Help in the terminal
Facilities for people with disabilities or special needs in the terminals at Heathrow.Expand allCollapse all
We have Special Assistance host areas in each terminal, which is where you can find assistance from our agents. On departing you will also be taken to a host area to wait until your gate is announced. On arriving, you may have to wait in a host area before you can proceed through immigration.
Our host areas have seating, flight information screens and some have vending machines.
Host area locations
- Terminal 2:
Before Security - Check-in near Zone C
After Security - Follow signs to “B Gates”
- Terminal 2B:
Arrivals - Immigration Hall
- Terminal 3:
Before security - Level 1, above Zone A Check-in, opposite Pret a manger
After security - Near World Duty Free, past the toilets
Arrivals - Before Immigration Hall
- Terminal 4:
Before Security - Check-in, under sign for Zones A&B
- After Security - Next to Costa Coffee – follow signs to gate A7
Arrivals - Immigration Hall
- Terminal 5:
Before Security - Zone G
After Security - Next to gate A23
- Terminal 5B & Terminal 5C:
Arrivals - Immigration Hall
For our passengers in Terminal 3, we have a rest and relaxation room that you can enjoy if you want to escape from the sights and sounds of the terminal to a quiet place. This room is situated opposite to gate 25.
Quiet room facilities are currently being developed across all terminals. Updated information will be available once completed.
Toilets are provided throughout Heathrow, in arrivals and departures, before and after security. Most include a unisex, wheelchair-accessible toilet. Occasionally the accessible toilet is located inside the men's and ladies' toilets.
Changing Places will have additional equipment and space to use the toilets safely and comfortably. They can be found in the following locations:
- Terminal 2: After security - arrivals level, opposite Gate 18
- Terminal 3: After security - departures level, opposite Gate 7
- Terminal 4: Arrivals - opposite London Underground escalators
- Terminal 5: After security - departures level, Special Assistance Lounge - Lichfield Suite, opposite Gate 20
Induction loops are found throughout the airport (look for signs showing the 'sympathetic ear' symbol). Payphones and credit card telephones are available and are adapted for hearing aids. There are also text payphones in the arrivals area, after Customs.
Find information on travelling with an assistance dog.
The airport's directional signs are black on yellow, providing optimum contrast to assist all users.
Heathrow has been working with a UK deaf-owned organisation called SignLive to install online video interpreting services across Heathrow. This innovative service allows deaf passengers to communicate with the Heathrow team, by using an app which connects them to a qualified British Sign Language interpreter within seconds. SignLive will be available from 08:00 - 20:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 - 13:00 (Saturdays). We are running this on a trial basis and if successful, we hope to extend the cover during all operational hours. SignLive is currently available at all our Special Assistance host areas. If you require the use of this service, please let one of our Special Assistance agents know and they will be more than happy to help.
There are reserved seating areas in every terminal within the general seating areas, marked by signs. They generally have:
- Low-level flight information screens
- An induction loop
- Arms on both sides of seats
- Space for wheelchair users.
Our security staff are obliged to carry out a hand-search whenever a passenger activates the archway metal detector alarm. If you are a wheelchair user, that’s likely to be the case. We recognise that it may be more suitable to have this search carried out away from the main search area, so please don’t hesitate to request this if you’d prefer it.
If you are using a wheelchair provided by the airport and wish to walk through the archway, to avoid an unnecessary search, you're welcome to do so.
Our Security teams can direct passengers to quiet lanes. Should you require this, please complete a “how you can help me” card prior to going through Security so that we can understand your assistance needs. These cards are available from our Special Assistance Host Areas in each Terminal
Journey times to gates will vary depending on the terminal and your destination. To help cover these distances we provide moving walkways, lifts and a transfer shuttle in Terminal 5.
Departure gates are subject to change and prior notice will be given on the flight information screens in the terminal. You can also check departure gates with your airline at check-in.
All departure gates in the main terminal ('A' gates) are approximately 200m(about five minutes) from security. Gates in satellite terminal T2B ('B' gates) are 800m (about 20 minutes) from security. UK and Ireland flights depart from 'A' gates.
The majority of departure gates are 800m (about 20 minutes) from security.
Most departure gates are approximately 200m (about five minutes) from security. Some are 400m (about 10 minutes) from security.
All gates in the main terminal ('A' gates) are approximately 400m (about ten minutes) from security. Gates in satellites T5B and T5C ('B' and 'C' gates) are 600m (about 15 minutes) from security (via transit system). Domestic and EU flights usually depart from 'A' gates, other international departures from 'B' and 'C' gates.
If you require a wheelchair for your journey but would not like an agent to push you, you are welcome to use any of our purple Staxi chairs. Just pick up one up free of charge from one of our Special Assistance host areas.
Travelling with your own equipment
If travelling with your own equipment, please present yourself to check-in on arrival so that your equipment is tagged with luggage labels. Then proceed to the Special Assistance desk so that your equipment can be checked for aircraft compatibility. Finally, continue your journey through security and to the departures lounge/gate. Your equipment will be placed on board the aircraft after you have boarded.
If you experience problems with your mobility equipment at Heathrow we can provide a temporary replacement to allow you to continue your journey. Just ask a member of our team, who will make the necessary arrangements.
Equipment at Heathrow
If you are not travelling in your own wheelchair, this is the type of chair that will be used within the terminal buildings.
Smaller aisle chairs are used for passengers who need assistance getting onto the aircraft and into the aircraft seat.
Buggies may be used instead of staxi chairs at certain parts of your journey within the terminal. N.B. Family members may not be able to accompany you on the buggy if there is not space. Special Assistance passengers will always be given priority. Our team will let your family members know where they can meet you.
Accessible transport between terminals is available to help passengers with reduced mobility. If you have passed through Immigration and Arrivals, a special assistance bus is available from the terminal forecourts.
So that we can assist as many passengers as possible, we sometimes use an i-caddy: a set of wheelchairs in a row, pushed by an agent and an electric driver system.
- Airline contacts
- Special assistance FAQs
- Assistance dogs
- Special Assistance Improvement Plan
- Heathrow Access Advisory Group - Action Summary October 2017
- Heathrow Access Advisory Group - Terms of Reference
- Heathrow Access Advisory Group - September Minutes
- Special Assistance performance
- Your feedback