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New CAA guidance given to airlines on dealing with hidden disabilities

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The Civil Aviation Authority issued new instructions to UK airlines yesterday on how they should treat passengers with ‘hidden disabilities’, including the deaf and blind.

The new guidance requires airlines to:

Have a clear and accessible pre-notification system in place allowing passengers to request special assistance at the point of booking

Share information about a passenger’s assistance needs within their own organisation and with the airport and ground handling agents 

Civil Aviation Authority hidden disabilities

Ensure a passenger with a hidden disability is seated with a travelling companion at no extra cost

Invest in quality training for staff so hidden disabilities can be identified and passengers assisted accordingly

Ensure passengers with hidden disabilities are looked after in the event of flight delays and cancellations

If you want to know more, the full CAA guidance can be found here.

Comments (144)

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  • Max says:

    Looking at the twitter feed for BA on Sunday morning, BA left another disabled passenger alone for 45 minutes after dumping them on a chair in a remote part of the airport!

    If this is how BA treat someone with an obvious need, I dread to think how they will treat anyone with a hidden disability.

    I wish the press would highlight incidents like this to improve the treatment of those who struggle and yet want to travel like everyone else.

    • Steve R says:

      BA aren’t responsible for special assistance for PRMs (passengers with reduced mobility) they are forced to use Heathrow’s choice of supplier which is Omniserv:

    • Craig says:

      BA are responsible, whether it is outsourced out of choice or necessity is irrelevant.

      • Steve R says:

        It’s a service that Heathrow provides through their selected operator and all airlines at Heathrow have to use it, how can BA be responsible?

        If someone is not getting the assistance they need from Omniserve they should contact Heathrow (preferably on Twitter @HeathrowAirport) who are pretty responsive in getting stuff like this sorted and investigated.

        • Craig says:

          The original statement said BA ‘dumped’ the passenger in a remote part of the airport. Until that passenger is passed onto the PRM operator at the airport then they are the responsibility of the airline.

        • Steve R says:

          Not sure there is any point trying to explain this further but BA do not move PRMs around the airport, nor do they move them from the aircraft in to the terminal so it is not possible for BA to dump someone in a remote part of the airport.

          Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true 😉

      • Catalan says:

        Craig. It’s seems you may have an axe to grind with BA with this one but as others have tried to explain. In the UK, assistance for PRMs (persons of reduced mobility) is provided (by law) by the airport operator NOT the airline!
        The airline would hand the customer over to the wheelchair company who then assist the customer throughout their journey through the airport.
        The assistant often asks the customer to wait for them until they return.

        • Craig says:

          No axe to grind, but the PRM company once they have collected a passenger would not dump them in a remote part of the airfield. I understand the law and the responsibility of the airline; in particular that of the aircraft Commander. I was replying to the initial comment not trying to get into semantics. I also know full well what a PRM is and how they are categorised (R,S,C), I also know about how passengers with hidden disabilities should be treated but that’s a completely different can of worms. The law, gate-seat, airport, once boarded aircraft Commander until they are passed back to the airport .

    • RakishDriver says:

      This discussion reminds me of an AMS-LGW Easyjet flight I took many years ago with my Mum, who had had surgery on her leg at the time. Parked at the gate for nearly 1hr, all passengers and most of the cabin crew long disembarked, and we’re waiting for G4S’ wheelchair – this was very late in the evening.
      Both Captain & F/O inisisted on staying till Mum was in the wheelchair, despite us assuring them they didn’t have to, and we’d wait in the seating area by the gate.

  • Mark says:


    My BA Amex 241 voucher expires in December. So Iv gone to book flights using it in March and it’s saying I need to use it before expiry date, is this correct ? I always thought you could book a year in advance with it? Any ways round this ?

    • Lumma says:

      I think the outbound needs to be booked and flown before the expiry date

      • Anna says:

        Yes, you’re confusing it with the Lloyds upgrade voucher where you can book to fly beyond the expiry date. With the 241 voucher, your outbound leg has to be flown by the expiry date. Hopefully you can get away in the next couple of months or you’ll lose the voucher! (Pre- Xmas sunshine and/or shopping is always good)

    • ChrisC says:

      Yes that’s correct – the outbound flight has to be flown – not merely booked – before the expiry date of the voucher though the return can be later.

  • jc says:

    OT: last week’s article comparing BA and AA business said there would be a follow-up from Anika later in the week comparing VS and DL business. Did I miss it / was that just when she was flying it and the article is still on the way?

  • George says:

    OT – Shoestring, is there any chance you could drop me an email? Have a few queries that would benefit from your expertise and don’t want to clog up the comments feed. I’m gsp380 [] – cheers!

  • ant says:

    OT: got a supplementary card in my name (husband main cardholder) and I cannot add the card to my online account.
    Amex support via chat are saying this is no longer possible following recent changes to their website. The reason “Before it used to cause errors on the card accounts online.”

    Anyone else had this issue?

    It would be annoying if i end up with2 amex accounts – one as a main holder and one for supplementary cards

    • RakishDriver says:

      Supplementary card holder always has a separate online account – the amex a/c is one, all supp transactions show on the main card holders account.

    • elguiri says:

      This used to be a problem before our last churn, but this time have managed to add my suppl card (to wife’s main card) to my online account (where i have BA amex and main gold card).
      Had two issues though:
      transfer of points – it had linked BAexec account and nectar to the old card so had to phone to get them to move the link to the new card.
      online registration didn’t initially work, so I reset password via phone, then it did.

    • Louie says:

      If you have just got the card, leave it a few days and try again. Has always worked for me.

  • John Caribbean says:

    Can i hold a nectar amex at the same time as my BA and Gold cards?
    Is there a referral from gold to nectar?

  • bsuije says:


    Have just logged into Amex and have the following message at the top of my home page about Amex Shop Small:

    “Get ready to Shop Small and enjoy £5 statement credits when you spend £10 or more in one transaction at participating small businesses between 1 – 16 December 2018. You can enrol in the offer from 1 Nov 2018. To find participating small businesses click here. Terms apply*.”

    • Mark says:

      Yes, me too. Rob flagged it up a few days ago and Amex have confirmed. Now I have to to organise the rotation system for cards / shops / pubs, and work out how to buy everything in ‘just over £10’ chunks! 3-pints at a time works well…

    • RussellH says:

      And there is, again, a list of neaerly 30 businesses in the small market town 7 miles away that allegedly accept Amex for this promotion. Except that 70% of them do not take Amex.

  • Tom D says:

    O/T: I have a Lloyds Avios Amex upgrade voucher that I want to use for a ~10 day CW trip to EZE in November 2019. What’s the best approach here to be sure of getting the seats? Can I book the first leg when reward seats are released, and then add the return journey 10 days later, when seats are released then? Thanks!

    • lev441 says:

      Yes call them and they will sort this out for you. The problem is, is the seats are still available when the phone lines open…

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