If you are flying into London to Heathrow Airport and need access to facilities for special needs, then you can be assured of getting the best in terms of support and facilities at Heathrow. It is vital to ensure that passengers with special needs be given extra care and attention. The Heathrow Airport Management ensures that every detail is taken care of to ensure a comfortable flight for all its passengers.
Of course you always need to inform the airport staff in advance and if you have a hotel close to Heathrow Airport, ensure that you give them a fair bit of time to arrange things. In fact for passengers with special needs, it is always advisable to try to find a hotel close to Heathrow Airport so that commuting is relatively easier to and from the airport.
A few tips to keep in mind when needing arrangements for special needs are as follows:
Consult your personal physician
The first thing is to consult your doctor about any requirements for immunizations. All prescription medicines must be bought in quantities to suffice during the trip with a few extra spares (for an emergency). Provision must be made for any special medical equipment or spare parts that might be needed for the trip. Also keep a collection of non-prescriptions medicines for pain, an upset tummy or fever. All essential contact numbers for nearby hospitals (of the place you are visiting), emergency contact numbers etc. should be collected in advance.
Inform the travel agent
You need to update your travel agent about what sort of special assistance you are expecting from the hotel you stay in and transport company on your trip. The type of accommodation that is required during the duration of your stay is of course very important. You need to carefully consider your travel including seating arrangements with car rentals, coaches, cruises and on the plane etc. You also need to brief them of any special dietary requirements so that the hotel you book into is made aware of it. The hotel you stay at must have restrooms that are suited to disabled travellers. In case of a rental car, try to rent a model that has hand controls. You will need to book the vehicle in advance as generally these are limited in number and you might not find one at the last moment.
Your travel agent/ car hire company must be able to arrange a placard informing the general public that you are an individual with special needs if this is what you require. This will make it more convenient in the check-out and airport check-in and check-out process. Of course, you might not want this, but the option is there anyway. The best thing to do is to try and make all your bookings well in advance so that arrangements can be made ensuring that various needs of yours can be accommodated. Booking in advance saves on time and unnecessary hassles as it becomes easier to deal with issues especially in a foreign country where you do not speak the native language.
Those passengers who use wheelchairs must have their chair checked thoroughly to ensure it is in perfect working order. It is always a good idea to carry basic tools for maintenance and assembly, just in case a problem arises. It is not always possible to be able to access spares in a foreign country at short notice. So the best solution is to double-check that everything is in perfect working condition. When it comes to selection of batteries to power for the wheelchair, the best option is foam or gel based batteries. Wheelchairs that can be folded up can be stowed on board with place only for a single wheelchair. The issue is airlines work on a first come first serve basis so if you are late in booking your wheelchair will be stored with your luggage.
In case of connecting flights, special needs passengers are generally the last to leave, so you will have to wait to collect your wheelchair. To ensure that everything goes smoothly try to check-in at least an hour before a connecting flight. This has to be conveyed to your travel operator to ensure that they provide the necessary information in advance about the airport and their provisions for special needs passengers. In case there is a short duration between connecting flights inform the concerned airline to make arrangements for your luggage and wheelchair in advance, to help to save on time.
Also informing a flight attendant in advance goes a long way to have them make necessary arrangements for a wheelchair. Last but not the least; try to arrive as early as possible, especially on long haul flights as that will leave you with more time to organise.
Using Guide dogs
In case you use a guide or service dog, you will need to ensure that they meet the specifications of the quarantine laws in the country you are travelling to. It means getting veterinary certification. Check the documentation carefully to be sure that it meets all the necessary laws. During the flight the dog must not obstruct the aisles of the aircraft, which is considered to be a danger in case of any emergencies. After your service animal has received clearance, it can fly with you without the risk of incurring any extra expense.
By organizing yourself carefully and well in advance, you can have a pleasant trip. If you do choose a hotel close to Heathrow airport, you can find the Park Grand Heathrow a good option to choose. Check online for more details.