If you have a disability or you experience mobility difficulties, you may require special assistance at the airport. This page provides you with all the information you need so that you know what to do before you come to the airport and what to expect while you are here.
You can also download our advice and tips for travelling through the airport.
Booking Special Assistance
If you require special assistance while at the airport please inform your airline, tour operator or travel agent at least 48 hours before you fly. It is best to give as much notice as possible both for your outbound and return journeys so we can make the necessary arrangements to give you the assistance you require.
Your airline will pass on your special assistance booking to our providers, Swissport, prior to your arrival at the airport. If you arrive at the airport and haven’t booked in advance, we will make all reasonable efforts to assist you.
Getting to the Airport
Blue badge parking is available in the short stay car park close to the terminal and in the long stay car park close to the bus stops. Find out more about blue badge parking at Southampton Airport, pick up/drop off arrangements or parking charges.
If you require Special Assistance when making your journey to the airport by train, please contact the train company that manages the station you are starting your journey from. For train journeys beginning at Southampton Airport Parkway station, please book assistance with South Western Railway. For the contact information of alternative train operators, please visit National Rail.
Special assistance arrangements for local and national buses need to be made with the operator for the service you require. Uni-link provides a direct bus service to the airport and more information on assistance available can be found on their website. Find out more about the local and national bus operators.
The taxi operator Checkercars are based at the airport and can offer special assistance if required. They are based at the taxi desk on the main concourse within the airport terminal and can offer accessible vehicles for wheelchair users. To book through Checkercars, please telephone +44 (0)2380 651 110 or email email@example.com. The goverment website has further information regarding taxis and minicabs.
If you have booked car parking with an off-airport parking provider, please contact them directly to confirm your assistance requirements.
At the Airport
Arrival at the Airport
Upon arrival at the airport, assistance is available from any of our designated arrival points. Our designated arrival and departure points, which can also be found on our airport maps are listed here:
- Priority pick up and drop off facility within the short stay car park
- Outer and Inner forecourt on our Spitfire Loop
- Customer payment areas of the short stay car park
- Long stay car parks
- Pick up and drop off facility within the long stay car park (bus stop B)
- Southbound platform of Southampton Airport parkway rail station.
Please locate the nearest call point to request assistance. Our special assistance service provider, Swissport will then assist you to your chosen method of check-in. If you do not require assistance from your arrival point at the airport, then please proceed to the Special Assistance desk on the main concourse to complete the registration process.
Please arrive at the special assistance desk within the main terminal no later than two hours before your flight. Our Special Assistance provider, Swissport, will help you through the check-in process and onward through the security search area.
Our security staff are required under government legislation to carry out a hand-search whenever a passenger activates the archway metal detector alarm. If you are a wheelchair user, that’s likely to be the case. We recognise that it may be more suitable to have this search carried out away from the main search area, so please don’t hesitate to request this. If you have any questions or queries throughout the Security process then please do not hesitate to ask for one of our Security Supervisors who will be more than happy to help.
Once you are in the departure lounge you can relax in our dedicated special assistance seating area. If you wish to use any of our shopping, catering or toilet facilities, please inform our Special Assistance team.
When your flight is ready for boarding, specialist equipment will be used to help your board your flight which may involve a few minutes wait while the equipment is being set up. Once onboard your aircraft, your airline will provide assistance.
Cancelled, Delayed or Missed Flights
Our Swissport Special Assistance team will ensure that in the event of a delay or cancellation to your flight, help will continuously be provided.
In the event of a missed flight, help will be provided in seeking refreshments and food, hotel bookings and the rebooking process through the airline. Should any transport be required to a hotel following a missed flight, our Special Assistance team will also assist with this.
If you are on an arriving flight at Southampton Airport, our Special Assistance provider Swissport will help you through the border control process and with the collection of your luggage in the baggage reclaim halls. The team will then assist you to your first point of onward travel.
If you are on a connecting flight at Southampton Airport, our Swissport Special Assistance team will ensure that you are assisted from arrival off the aircraft up to the doors of your departing aircraft.
Facilities at the Airport
Most of the airport is on one level making it easy to navigate your way around and enjoy all our facilities. Within the departure lounge, there is a lift for passengers to gain access to the first floor where our restaurants and bars are located. Our accessible toilets are located on the main concourse and within the departure lounge. Toilet locations are visible on our terminal map.
