Disability Access in the UK

Disability Access Facilitation Plan for UK Operations

Persons with Disabilities or Persons with Reduced Mobility

All necessary arrangements are made to provide a comfortable journey for incapacitated passengers. Incapacitated passengers are defined as those with a physical disability, a neurological disorder or a medical condition requiring individual attention or assistance on emplaning/deplaning during the flight and ground handling. This assistance is normally not extended to other passengers. However, at the time of booking, a special request for such a requirement can be made either by the passenger, their family or medical authority.  


Irrespective of their physical or medical condition, incapacitated passengers are categorised into various groups. These groups are identified in airline messages by AIRIMP codes, such as -  

  • WCHR - Wheelchair-R for ramp (passenger can ascend/descend steps and walk to the seat) 
  • WCHS - Wheelchair-S for steps (passenger unable to ascend/descend steps but able to walk to the seat) 
  • WCHC - Wheelchair-C for cabin seat (passenger completely immobile) 
  • STCR - Stretcher passenger 
  • BLND - Blind passenger (specify if accompanied by a seeing-eye dog) 
  • DEAF - Deaf passenger 
  • MEDA - Medical Case (Medical clearance required) 
  • OXYG - Needing oxygen during flight. 
  • LEGL - Left leg-in cast 
  • LEGR - Right leg-in cast 
  • LEGB - Both legs in cast 

Safety Restrictions

To ensure the safety of aircraft operations, the maximum number of non-ambulatory persons with disability or reduced mobility permitted to travel in a single flight is restricted. Such passengers escorted by trained escorts are considered an exception. The objective of this restriction is primarily the safety of all passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation. 

How to ask for Assistance

Passengers who require additional assistance at the airport or during the flight must notify Air India when booking. This should be done at least 48 hours (due to DGCA India requirement) before the intended departure date. 

The Air India UK call centre number is 02077603290 (normal call charges apply). The call centre is operational 24 hours round the year. 

Passengers can also make wheelchair requests using our website or through a travel agent. 

Please note that for any booking made through our website or travel agent, it is the passenger’s responsibility to inform Air India about their specific needs. This will ensure that we have relevant information for appropriate assistance to the passenger.  

Passengers will not be charged any convenience or booking fee for notifying the call centre. For further information on travelling on Air India, please visit our website or contact our office directly. 

Passengers requiring special assistance must report at the airport at least three hours before the scheduled departure time.  

Seating on our Flights

  • Passengers with reduced mobility, disability requiring assistance are boarded first and deplaned last for their comfort and convenience.  
  • Passengers with a disability or reduced mobility will not be allocated seats where their presence would impede the crew in performing their duties, obstruct access to emergency equipment or impede the emergency evacuation path of the aircraft. However, efforts are made to ensure that such passengers are conveniently seated close to the toilet and on the aisle for comfort and easy movement. 
  • Efforts will also be made to allot adjacent seats to the passenger and their escort.  
  • Passengers with stiff legs, fractured legs in plaster, and people with paraplegia, among others, are accommodated in suitable seats with maximum space for their comfort. This is done without interfering with safety requirements. 
  • A passenger dependent on a wheelchair cannot have a child or an infant accompanying them. In such cases, the following procedures will apply -  
  • An infant or child below five is not permitted to travel with a lone Passenger with Restricted Mobility (disabled passenger). 
  • An additional hostess must accompany such an infant or child below five years of age. 
  • A child above five years of age travelling with a lone passenger with restricted mobility (disabled passenger) will be treated as an unaccompanied minor and will be cared for by our crew accordingly. 
  • The commander and cabin crew are briefed on all cases, including passenger’s medical history (if any) to prepare the crew for assistance onboard. 
  • Such passengers are assisted in deplaning on arrival. An escort is assigned till the baggage hall or connecting carrier in the event of an onward connection or government formalities. 

Fitness to Fly

Medical Clearance Not Required

Medical clearance or special forms are not required for passengers with reduced mobility. Such passengers only require special assistance at the airport at the time of embarking or disembarking journey.

