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Traveling through the airports; extra assistance / hidden disability help

(13 Posts)
LittleMy77 Sat 08-Dec-18 18:59:41

Has anyone used the id / lanyard scheme that's now on offer to identify people with hidden disabilities when traveling through an airport? We're flying into the UK for Christmas and I'm expecting it be hectic, so am wondering if we should try and utilize this to help us get through passport control etc

We'll be using Manchester, and from what I've found it looks like you can self request without needing to present a blue badge or similar. Interested to see if it might be helpful for us

vjg13 Mon 10-Dec-18 07:25:06

We flew from Manchester in the Summer and the system is now to go to the OCS desk and pick up a lanyard identifying a hidden disability. We didn't realize there was a new system in place so just explained at security and the gate and we were able to fast track security and board first as we have done previously. On return, we explained at passport control and again used the assistance lane which is quicker. Staff are usually very helpful if you explain in my experience. It may be worth ringing the OCS desk just to check though.

FairytaleOfWigan Mon 10-Dec-18 07:33:41

I flew from Manchester last summer with my family. At the same time there was a large group of children and young adults with obvious additional needs. The adults and children all had lanyards and it seemed to work well - there was a very long wait through security and they were able to bypass the queues.

Also on the plane, we were asked to move seat to accommodate a family with a SN child ( not connected with the group ). We got talking to the parents and they were also using the lanyard system and said how good it was.

They found it very helpful as they were transiting through Manchester so had Luggage to collect and rebook .

Their son ended up having a Meltdown when the plane started decending, so it was just as well that both parents were with him . And also that he was behind us and not someone who would have gone ballistic at him kicking the seat etc.

FairytaleOfWigan Mon 10-Dec-18 07:34:45

Forgot to say - that family chose to board last and not first due to their child’s needs.

LittleMy77 Mon 10-Dec-18 14:20:33

Great, thanks both!

Thats good to know vjg as I may use that on the way in if the queue for passport control is an issue. The last time I did the trip by myself and got stuck with DS in arrivals with him screaming the place down (over tired) no sign of the push chair and it was bloody awful. Keen not to repeat that again!

And good point on boarding time Fairytale - its a knife edge on which is worse, early or late smile

anniehm Tue 11-Dec-18 20:59:08

I don't know about Manchester but Heathrow and BA in particular were great when the kids were young (we lived overseas) we were always taken through first class passport control and offered a buggy just by listing asd as special requirements - we also asked to board last but they reserved space in the locker for us and put double buggy in the first class coat cupboard (747). Lufthansa were good last year actually, we hadn't booked assistance but they saw the stress on her face in the queue

LittleSwede Wed 12-Dec-18 12:43:31

Haven't travelled from Manchester but on the five or six trips we've made from Luton we've always received excellent help from Special Assistance. Last time we got a lanyard which was more visible that the sticker we used to get. We always board separately through a different gate so no queues or standing around. This is standard and Luton but am unsure about Manchester.

On landing we get escorted through passport control so again, no queues. Prior to travelling with SA she had s couple of meltdowns at airport but since DX we always request SA.

Have also had excellent service at Paphos Cyprus Airport and Arrecife in Lanzarote, if anyone is interested smile the only negative experience is sadly Stockholm Arkansas which we have to travel through to visit my parents. It's a shame as Sweden really should be on the ball with ASD. There only seems to be assistance for physical disabilities. So tiring hmm

LittleSwede Wed 12-Dec-18 12:44:54

Arkansas!!! Silly autocorrect, meant to say Arlanda...

zzzzz Wed 12-Dec-18 16:03:59

Birmingham were brilliant

Lougle Thu 13-Dec-18 22:25:54

Gatwick are absolutely terrific (EasyJet). They saw DD1 (we were using a wheelchair, but I don't think it would have mattered, she's, er, larger than life in the personality department) and immediately one of the checking managers came to us and escorted us to assisted booking, booked us in, called another colleague over, and asked him to escort us through the rest of the process.

As we were escorted on to the plane, there were some tipsy hen party goers, and our escort took it very seriously and whisked us down the tunnel, asking everyone to make way grin.

Madrid/Toulouse was a bit disastrous. But Marseille were fantastic and again, Gatwick were great.

LittleMy77 Fri 14-Dec-18 02:15:08

Have done some digging this side (US) and I suspect that this part of the trip will be the worst as they are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, and the airport is always undergoing some sort of renovation meaning half the facilities are closed.

Security are usually of the ilk where they'll talk very loudly about whats wrong with people so everyone can hear, whilst berating you for some minor infraction (yes, I am bitter grin)

We fly Virgin - I looked on line and assistance only seems to be for wheelchair, hard of hearing or partially sighted. There doesn't seem to be room for anything else -or am I being dim?!

vjg13 Fri 14-Dec-18 07:19:57

IME if you explain to a Virgin member of staff as soon as you arrive at the airport they will help with the queue at the check in and then ask again about security. We flew with Virgin into Atlanta and were met from the plane and then taken straight to the assistance Passport control line which was the far end of the arrival hall. My daughter doesn't require a wheelchair. The online information does always seem to be about physical assistance but probably so they can (hopefully) ensure they have a wheelchair ready or a motorised car thing.

It does vary though because they were less helpful at Orlando.

LittleMy77 Fri 14-Dec-18 17:38:52

Thanks vjg thats good to hear, and not surprising as they are usually much better at this sort of stuff than the other airlines we've flown with

He's fine with the walking etc (and we're hoping to get him contained in the stroller) but my issue is when we have to get him to queue for passports and security as it can take forever. If we can secure a fast track instead, it'd be excellent

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