Information and advice to help passengers with additional requirements plan their route through Heathrow Airport, plus general help and advice for travelling overseas.

If you have an impairment or mobility difficulties, you may require additional assistance at the airport. Even if you are fairly mobile there can be long distances to travel. Here’s what you should do to ensure you get the help you need.

I am waiting for a connecting flight. What can I do?

When you have to wait for a connecting flight, it is important that you manage your time well. So, always save some time for procedural matters, as, depending on the flight, its origin and destination, you may have to go through security formalities and passport control all over again before boarding your next flight.

After that and until boarding, the airport offers many options to enjoy your time:

– A wide range of shops and restaurants with great deals;

– The ANA Lounge, a space dedicated to your well-being, where you can relax, do some work or even take a refreshing shower;

– A set of Family Services , which cater to all ages.

If there is a long waiting time before your scheduled departure, why not visit the city centre? Just rent a car or use the public transportation available at the airport. And don’t worry about your baggage, we’ll hold on to it for you.

I have a connecting flight with a single ticket and single check-in. What are the procedures to board the connecting flight?

This means you have a ticket for separate trips with the same airline or with different airlines, but with cooperation agreements regarding the processing of passengers and baggage between flights.

Therefore, you should enquire with the airline providing the first flight if your luggage will be automatically dispatched to your final destination, and confirm the procedures for boarding, which vary depending on the destination and origin:

CONNECTION

PROCEDURES FOR BOARDING A CONNECTING FLIGHT

I have arrived from a country outside the Schengen area and I am travelling to a country outside the Schengen area.

You must go through the security checkpoint.

I came from a country outside the Schengen area and I am travelling to a country inside the Schengen area.

You must go through the security checkpoint and passport control.

I have arrived from a Schengen country and I am travelling to a country outside the Schengen area.

You have to go through passport control.

I am travelling within the Schengen area or on a domestic flight.

No procedures are required. Just head to the boarding gate of your next flight.

Schengen area countries:
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland.

I have a connecting flight with separate tickets. What are the procedures to board the connecting flight?

This happens when you purchase two separate tickets, or fly with two airlines with no cooperation agreements regarding the processing of passengers and baggage between flights.
 
In such cases there is no automatic forwarding of baggage and check-in is done separately for each flight, which means that:

– If you are travelling with hold baggage, you will have to pick it up at baggage claim, go through the Customs corridor, head to the check-in or drop-off counter of the airline with which you will be flying next, and proceed as if you were boarding for the first time, having to go through security control all over again.
 
– If you are travelling only with cabin baggage, you have to go through the Customs corridor, head to the check-in or drop-off counter of the airline with which you will be flying next, and proceed as if you were boarding for the first time, having to go through security control all over again.

At the Lisbon Airport, when you arrive at Terminal 1 and your second flight is with EasyJet, Ryanair, Transavia, Norwegian, Blue Air or Wizz Air, you need to:

– Pick up your baggage, if any, and take the shuttle that takes you from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 – Departures. 

At Heathrow we understand all passengers are unique and we offer different levels of support tailored to your needs. For a hidden disability such as autism, dementia or anxiety, help is always at hand at the airport. If you would like to book assistance just let your airline know 48 hours in advance and our specially-trained staff will take care of you.

Disabled parking

For security reasons the blue badge scheme does not operate on roads around Heathrow – please be aware that all unattended cars are liable to be towed away by the police.

Short Stay car parks

  • Car park prices are displayed at the car park entrance.
  • Clearly signed blue badge parking is available in all Short Stay car parks, close to terminal access routes.
  • Help points are located near these spaces which can be use to arrange assistance free of charge. You can also arrange assistance from your vehicle by calling +44 (0)20 8757 2700.
  • Please ask a the team should you need any mobility assistance or help with your luggage.
  • If you wish to park in blue badge space but take your badge abroad, you will need to show your badge to the car park operator. Please contact the car park operator via the help button on the car park entry machine or by using a help point telephone and asking that the operator be contacted.
  • You must pay for car park tickets at the customer service kiosks or automatic payment machines before returning to your car. If you cannot reach the ticket/payment slot, press the help button.You are also able to pay via card directly at the exit barriers.

Business and Long Stay car parks

There are blue badge spaces in Business and Long Stay Parking close to bus stops or admin offices. We advise that you contact the appropriate car park in advance in order to arrange suitable arrangements for transfer to the terminals if required.

Height restrictions

The following height limits apply at Heathrow’s Short Stay car parks.

  • Terminal 2: Short Stay car park 2: 2.05m (6ft 9in)
  • Terminal 3: Overheight area 2.75m (9ft), other floors 2.2m (7ft 2in)
  • Terminal 4: 2m (6ft 6in)
  • Terminal 5: Overheight area no restrictions, other floors 2.2m (7ft 2in).

