Special Assistance

At the airport and on board

To make sure your journey with us is as comfortable as possible we provide special assistance free of charge at the airport and on board our flights. It’s important for us to know exactly what your requirements are so you’ll find guidelines here to help you decide.

We recommend you pre-book the complimentary assistance or service that you need as early as possible and no less than 48 hours before your flight. This will ensure that everything can be arranged to create a smooth journey. Please note that if you pre-book the special assistance for your outward flight, arrangements will also be booked for your return flight, provided that you are travelling with the same carrier.

Information on how to book your assistance and contact our dedicated special assistance team can be found here. We'll send you written confirmation of your special assistance booking once it has been completed.

You’ll also need to be at the airport on the day of your flight in good time – at least three hours for long-haul and two hours for short-haul – to reach your departure gate for priority boarding.

Passengers with reduced mobility

If you’re going to need some assistance getting to your departure gate or once you get on board the aircraft, you can use the guidelines below to book the right service for you. 

Wheelchair assistance throughout the airport to/from the departure gate (WCHR)

Departure gates are often a long walk from the departure lounge or main airport building. If you’re not comfortable with walking long distances but can use the aircraft steps and move around the aircraft independently then we recommend you book a wheelchair to the departure gate.

Wheelchair assistance throughout the airport building to/from the aircraft door (WCHS)

If you’re not comfortable walking long distances or using steps but are able to move around the aircraft independently, we would recommend you book wheelchair assistance to the aircraft. This is to make sure you have support and can get to the airport shuttle bus or terminal gates.

Wheelchair assistance throughout the airport building to/from the aircraft seat (WCHC)

If you are unable to walk we would recommend you book wheelchair assistance to your seat. You can also consider booking your mobility device and our onboard wheelchair service.

The way in which you will be taken onto the aircraft from the terminal building may vary at each airport but our trained Airport Special Services Team will always do all they can to make you as comfortable as possible. Below are some examples of different methods that airports use to help you get to your seat.

Airbridge: This is a tunnel that is connected to the aircraft from the terminal building, and these are in place in the vast majority of the airports we visit

Ambulift: A specially adapted device that transfers you from ground level up to the aircraft doors.

Wheelchair: Some airports have specially adapted wheelchairs to carry you from the aircraft to the ground down the aircraft steps.  

Please note that not all airports provide an Ambulift or Airbridge therefore we recommend you visit the website of your departure airport for more details.  

In the event that the size of the aircraft or its doors makes the embarkation or carriage of a disabled customer physically impossible, then we reserve the right refuse to accept the reservation or to embark the customer. You will be offered reimbursement or re-routing (where possible) at your option.

Assistance available on board

The assistance Airlines can provide to disabled customers and customers with reduced mobility, includes the following:

  • Assistance moving to and from seats on the aircraft
  • Providing use of the on-board wheelchair - please pre-book the wheelchair on board (WCOB)
  • Helping a customer to and from the on-board lavatory providing this does not involve lifting or carrying the customer
  • Assisting a customer with their hand luggage on board the aircraft

Using the on board wheelchair

To help you during the flight, all of our aircraft are fitted with an on board wheelchair and our crew can support you with its use.  Please ask the crew on board if this is needed.  They can help you to and from the toilet. For safety reasons, they will not be able to assist you to get in or out of the wheelchair, or into the toilet cubicle, so if you need help with this you’ll need to travel with a companion. Please pre book the on board wheelchair in advance.

Seating with Harness (HRSA/HRSP)

Thomas Cook Airlines have Crelling Harnesses (model 27) which can be used if requested in advance. These are available in three sizes:

27i age - 3-5 years

27a age - 6-8 years

27b age - 9 - adult

Only one harness can be provided on any given flight.

You can also bring your own harness (only Crelling Harness model 27 allowed), this is limited to one per person in addition to the one provided by the airline.

Please note that if you require the use of a harness on a Condor aircraft (flight numbers starting DE or operated by DE) you will have to provide your own, which will need to be cleared for use.

If you require the use of a harness, for safety reasons you will be allocated an designated seat (at the window) in the last row of the cabin at no additional charge.

Self-reliant passengers and carers

IATA regulations states that it’s essential that you assess your capabilities before travelling, as you may not be able to travel if there is a risk to your own safety, or that of any other customer on board. 

To travel alone you must be able to look after your own physical needs whilst on board.  The following are tasks you will be required to do yourself during the flight.  If you cannot do any of these, then you should travel with a companion so they can help you.

You should be able to:

  • Consume food and drink without assistance
  • Be able to move from your seat to the onboard wheelchair and from the chair to the toilet without help.  
  • You should be able to communicate with, and understand, the cabin crews instructions and advice
  • You should be able to fasten and unfasten your seatbelt
  • Use the oxygen mask without help
  • Fit a lifejacket
  • Administer your own medication

If you require help from a carer, or a travelling companion, we can provide support for up to one carer/travelling companion and will arrange seating together. Any carer/travelling companion will need to purchase a ticket at the same time as you book your flight, to guarantee there are sufficient seats available. If you require more than 1 person to support your needs, please contact our Special Assistance Team who will be able to help you.

Other physical disabilities

If you have any other physical disability (Blind, Deaf, Speech Impediment) and require assistance to get to the departure gate or on board the aircraft please book an assistance service according to your needs:

  • Special assistance for impaired hearing

You should book this service if you might have difficulties or are unable to understand announcements at the airport and instructions of the cabin crew.

  • Special assistance for impaired vision

You should book this service if you might have difficulties reading signs at the airport and instructions on board the aircraft or are unable to make your way to the gate on your own.

  • Special assistance for impaired speech

You should book this service if you might have difficulties articulating / expressing yourself verbally to airport staff or cabin crew.

Services on board to support our customers who are deaf and blind

  • When you get on board please introduce yourself to the crew so that they can support your needs and individual requirements.
  • To help those who are blind a personal safety briefing will be given to you by our crew.
  • It’s important that you know fully what to do in the event of an evacuation so if you need the crew to give instructions in more detail please don’t hesitate to ask.

Non-physical disabilities

If you have any non-physical disabilities (Autism, Asperger, etc.) and require assistance to get to the departure gate or on board the aircraft please book an assistance service according to your needs. 

Special assistance for (DPNA)

We appreciate that some of our customers require a little more help with disabilities that are not obvious.  This is particularly apparent for conditions such as Autism, or Aspergers.  Please request this assistance and we can help make your journey through the airport and boarding as easy as possible.

If you are travelling alone you must be able to follow the instructions of the crew. If you can’t follow the instructions of the crew you must travel accompanied by a carer or a travel companion.

Autism Awareness

A number of airports offer Autism Awareness programmes to help with the journey through the airport.  Please visit/contact your airport website for further information.

Seat allocation

At Thomas Cook Airlines, we aim to provide seats suitable for your needs, whether you prefer to book your own specific seats or have our Special Assistance Team allocate them for you. 

Booking the right seat

If you would like to pick the seat of your choice, and you haven’t done already, then you can do this through our “Manage My Booking” page on the Thomas Cook Airlines website.  As with all of our customers there is a charge for this service.

If you have a medical condition or a disability that requires you to sit somewhere specific on the aircraft then please contact our Special Assistance Team. They will allocate appropriate seats for you and one travelling companion. This should be done at least 48 hours before departure.  

Exit row seats

In order to book the exit row seats you may need to demonstrate that you can perform the evacuation procedures as described under the Thomas Cook Airlines, Terms & Conditions. If our crew are not comfortable that these procedures can be implemented safely you may be asked to move to another row.