Facilities for the hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted
Southampton Airport has an Access Partnership with Guide Dogs. Passenger services staff receive regular specialist training from Guide Dogs to help them support people with visual impairments. The airport is listed on Guide Dogs’ website as an ‘Open for Business’ partner acknowledging the airport’s efforts in making the airport more accessible for people with visual impairments.
Guide and hearing dogs are the only dogs allowed in the terminal building, except for those travelling on flights. Please note that guide dogs can only travel if they are registered with the Pet Travel Scheme and if allowed by your airline and holiday destination. For further information on travelling with an assistance dog, please visit the dedicated webpage on the UK government website.
For those passengers taking a mobility aid such as a scooter or wheelchair, onto the aircraft, your airline must be advised in advance preferably at the time of booking. You should provide details to your airline, tour operator or travel agent which outline the dimension, weight, make and model of the mobility aid.
You will be able to travel with your mobility aid from arrival at the airport up until the point of boarding the aircraft. Our Swissport Ground Handling team will then ensure your mobility aid is made safe for carriage on the plane and you or a person in your travelling party may be required to liaise with the team to ensure the mobility aid is immobilised.
On your arriving flight into Southampton Airport, you will be reunited with your mobility aid at the aircraft side after disembarking. In the unlikely event there is any damage to your mobility equipment, our Special Assistance team will make every effort to provide you with a temporary replacement.
Special Assistance Enquiries
If you have any queries about reduced mobility assistance please call Swissport on +44 (0)344 481 77777. Our call centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are committed to providing the highest level of service in a timely manner; please find details of our service level agreement below and performance information.
The Civil Aviation Authority, in conjunction with UK airports, collects feedback on the quality of the assistance provided to passengers with reduced mobility. If you have used our special assistance service, we would be grateful if you would take the time to complete a short survey. To give your valued feedback, please visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/PRMUK.
To send feedback to the airport directly, please fill in our online form.
Working in Partnership with Disability Organisations
We work in partnership with organisations representing disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility to continually review and improve our service provision. Working closely with a number of disability organisations has greatly helped us improve the experience we provide all our passengers and more recently focusing on people travelling with hidden disabilities.
Organisations we have been working with include:-
- Alzheimer's Society
- Dementia Friends
- National Autism Society and Autism Hampshire
- Action on Hearing Loss
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- Crohns & Colitis UK
Working with these organisations, during 2018 we have continued to develop our teams through enhancing their skills to improve the assistance they provide our passengers. Action on Hearing Loss, Stomawise and Autism Hampshire have delivered in-depth awareness training and provided us with guidance on opportunities to further improve our customer experience.
In 2019, working with Supporting Minds Consultancy we have launched the Southampton Airport CARE training for our staff. This training focuses specifically on mental health well-being, improving staff awareness and providing them with confidence to assist passengers in the best possible way.
Stomawise held an Ostomy event at Southampton Airport in July 2018 with the aim of improving passenger confidence for air travel. Further information is available in our advice and tips booklet.
We understand that passengers like to prepare for their journey through the airport. Our advice and tips booklet which we developed in partnership with disability organisations is a positive step forward with helping guide passengers through the process of travelling to and from Southampton Airport.
It’s been a pleasure to welcome Let’s Communicate Hard of Hearing Club who visited us in March 2019 to find out about our Special Assistance service. A very big thank you to them for the useful feedback and suggestions they gave on where we can improve our accessibility.
Having worked previously with Action on Hearing Loss to introduce additional hearing loops in key locations throughout our terminal, they are now helping us introduce equipment for group sessions and the familiarisation visits we provide.
Following the Dementia Friends audit of our services and facilities, we are working through the recommendations we received and are making improvements to ensure we are a dementia friendly airport. Southampton Airport have signed up to become a Dementia Friend and have committing to 3 dementia-friendly actions. These are:-
- Hold a regular accessibility forum with disability organisations
- Carrying out an environmental audit of the airport by people affected by dementia
- Provide our teams with more in-depth training to enhance understanding of dementia
In addition to our regular Consultative Committee Meeting, we are also introducing a regular forum with local and national disability organisations to work together on developing our services.
The introduction of our ‘helping hands’ lanyards, a quieter route through the airport and signage improvements (including new tactile signs) have also contributed to improving the experience for passengers travelling with hidden disabilities.
During 2019, we are working on a number of improvements and the partnerships we have developed are invaluable with helping us enhance the services we provide all our passengers.