Overheight vehicles need to park in the Long Stay or Business car parks. Alternatively, you can use the West Ramp Coach Park system. For further information please call Heathrow Ground Operations on +44 (0)20 8745 4625.

Transport for connecting passengers with reduced mobility

Accessible transport between terminals is available to help passengers with reduced mobility.

All our Flight Connections buses provide accessible transport to your departure terminal – just follow the purple signs for Flight Connections.

If you have passed through Immigration and Arrivals, a special assistance bus is available from the terminal forecourts. Simply tell a Heathrow colleague that you need to use the special assistance bus and they will provide more information. These services are provided free of charge.

Can I travel with my baby/child?

Yes, you can travel with your baby/child. We strongly recommend that you bring a child car seat appropriate to your child’s age and take responsibility for fitting the seat yourself. Children aged 12 and 13 years (and younger children who are 1.35 metres or taller) must use the seat belt provided.

Buses and coaches

While some buses and coaches stop at all Heathrow terminals, others call at the central bus station (Terminals 2 & 3) only. In this case you can transfer free to Terminal 4 or Terminal 5 using the free rail shuttle from the Heathrow Express station.

If you need assistance to reach Terminal 2 and 3, or the rail station, please use the Help Point telephone in the bus station.You can also arrange assistance by calling +44 (0)20 8757 2700.

A number of local bus services use low-floor vehicles but long-distance coaches may not be wheelchair-accessible.

Heathrow Express

Unaided wheelchair access is available once station staff have released the trolley barriers at the platform entrances. The train’s doors are level with the platform at Paddington and at the Heathrow stations.

Door control buttons are illuminated, low-level and emit an audible signal.

Each train offers one space for one wheelchair user, at the end of each train, with a call button located close by.

There is an accessible toilet for every four carriages.

There are help buttons on the red pods on the platforms and along the station concourses.

More help

Visit HeathrowExpress.com or call 0845 600 1515.

London Underground

Heathrow’s Underground stations have step-free access to the platforms but many other stations do not. If you are mobility-impaired we recommend you check your route beforehand with Transport for London (TfL).

Tactile and talking maps of the underground are available – see the TfL website or call +44 (0)20 7222 5600.

Station access at Heathrow

Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3

The underground station is located below the airport’s central bus station. Walking time is five to ten minutes from Terminal 2, ten to 15 minutes from Terminal 3.

There are help buttons either side of the up escalators – station staff can take you to a lift to reach the ticket office level, where there are lifts to ground level and the central bus station. If you need assistance to reach check-in, please use a designated help point or call directly on +44 (0)20 8757 2700 to arrange assistance.

Heathrow Terminal 4

The underground station is below the terminal. If you are a wheelchair user, station staff can help you through the trolley barriers.

If you need assistance to reach check-in, use the help point on the left as you leave the station concourse or call directly on +44 (0)20 8757 2700 to arrange assistance.

Heathrow Terminal 5

The underground station is below the terminal and can be reached by lift from arrivals or departures.

If you need assistance to reach check-in, please use a designated help point or call directly on +44 (0)20 8757 2700 to arrange assistance.

Taxis

All 22,000 licensed London black cabs have wheelchair access. There is no need to book in advance – simply go to the taxi rank (there’s one on each of the terminal forecourts).

If you need assistance to reach check-in, please use a designated help point from the terminal forecourt or call directly on +44 (0)20 8757 2700 to arrange assistance.

Host areas

We have assistance host areas in each terminal, which is where you can find assistance from our agents. Should you need assistance reaching our host areas please use a designated help point or call directly on +44 (0)20 8757 2700.

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 3:
    Before security – Level 1, above Zone A Check-in, opposite Pret a manger
    After security – Near World Duty Free, past the toilets
  • Terminal 4:
    Before Security – Check-in, under sign for Zones A&B
  • After Security – Next to Costa Coffee – follow signs to gate A7
  • Terminal 5:
    Before Security – Zone G and Zone A
    After Security – Next to gate A23
  • Terminal 5B & Terminal 5C:

Airport assistance guide

In conjunction with our charity partners, we have produced a series of guides showing you what to expect at all of the different stages of the journey. They include quiet areas to relax, as well as where you can find help in the airport if you require assistance on the day.

Guides are available for each terminal for both arrivals and departures If you require these guides in a different format, please contact us at: special_assistance@heathrow.com.

Assisted Shopping Service

If you have any shopping requirements please speak to your host in either the landside or airside assistance areas, so they can check whether one of our shopping experts is available to help. Our Shopping Ambassadors are Heathrow experts, equipped with both first class customer care and the knowledge of what our retail brands are offering so you don’t miss out.

Please note: While we will endeavour to fulfil all shopping requests, occasionally our team is fully booked. We require a minimum of 1 hour before boarding for shopping assistance. Food and beverages can be ordered via the Heathrow Grab app, and can be picked-up with your Special Assistance colleague on the way to the host point (after security).

Quiet area

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. Please see our Assistance Guides for further infomation and where to find quiet areas.

