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Overseas travel

Visitors to the UKIt is doubly important that you check in advance and make your needs very clear when travelling overseas, as the scope for things going wrong is necessarily greater, and there is likely to be less legal recourse. One way can be to book through a disability specialist travel agency or tour operator. You will find several listed in the TFA Directory, as are a wide range of services and facilities. You will also find a wide range of options and useful information in the TFA Publications overseas guides and in Places to Go. See also FAQs in the Useful Info section.

If you are booking a flight and need assistance at the airport or on board the plane, please specify this when making the reservation, or not later than 48 hours prior to departure.

Travelling by air is not covered by the Equality Act 2010 (which replaces the Disability Discrimination Acts of 1995 and 2005 on the 1st October 2010). However, the Act does apply to the use of services in the UK, like booking systems and airport facilities such as shops and services like check in.

Since July 2007, it has been illegal for an airline, travel agent or tour operator to refuse a booking on the grounds of disability, or to refuse to allow a disabled person to board an aircraft when they have a valid ticket and reservation. This applies to any flight leaving an airport in the European Union, and also to flights on European airlines arriving in the EU.

The law also covers people with reduced mobility, including those with a temporary mobility problem.

In very occasional circumstances these rights may not apply - for example, where there are legitimate safety or technical reasons why a disabled person cannot board an aircraft. In such cases, you must be told the reasons and offered a reasonable alternative.

New rights for disabled passengers were introduced in July 2008, designed to ensure a seamless level of service at airports and on board aircraft. 

(Last Updated: 31-10-2012)