  • The Medical Department of any carrier may issue a Frequent Travellers' Medical Card (FREMEC) for passengers who are permanently or chronically incapacitated and do not need medical clearance but may only require assistance to facilitate their travel.  

A valid FREMEC card, issued by the medical authority of any carrier, presented within the validity are accepted for travel as medical clearance. 

Medical Clearance Required

Generally, the following passengers will require clearance from Air India’s Medical Services Department, if the passenger: 

  • Suffers from any disease which is believed to be actively contagious and communicable. 
  • Because of specific diseases or incapacitation may have or develop an adverse physical condition which could have an adverse effect during flight and at the time of safety and emergency evacuation procedure. 
  • Requires medical attention and special equipment to maintain their health during a flight. 
  •  Their medical condition could get aggravated during or because of the flight. 
  • Is travelling in a stretcher or incubator on the aircraft. 
  • Needs medical oxygen during the flight 
  • Requires extra space to accommodate leg elevation. 

Passengers requiring Medical Assistance

  • An information sheet (please refer to our website to download the form) must be filled up at the time of booking with all the information on the medical assistance required by the passenger. 
  • Their attending doctor needs to fill out a MEDIF Form where it is determined that a medical clearance is required.  
  • The completed form must be forwarded to Air India’s Medical Services Department for clearance. 
  • In general, MEDIF should reach Medical Services Department seven days before the day of travel. However, such a request shall be made at least 48 hours (DGCA India requirement) before the flight's scheduled departure. 

When a Caregiver is Required

A passenger with reduced mobility who cannot reach an emergency exit without assistance in a reasonable time must be escorted. 

Air India’s Medical Department can confirm if a passenger should travel with an escort during the process of Medical Clearance. Efforts are made to allot seats to escorts immediately adjacent to the passenger they are escorting. 

Assistance Dogs

  • A dog trained to lead the blind will not be carried unless proper permits are obtained for entry into the country or territory of destination and countries of transit where such licenses are required.  
  • All permits are required to be presented at the time of reservation. 
  • The dog must be harnessed appropriately, muzzled and vaccinated. 
  • The dog may be carried in the passenger cabin or in hold depending upon the individual country’s regulations as well as the size of the dog. 
  • The dog shall not be permitted to occupy a seat. 
  • The dog will be carried free of charge in addition to the standard free baggage allowance. 
  • Carriage will be refused if any country or territory on the route prohibits the entry of dogs.  
  • All formalities required by the government authorities at departure or destination and transit stations must be complied with.  
  • Pets or dogs are not allowed in the cabin or in the hold during ultra-long haul and non-stop flights.  

Oxygen on board

Air India arranges oxygen cylinders free of charge in advance. Air India’s medical department will determine the quantity of oxygen to be carried based on the flow rate advised by the treating physician. 

Carriage of personal Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) is permitted subject to prior clearance by our Medical, Engineering and Commercial Departments. Don't hesitate to get in touch with the airline's office at least 48 hours before departure. 

The POC should be: 

  • FAA approved 
  • Battery operated 
  • Passengers should carry enough spare non-spillable batteries to last the entire flight duration. 

Toilets on board

All toilets on our wide-body fleet are accessible to passengers with restricted mobility.

  • Disabled passengers or persons with reduced mobility are conveniently seated close to the toilet and on the aisle for comfort. The allotment of seats is subject to safety regulations. 
  • On our wide-body fleet of B777 and B-787, on board wheelchairs are available to assist passengers in accessing toilet facilities.  
  • To facilitate passengers requiring wheelchair assistance at the airport, Air India ensures that wheelchair requests are adequately recorded and confirmed in the reservation record of Air India and interline journey. 

Compensation For Mobility Equipment

The utmost care is taken to ensure the mobility equipment is carried safely. However, compensation may be provided as per the applicable laws in the unlikely event of damage. 

To complain, you can contact our call centre.

Passengers with Restricted Mobility Helpline

Air India UK Call Centre number - 02077603290 (Normal call charges apply). 

The call centre operates 24 hours round the year.