assistance we're here to help. Find out more below about the different types of assistance we offer, how to book plus any other questions you might have.
How do I know if I will need assistance?
If you have a condition or disability and you feel that assistance from staff at Gatwick would make your journey easier, then you should book assistance. From difficulties with mobility, to hidden disabilities like Alzheimer’s and ADHD, our staff are on hand to help you every step of the way.
Do I need to pre-book assistance?
Yes, if you have a disability or you experience mobility difficulties and need help to get to your flight, you should contact your airline at least 48 hours before you fly to let them know you need assistance.
I have special needs. What facilities are available at the airport?
Our special assistance pages will tell you more about all the available facilities and what to do if you have pre-booked assistance.
If you arrive at the airport without booking special assistance, please head straight to one of our assistance desks and we will try to help as best we can, but we do give priority to passengers who have booked in advance. Find out more about booking assistance.
I have a condition/disability but I don’t want special assistance, is that ok?
If you feel you don’t need assistance through the airport then that is entirely your choice. We do offer a special lanyard for our passengers with hidden disabilities or disabilities they do not want to share details of. This will identify you to staff as someone who may need additional support or understanding and our staff have been trained to recognise the lanyards and act accordingly. Find out more about how we can help you.
What time do the Special Assistance reception areas at Gatwick open?
The Special Assistance desks and reception area opens at 04:00. If you arrive before that time, the desks will not be manned and you will have to wait until the service is open.
Will I still be able to stay with my family or group through security if I have organised special assistance?
If you have booked special assistance and are unable to travel through the airport without a carer or companion, we will ensure that they can accompany you throughout the entire journey. If you are travelling in a larger group then it would be best to nominate one person to stay with you. Companions may be asked to vacate our mobility equipment should it be required for special assistance passengers.
Will I continue to get assistance on my flight?
Yes. To get assistance at the airport you need to book through your airline, so they will be aware of your needs. Your assistance will continue for as long as you need it on your journey.
Is there any help I can get when I travel to the airport?
Most public transport operators have arrangements for passengers with special needs and information about these services can be found on our public transport pages. There are blue badge spaces and extra help on hand in our airport car parks if you’re arriving at the airport by car.
Can you give me advice about travelling with my assistance dog?
Assistance dogs are the only dogs allowed into the terminal buildings except for those animals travelling on flights.
It is important that you make sure your airline is aware that you are travelling with your assistance dog at least 48 hours before you travel so that you are given help at Gatwick. When you arrive at the airport please go to our special assistance reception desk where staff will be happy to help you.
Any dogs travelling out of the UK must be fully vaccinated and micro-chipped and need to be registered with the European Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) and importation rules of other countries outside the EU.
If your assistance dog needs a "Service Animal Spend Area" then please speak to a member of our Special Assistance team.
Can I travel with my own mobility aid?
You are welcome to travel with your own mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs, mobility scooters or walkers, but please do advise your airline in advance.
Departing from Gatwick
If you are flying from Gatwick with your own equipment you can take it right up to the departure gate. Please make sure your airline knows in advance that you'll be travelling with your own equipment.
Once you're through security, please go immediately to the assistance desk located in the departure lounge.
Depending on which gate your flight departs from, it may be necessary for our assistance team to escort you to the aircraft via an alternative route.
If you are travelling with an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter staff will meet you at the departure gate to help you make sure your scooter is safely turned off for the flight or your wheelchair folded. It helps us keep delays to a minimum if you know how your device works in advance.
Arriving at Gatwick
When you arrive at Gatwick, your wheelchair or mobility aid should be there as you disembark the aircraft.
Don't forget to advise your airline that you have your own equipment so that ground staff can get it back to you more quickly.
Staff will unload your wheelchair or scooter from the hold along with the other baggage and cargo that's carried in the hold. Once this has been unloaded it will be brought up to the aircraft door via the nearest lift.
In the unlikely event that your mobility aid is lost or damaged during flight, then please report this immediately to the airline. You will need to complete a report in the baggage reclaim hall and you will get a reference number. Gatwick Airport will lend you a wheelchair until yours is returned or repaired.
Do you consult with disability organisations?
We try to engage with a number of organisations working with hidden disabilities, such as the National Autism Society, RNIB, Mencap and Alzheimer’s Society.
Our Passenger Advisory Group (PAG) forms part of the formal Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM*) and takes a keen interest in the comfort, care, safety and security of passengers using the airport. They make recommendations to Gatwick Airport for improvements in these areas, as well as reviewing feedback from our passengers. PAG is made up of a cross section of both regular and occasional air travellers, and they all bring some knowledge of the airport and a genuine interest in the way our services and facilities interface with passengers.
As part of their role PAG members monitor services and facilities at the airport and actively work with Gatwick to improve the passenger experience. Members are also encouraged to work independently with the airport to build relationships with key managers and project leaders. PAG also has a sub-group with a particular interest in our assisted services.
Members visit the airport several times a year, monitoring and assessing facilities in order to make recommendations. These visits include formal quarterly meetings with Gatwick.
* The Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) is constituted to meet the requirements of Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 for an airport “to provide adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the airport which affects the interests of users of the airport, local authorities and any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the airport is situated.
To view consultation information as part of the CAA audit on Special Assistance, please click here.
Do you report on your performance standards in this area?
Here's our service level agreement for what you should expect from us as a passenger with reduced mobility or a disability while you are at the airport.
We publish performance against these service standards every six months. You can view all our performance reports on our reporting page and the bi-annual reports which include PRM data are clearly marked.
How do I give feedback or ask a question?
We welcome all feedback to improve the services we offer. To say thank you or to make a complaint, please complete our online feedback form and we will look into any issue you may have raised.
Most questions you may have can be answered here, but if not, or if you have a special requirement please also use the online feedback form.