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Special assistance -British Airways

posts: 415
reviews: 135
Special assistance -British Airways

Hi. After booking flights for solo travel on British Airways, my sister broke her arm (in a cast) and is unlikely to heal before the flight. She wanted to request for special assistance at the airports as she is unlikely to be able to manage her luggage by herself. Instead she was told that this cannot be pre-arranged. Instead, she should make a request at the check-in counter. Is there any risk that her request will be denied at the check-in counter? If so, she may consider cancelling her flight and rebooking with another airline.

Her flight consist of a stopover and one leg of the flight is operated by another airline (Quantas). If she successfully obtains special assistance at airport A, what must she do to request for similar assistance at airport B and C?

Thank you.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 12,839
reviews: 23
1. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

My interpretation of your post is that any special assistance is getting from the check in desk to the gate as she cannot manage her hand luggage due to her broken arm.

In my experience this sort of assistance is provided by the airports rather than a specific airline and I'm fairly certain it can be arranged on the day although it might be worthwhile checking what it says on the airport website.

If she also needs assistance getting on the plane then most airlines allow pre boarding for passengers who require extra time but equally most of them also say that passengers need to be able to put their own carry on into the overhead bins but I'm unclear how rigidly this "rule" is enforced.

Nowy Sacz, Poland
Destination Expert
for Poland
posts: 4,023
reviews: 42
2. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

The BA website says you should contact the airline at least 48 hours in advance for non-disabled assistance.

I'd definitely ask the airline what assistance they can arrange - normally, it's check in to curbside for someone in a wheelchair, but if you "only" need help with luggage the answer may simply be to arrange porters (you pay or the airline/airport pays, I don't know which).

Also ask the airline in advance about hand luggage - the website says "you must be able to lift the bag unaided into the overhead lockers in the aircraft cabin"

Because the normal route to assistance is via the airline (albeit the actual assistace is usually provided by the airport) you ought to be OK as regards the connections, but again talk to BA.

At worst, your sister is going to have to put her one carry-on bag on top o0f her one piece of hold luggage and pull that to check-in. If sheis thinkigof taking more luggage than that, she needs assistance of some kind - either "free" or "paid" so she ought to get on and clarify asap.

Worthing, United...
posts: 6,249
reviews: 11
3. Re: Special assistance -British Airways


I have booked special assistance with BA about 10 months in advance, can't you just go into 'Manage my booking' and add special assistance. Don't leave it until the day. The only problem there may be is if the booking was made with a travel agent or third party website.


posts: 415
reviews: 135
4. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

Thank you Tom, John and Jackie for the excellent advice. When I called BA, I was told thar wheelchair assistance can be pre-arranged. But as my sister only needs help with her carry-on baggage (from check-in to stowing it in the overhead compartment), she can mention this during check-in. I feel insecure to leave such arrangements to the day of the flight.

Thanks for the mention of porters. From their website, it seems that Changi Airport does provide this service. (Sydney Airport and Christchurch Airport requires such services to be booked through the airlines.)

I'll probably ask my sister to call BA again. If not, she either has to rebook with another airline or perhaps check in all her bags.

London, United...
posts: 6,874
reviews: 102
5. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

When I ended up with my arm in a cast -I just used a suitcase on wheels (to check ) and a small handbag -I coped OK

posts: 415
reviews: 135
6. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

Hi Barbexpat. Yes, my sister should be able to manage a small handbag on her left arm. Will ask her to pack most of her stuff in the check-in bag then.

When she reaches her destination, I think it should be fairly easy to ask any gallant fellow passenger to lift the check-in bag off the baggage retrieval "belt" for her?

posts: 1
reviews: 12
7. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

Which number do you ring to book special assistance with British Airways? Is it 0844 4930787 - it's not all that clear on their website. I've never flown with them before but will be doing so from Manchester (an airport I've used many times and they are very helpful about doing what YOU want to do before your travel not what is necessarily easiest for them).

posts: 1,858
reviews: 13
8. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

Have you rung that number to ask??

posts: 415
reviews: 135
9. Re: Special assistance -British Airways


My sister called the Reservations Office in Singapore. The number you have stated looks right if you're calling in UK.


10. Re: Special assistance -British Airways

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