Air travel if you are blind or visually impaired
When you travel by air, always let your travel agent and the airline know if you need any extra assistance. Contact the airline at least 48 hours before you fly, so that they have time to organise the support you need.
At the airport
Support services for blind or visually impaired people at airports include:
* Someone to meet you and guide you through check-in, baggage check and customs controls
* Someone to tell you personally when your plane is boarding if you are in a 'silent airport'
* Someone to help you board the plane and stow any luggage
At a security search, always explain your disability and ask airport security staff to repack bags in a specific order for you, so that you know where essential items are located.
On the plane
The safety demonstration given by the cabin crew to all passengers at the beginning of a flight should be available in other formats, including Braille and audio versions.
Cabin crew should also tell you more general information about the plane, its services and facilities. They will also describe the layout of your food tray to you, open any packaging that is awkward and help you find your way to the toilet.
Guide dogs and air travel
If you want to take your guide dog on the plane with you, always tell the airline about this in advance. The airline can ask the owner to produce proof that the dog has been trained by a recognised organisation. In the UK these organisations are members of Assistance Dogs UK.
You should also check the airline's policy on carrying guide dogs. Guide dogs normally travel free of charge, in the passenger cabin with you, but on some airlines, they have to travel in the hold of the plane.
When travelling with a guide dog, you should carry identification for yourself and the dog and a car safety harness suitable for securing the dog at take-off and landing and at any other time that the airline requires it.
Pet Travel Scheme
If you want to take your dog with you on an international trip, the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) could help you avoid long quarantine periods for your dog when you return to the UK.
Not all airlines operate the scheme so it is best to check with them beforehand. Pets travelling on airlines under the scheme are carried in the hold of the plane, but there is an exemption that allows guide dogs and other assistance dogs to travel in the cabin with their owners.