Accessible toilets and changing places

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

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 2: After security – departures level, opposite Gate B47
  • 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

Assistance wayfinding

The airport’s directional signs are black on yellow, providing optimum contrast to assist all users.

Facilities for the hard of hearing

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 pay phones in the arrivals area, after Customs.

SignLive

SignLive provides 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 is accessible 24hours and is currently available at all our Assistance host areas and from our Passenger Ambassadors. If you require the use of this service, please let one of our Assistance agents know and they will be more than happy to help.

Aira

The Aira app provides visually impaired passengers with access to on-demand, personalised assistance.
The app, which is available free of charge, connects passengers directly to a trained professional agent to provide guided assistance on demand and for advice on navigating through Heathrow and help on finding specific locations – including gates, special assistance facilities, retail outlets and restaurants.

Please note; Aira have been instructed to advise passengers that they will not be able to use their mobile phones as they proceed through security and immigration. The Aira agent will direct the customer to an assistance agent or passenger ambassador to get escorted or directed through the security and immigration process.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are specially trained to assist a disabled person and meets the full membership criteria of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). For more information visit AssistanceDogsInternational.org.

A dedicated dog relief area for customers travelling with assistance dogs can be found outside Terminal 2, past the coach and taxi lanes on the ground floor. There is also a safe walking route to access this grass area from T3. Please ask a member of staff for directions.

Should your dog need to use the relief facilities whilst inside the terminal building and past security, please call the Assistance team on 020 8757 2700 who will help you gain access to a suitable area outside the terminal.

Departing from Heathrow

For any passenger travelling with an assistance dog, it is recommended that you report directly to the Assistance Host Desk or call for further assistance from any of the help points, where you will be assisted to the airline check-in desk. The airline representative will conduct a number of routine checks to ensure that you are in possession of a valid Pet Passport for your assistance dog and that he/she has a valid booking for the flight. Once all the airline checks have been completed and you have been issued with a valid boarding pass, you will be assisted through the security screening area to the airside departure lounge.

Arriving at Heathrow

For any passenger arriving into Heathrow on an international flight with an assistance dog, you will be met by an agent from Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC), who will check your dog and documentation for clearance under the Pet Travel Scheme. Confirmation that the dog has been cleared will be issued to you in the form of a certificate by the HARC agent. You will be required to present this certificate at customs and immigration checks. You and/or your assistance dog should not attempt to go through immigration or customs until it has been cleared by an official, in accordance with the PETS scheme. Anyone attempting to do, will be advised that the dog may have landed illegally and is liable to be sanctioned by the authorities. Once your assistance dog has been checked and cleared by the HARC Agent, an Assistance agent will provide assistance from the aircraft through immigration checks to the baggage reclaim area, where your baggage can be collected. Assistance will then be provided through to the landside area and on to any designated drop off points within the terminal building, as mentioned above.

Connecting at Heathrow

If you are arriving into Heathrow on an international flight with an assistance dog, and you are scheduled to transfer to a another departing flight, you will be met by an agent from Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC), who will check your dog and documentation for clearance under the Pet Travel Scheme. Confirmation that the dog has been cleared will be issued to you in the form of a certificate by the HARC agent. Once the assistance dog has been checked and cleared by the HARC agent, an Assistance agent will provide assistance from the aircraft, following the normal transfer routings to the same terminal, or to the terminal of departure.

Reserved seating

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.

Security checks

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, you’re welcome to do so.

Our Security teams can direct passengers to quieter lanes. Please approach a a member of the team to point you in the right direction.

Average distances and times to gate

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.

Use our interactive map to preview all walking distances, or see below for approximate timings.

Terminal 2

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.

Terminal 3

The majority of departure gates are 800m (about 20 minutes) from security.

Terminal 4

Most departure gates are approximately 200m (about five minutes) from security. Some are 400m (about 10 minutes) from security.

Terminal 5

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.

Mobility equipment

If you require a wheelchair for your journey but don’t need 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 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 Assistance desk so that your equipment can be checked for aircraft compatibility. Our Assistance team can make the necassary arrangements to meet you at the gate should you require assistance getting to your aircraft seat. 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

Staxi chair

If you are not travelling in your own wheelchair, this is the type of chair that will be used within the terminal buildings.

Aisle Chairs

Narrow enough for to fit the aisle of the aircraft, smaller aisle chairs are used for passengers who need assistance getting onto the aircraft and into the aircraft seat.

Buggies

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 no space. Assistance passengers will always be given priority. Our team will let your family members know where they can meet you.

Help Bus

Accessible transport between terminals is available to help passengers with reduced mobility. If you have passed through Immigration and Arrivals, an Assistance bus is available from the terminal forecourts.

I-Caddy

So that we can assist as many passengers as possible, we sometimes use an i-caddy: a set of interlinkable wheelchairs in a row, pushed by an agent and an electric driver system.