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The airport is responsible for looking after persons with visible and non-visible disabilities, so we have carefully designed this departures assistance guide to ensure you have a smooth experience at Heathrow. We explain what facilities and support is available at each stage of your journey, from the moment you get to the airport, all the way to boarding the aircraft.
You may be an experienced traveller and only need assistance at certain points but do allow three hours to get through the airport, and rest assured help is always at hand whenever you need it. 

Heathrow is responsible for providing you with the care and support you need at the airport. You can help us to help you by providing all the important details to your airline, tour operator or travel agent such as:

  • Tell them as soon as possible or at least 48 hours before your travel. Often you can provide these details when you book your ticket. Let your airline know about your return details so we can plan support for you when you come back to Heathrow.
  • Provide details about your impairment or mobility difficulties. Tell them if you intend to take your own mobility device, such as a wheelchair or you are travelling with an assistance animal.
  • The airline will pass this to our Assistance team and will take care of you at the airport.

Help points can be found in all official car parks, designated drop-off points, and bus, train, and Underground stations. Don’t worry if you have trouble finding a help point, just ring us directly on the following numbers:

  • Terminal 2: +44 (0)20 8757 2700
  • Terminal 3: +44 (0)20 8757 2700
  • Terminal 4: +44 (0)20 8757 2700
  • Terminal 5: +44 (0)20 8283 6415

On the help points, simply use the push button or telephone to talk to our Assistance team to let them know where you are and what support you need. They will guide you through the next stage or if you are happy to wait, a colleague will come and assist you. 


Parking and drop-off charge exemptions for Blue Badge holders?

If you hold a valid UK or European Economic Area (EEA) Blue Badge, the following discounts or exemptions apply:

  • Long stay parking – two hours free: The first two hours of parking are free in our Long Stay car parks. Please use the call point on entry and state your Blue Badge number and registration to the operator, on exit please use the call point and state your registration to exit. 
  • Terminal drop off exemption: You can apply for a 100% discount even if you don’t drive or own a vehicle, for example a taxi or a friend’s car. 

If you have pre-booked assistance, head towards our dedicated Assistance areas in each terminal. Look out for Heathrow Helpers (in purple) who will point you in the right direction. At the Assistance area, you will be welcomed by our specialist team (in blue) - they will provide all the support you need, to get you to your flight including help with check-in, security and more. They may take you on a buggy or escort in one of our wheelchairs.

Non-visible disabilities – Sunflower lanyards

If you have a non-visible disability, free sunflower lanyards are available at the Assistance areas. This gives you the freedom to travel independently through the airport whilst knowing that if you need any additional support, any of our colleagues will be able to assist you.

Map locations

Terminal 2

Terminal 3

Terminal 4

Terminal 5

We recommend you check in online before you get to the airport and either print off your boarding card or download it to your phone.

You can still check in at the airport using a kiosk or counter and the Assistance team will help you with this, as well as dropping off and putting tags on your bags.

You will need to keep your baggage receipt.

The Assistance team will take you through the boarding card presentation gates which are all fully accessible. 

The Assistance team will help you get through security. if you are travelling independently, let one of the security officers know about your needs. You may have questions about needles, what to do with a leg brace or more - they will guide you through the process.

Going through the archway

All passengers including wheelchair users will go through the security archway or body scanner. You will need to remove jackets or coats and you may be asked to take off and jewelry, belts, and shoes. If the alarm sounds you may feel nervous, but it simply means you will be patted down by one of the security officers.

You can always ask to have a security search done privately. To request a private search, speak to a security manager, and they'll arrange for you to go to a private room. At least two security colleagues will be present for the search, and you're also entitled to bring a friend or family member with you. Private security searches are available for all passengers, including those with medical devices or equipment.

X-raying your bags

Your bags will be x-rayed and certain items such as laptops will need to be removed and placed separately in a tray. Again, you will be guided on this but here is a quick summary of the rules that apply to: liquids, creams, gels, pastes, and aerosols:

  • Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less. If you need to carry additional essential liquid medication for your flight, please provide supporting documentation such as a prescription or letter from a medical practitioner confirming that you need them for your journey.
  • They must be carried separately in a single transparent and resealable bag.
  • The bag must be no larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) and able to close properly with all the items inside.

The departure lounge has many shops and restaurants, accessible toilets, and Changing Places plus quiet areas to rest and relax in. Just ask the assistance team to take you there on route to your gate. 

Changing Places

Changing Places will have additional equipment and space to use the toilets safely and comfortably. They can be found in the following locations with links to our maps:

Terminal 2

Terminal 3

Terminal 4

Terminal 5

Your departure gate will be shown on the screens in good time for you to get to the gate. It may also be on your boarding pass but double check on the screens, as it may change.

If you are with a member of the Assistance team, they will escort you to the gate which could be on foot, in a buggy or in one of our wheelchairs.

There may be some long distances to travel so you can use the travellators for a more comfortable journey – just remember to use the handrail. In Terminal 5 there is a transit train if your flight is departing from the B and C gates.

You can use our maps which show you the distance between the departure lounge and gate in real time.

You will need your boarding pass and passport ready, and it is likely, you will be asked to board the aircraft first – this is known as pre-boarding.

If you are with a colleague from the Assistance team, they will help you get on to the aircraft and the airline will help you find your seat and give you special instructions and advice so you can relax and enjoy your flight.

The airline will have passed your details to the next airport and you will be assisted when you arrive there.

You are always welcome to use your own mobility equipment. Your airline will advise you whether your device can be used in the aircraft cabin or must be stored in the hold.

They will need to know the make and model, dimensions, and weight of your wheelchair, as well as the type of batteries (dry or wet cell). Your airline can also advise on how to prepare the device for loading on to the aircraft. You can also find more information in our Accessibility and Mobility FAQs.

Accessible lifts

Wheelchairs and heavy bags are not permitted on the escalators - please use our accessible lifts which are available throughout the airport.