Flights and airlines
Air travel continues to be restricted due to COVID-19. Current Government advice is only to travel for essential journeys.
Local airports have introduced a series of measures to ensure passengers and staff are kept safe. Click on the links below to find out more.
Face Coverings and air travel
In line with Government requirements and other transport services passengers are required to wear a face covering at airports and during flights.
There are exemptions to these rules for disabled people who find wearing a face covering difficult or impossible. You can find out more about exemptions from the NI Direct website.
Your rights to assistance when travelling by air are still in place despite COVID-19. You should let the airline know about your requirements at the time of booking.
The Consumer Council Website
The Consumer Council has put together useful information and advice around air travel during COVID-19 including for anyone affected by flight or holiday cancellations.
For more information visit the Consumer Council website
Airports in Northern Ireland
There are three airports in Northern Ireland – Belfast International Airport, George Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport.
Find out more about airlines, flights and destinations on the Belfast International Airport website.
Find out more about airlines, flights and destinations on the George Best Belfast City Airport website.
Find out more about airlines, flights and destinations on the City of Derry Airport website.
Many people use Dublin Airport to travel to and from Northern Ireland.
Find out more about airlines, flights and destinations on the Dublin Airport website.
Air travel can be a challenge for disabled people but you do have rights under EU Regulation. These rights include:
- An airline cannot refuse a booking from you because of your disability, except in very specific circumstances.
- Airports must be accessible to you.
- Airports must provide assistance free of charge, if you require this, from when you arrive at the airport until you depart.
- Airlines are required to compensate you if they damage your mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair (subject to maximum levels).
The Regulation applies to all flights within the EU.
The Consumer Council
The Consumer Council is the body in Northern Ireland responsible for handling complaints about air travel including accessibility issues. They have produced a guide for disabled people and people with reduced mobility called “Access to Air Travel”.
The guide is available from The Consumer Council website.
Each of the airports has provided detailed online information about accessibility including facilities and assistance available as well as how to get to and from the airport.
Find out more about accessibility at Belfast International Airport
Find out more about accessibility at City of Derry Airport
Find out more about accessibility at George Best Belfast City Airport
Find out more about accessibility at Dublin Airport
Changing Places facilities
Both Belfast International and George Best Belfast City Airports have Changing Places Facilities. The Changing Places in Belfast City is close to the Check In desks in the entrance hall. The Changing Places in Belfast International Airport is located in the passenger facilities after going through security.
Every airport is required to have an assistance service. You must let the airport know you need assistance at least 48 hours before you want to travel. The best time to do this is when you are booking your flight or holiday.
If for some reason you can’t give the airport notice the airport should still do all they can to assist you at the airport.
Arrival at the airport
The airport should provide you with assistance from the moment you arrive at the airport if you require this. Help points connecting to the assistance service should be provided in car parks, drop off and bus stops.
There should be an assistance service desk located close to the entrance of the terminal building.
Assistance at the airport
It is up to you how you want to be assisted. You should receive assistance to check in and to get you through security.
Once in the Departure Lounge you should agree a time when the assistance service will return in good time to help you board your flight. You should be boarded using an Ambilift or airbridge if you have difficulties using the steps on the plane.
Arrival at your destination
You should receive the same assistance once you arrive at your destination airport, right through to leaving the airport.
The Consumer Council has produced a detailed guide about the assistance you should expect at the airport.
The Guide is availabe on The Consumer Council website.