Sadly, not all travellers are able-bodied and some may need that extra bit of help to navigate their way around an airport. I recently had my first experience of the great work that the Special Assistance teams at both Gatwick Airport and Aberdeen Airport offered when I travelled with my 90 year old mother.
At each airport – both on departure and arrival – the service we received was just amazing – the teams were helpful, patient, personable and above all, actually seemed to care about the passengers’ needs. Aberdeen is a small airport but when mobility is not your greatest strength, getting assistance in the form of a wheelchair and being elevated into the cabin of the aircraft (as they don’t have walkways from the terminal to the aircraft) without the need to walk up any steps was a godsend.
Gatwick is a massive airport and there was no way my mother would have been able to walk from aircraft to the car park .. and again, our saviour came in the form of Rachel, a Spanish lady who just brought a smile to your face as she was bubbly and happy to help. Co-incidentally, the same lady was our escort at LGW on our return journey and the first thing she said to my mother was “hello again .. did you have a good time with your daughter” as she had remembered us from 2 weeks prior! Taking us through security checks and controls before leaving us in the hands of the airside Special Assistance team was flawless. From there, I have immense admiration for the team who drive the buggies that you hear beeping around the airport – I just couldn’t believe how they were able to park one of these 6-seater buggies in a lift to get from the main terminal to the satellite terminal at Gatwick North.
A big well done to all that helped us on our journeys recently – you are a credit to your airport teams. For anyone who needs to book assistance (for mobility, sight, hearing or other similar challenges), this is free of charge but must be done in advance (48 hours or more) and should be done via whomever you book your ticket with. Your TMC can book your assistance needs – just let them know what you need and they will request it via the airline that you are travelling on.