Before you travel | Special Assistance | Bristol Airport
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Before you travel

Before you set off on holiday, there are a number of things to think about, especially if you find walking long distances difficult and think you may need extra help at the airport, as well as on your flight.

Our service provider

Under European legislation, your airline is responsible for providing assistance when you are on board the aircraft and we will help you while you are at the airport.

At Bristol Airport our service partner OCS Ltd deals with all requests for assistance. Their specialised team of staff will be on hand to meet you and to help you through the airport. Special assistance is available for all age groups, including young travellers.

Here's our service level agreement for what you should expect from us as a passenger with reduced mobility or a disability while you are at the airport.

How to book assistance

If you need help at the airport, you should always book assistance in advance with your airline or your travel agent. This is so that we can have the right help and equipment ready for you.

Please follow these simple steps:

  • At the time of booking your flight or at least 48 hours in advance of travelling, please contact your airline directly or via your travel agent to book assistance.
  • You should also tell your airline if you intend to take your own mobility aid such as wheelchair or scooter.  Please provide details of the mobility scooter and how to isolate the power.

If you are unable to book assistance in advance, then please make your way to the OCS passenger assistance desk located in the terminal concourse.

What to expect at security search

Everyone travelling from Bristol Airport needs to go through security. We advise you to check before you fly to make sure that you understand the rules for what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage and what to do if you are travelling with medication or equipment.

Carrying Medication

Medicines over 100ml, supported by a doctor's note or prescription, are allowed through security. There’s no limit for powder or pills.

All medicines are subject to additional security screening and must be kept in a transparent, re-sealable bag.

Insulin, Insulin pumps and Epipens

Insulin, Insulin pumps, EpiPens, hypodermic needles and medicines must be supported by a medical certification letter, as must children’s medicine. Please check with your airline if you have special requirements before travelling, but be reassured that if you have a genuine medical condition (supported by a letter from your GP or hospital) then there should be no problem with taking such items on board the plane.

You may carry medicines that need to be kept cold in a cool bag and include one ice pack in the bag, as long as your doctor's letter states that the medication needs to be kept cool.

Remember, non-prescription medicines for children and adults can be purchased at Boots in the departure lounge.

Advice for medical conditions

We use a variety of different security technologies which have been assessed by government health regulators as completely safe for anyone with medical implants. If you have concerns, however, please speak to a member of our security staff.

We recommend that you carry a signed letter about your condition from your GP or medical practitioner.

Inhalers are allowed in hand baggage, but you must pack spare canisters in your hold baggage. As for essential medical equipment, you’ll need prior approval from your airline unless it fits within your hand baggage. Please clearly mark it ‘essential medical equipment’.

Pacemakers and metal implants

If you have a pacemaker or any other medical device that may be affected by walking through an archway metal detector, please advise our security officers prior to going through security. Make sure you have your medical card to state that you are wearing a sensitive medical device.

If you have a hip/joint replacement or any metal implants in your body, they are likely to set off the metal detector. If this happens, you will need to be searched by one of our security guards. There is no need to bring any proof of metal implants with you but letting our security guards know may be helpful.

If you have specific medical equipment that can’t be x-rayed, advise our security staff, who will be happy to carry out an alternative security check.

Special Assistance advice

All passengers travelling from an airport have to go through security checks and no one is exempt from this. However, we do recognise that our passengers are individuals with different needs and some need to be treated with more sensitivity.

Family and assistance lanes

If you would like to be assisted through security then please go to the special assistance welcome desk in the Arrivals Concourse. A member of the special assistance team will accompany you through the family and assistance security lane (Lane 1). If you’d prefer to take this part of the journey without assistance, then you’re also welcome to use this dedicated security lane. There is a member of staff outside the family and assistance lane who will be able to advice you on the best route through security.

The family and assistance lane has a wider gate for wheelchairs and buggies and staff working in this area are specially trained to take extra care with passengers who have additional needs.

Security search

Body scanners are safe for all of our passengers. If you’re selected to use a body scanner please be re-assured that it is safe for medical implants such as pacemakers, as well as other medical conditions. You do, however, have the right to decline this and request a private manual search instead. This will be carried out in a private area with a witness and you can also bring a witness of your own.

If you have a wheelchair, or other medical equipment which can’t pass through the x-ray, this will be swabbed by security staff. This is standard procedure for items which can’t be x-rayed, and is nothing to worry about.