Accessible Air Travel Information Package
Are you bringing any assistive devices, or do you have specific needs due to a disability or health condition on your journey? We've put together an information package covering important aspects to consider, from trip planning to reaching your destination, ensuring that your Finnair flight is as successful and worry-free as possible.
Before you book your flight
Before making your travel arrangements, it's crucial to be aware of your assistance requirements at different stages of the journey. At all airports we operate in Finland and worldwide, complimentary assistance services are available from the airport entrance to the aircraft. Remember to notify us of your needs through the assistance request form at the latest 48 hours prior to departure. Please keep in mind that airports may have long distances to cover or require boarding via stairs. You can reserve our assistance service if you have challenges with long distances or stairs, even if you are otherwise capable of independent mobility.
Consider the assistive devices you may wish to bring along on your flight before making a reservation. You can bring up to two mobility aids free of charge, along with necessary medical supplies and assistive devices. Except for small items, your assistive devices will be transported in the aircraft's cargo hold during the flight. Familiarize yourself with the specifications of your assistive device in advance and determine its dimensions when it is in its smallest possible size. If you plan to bring an electric assistive device, please ascertain its battery type and compliance with aviation regulations in advance. For lithium batteries, it's also important to know the battery's power rating in watt-hours.
Please note that different aircraft types are used on various routes. Smaller aircraft may have smaller cargo holds and doors, which could affect the maximum size of an assistive device that can be accommodated. In some cases, the backrest of an electric wheelchair may need to be folded down to ensure sufficient clearance. Detailed information on the maximum dimensions of assistive devices for different aircraft types can be found here. The specific aircraft type for your planned flight can be viewed on our booking page under the "Flight Details" section. However, please be aware that the aircraft type may change closer to the flight date.
You can be confident that we are doing everything possible to minimize any disruption to your travel plans during your journey. If you have any concerns about the potential risks associated with your illness or disability during air travel, we always recommend discussing them with your treating physician during the flight planning phase. If you use a respiratory device during the flight or have a medical condition that may affect the smooth progress of the journey, we kindly request that you complete the MEDIF form (Standard Medical Information Form for Air Travel), with one part filled out by your attending physician.
Booking Your Flight
You can easily book your flight through our website or mobile app, even if you have assistive devices or require assistance during your journey. Immediately after making your reservation, you can fill out the form available on our website, providing information about the assistive devices you will be bringing, your assistance needs, and any other relevant considerations. If your needs change before the flight, you can always update the information. If you are traveling with an assistive device, please provide its dimensions, weight, and for electric assistive devices, the battery type, on the form. Additionally, please indicate your assistance requirements. In the "Additional Information" section, you can specify any necessary medical equipment that is not covered in the form. You can also communicate any seating preferences or needs, such as requiring a seat closer to the aircraft's restroom. If you need an accompanying passenger due to your specific needs, please indicate it on the form. Also, let us know if you require an aisle wheelchair during the flight, for example, for accessing the restroom. The submitted form will be forwarded to our specialized team handling special needs. They will contact you via email to confirm the requested services and request any additional information if needed.
At the Airport
Allow sufficient time at the airport to ensure peaceful preparation for your flight. Practices may vary slightly between different airports. At most airports, you can contact the airport assistants from the parking areas. An assistant can be summoned upon arrival or at the departure gate, based on your needs. At Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finnair has dedicated check-in desks for passengers with special needs. During check-in, your assistance needs, the weight of your assistive devices, and the battery type for electric devices will be verified. The same type of tags used for luggage will be affixed to your assistive devices. Please ensure the tag is placed in a clearly visible spot on your device so that it remains visible even if the device is further handled after that. Remember to include your contact information on your assistive device. You have the right to use your personal assistive device for as long as possible at the airport. The use of manual wheelchairs, walkers, or other lightweight assistive devices is generally possible until reaching the aircraft door at all airports. However, the handover of electric wheelchairs and scooters may be requested during check-in. This depends, among other factors, on whether there is an elevator near the departure gate to safely transport heavy assistive devices. An earlier handover of electric assistive devices allows for smoother preparation and loading into the aircraft's cargo hold.
Prior to your trip, find out how to prepare your assistive device for the flight and consult the device's importer if necessary. Remember to bring all the tools and necessary items with you, as they may not be available at the airport. It is crucial to detach all easily detachable parts from the wheelchair and either include them in your carry-on baggage or securely fasten them to the assistive device. The controller box of an electric wheelchair should be disconnected and carried in your carry-on baggage. The motor of electric assistive devices should be released to allow for manual pushing. Manual wheelchairs provided by the airport are available if you hand over your personal assistive device during check-in or if you are traveling without your own device.
Some airports offer readily accessible manual wheelchairs, while at others, the assistance personnel will provide one upon request. Before proceeding to the gate area, you will go through the security screening process. If you are unable to walk through the metal detector gates, the staff will provide guidance for you to pass through the gate using a wheelchair or assist you in bypassing the gate and conducting a manual search of your clothing. It's important to note that airports prioritize accessibility, and most passenger areas are designed to be barrier-free, ensuring ease of movement for individuals with special needs. Additionally, there are multiple accessible restroom facilities available throughout the airport premises.
Boarding the Aircraft
It's advisable to arrive at the departure gate slightly before the start time indicated on your Boarding Pass. Our aim is to prioritize boarding for passengers with disabilities and those requiring assistance, ensuring a calm and seamless transition. Airport assistants will be available to help you board the aircraft. Even if you don't require assistance but, for instance, find it difficult to stand in queues for extended periods, please inform the gate staff of your situation.
You can proceed to the aircraft door using your own available assistive devices. From this point onwards, you can choose to walk or use an aisle wheelchair, depending on your needs. Airport assistants or cabin crew will assist you with carrying and arranging your belongings. They will also provide lifting assistance if you are unable to transfer yourself to the aisle wheelchair or from the wheelchair to your aircraft seat. Please communicate your preferences on how you would like to be assisted. In our renewed wide-body aircraft, we have ableSling lifting seats available, particularly helpful for transferring to Business Class seats. You can utilize the ableSling lifting seat throughout the journey. Additionally, you are welcome to bring your personal lifting seat, if applicable.
In cases where the aircraft is not connected to a passenger bridge but rather departing from the tarmac, boarding is usually done via stairs. Many airports have Ambulifts for such situations. An Ambulift is a type of vehicle that functions like an elevator, allowing passengers to enter and align with the aircraft door. From that point onwards, the process is the same as in other cases, where you either walk to your seat or use an aisle wheelchair. If Ambulift is not available at the airport, airport assistants will carry the passenger using the aisle wheelchair up the stairs.
During the Flight
Our cabin crew on board strives to ensure a pleasant journey for all passengers. Feel free to approach them with any questions or concerns during the flight. While they cannot provide personal assistance in activities such as using the restroom, transferring, or eating, they are more than happy to assist with various other matters.
For individuals who are unable to move independently from their seats, it is necessary to occupy a window seat to allow other passengers to move to and from their seats without obstruction. An exception to this rule is in Finnair's wide-body aircraft Premium Economy class, where a completely immobile passenger can be seated in an aisle seat. If individuals sitting in the same row are part of the same group, they can mutually arrange who sits where, as long as other group members can move past the passenger with reduced mobility. If a passenger with reduced mobility can easily and independently transfer from their seat, they are free to choose any available seat and are not required to occupy a window seat. However, passengers with reduced mobility cannot sit near emergency exit rows, as individuals occupying these seats must be capable of providing physical assistance in case of an emergency. If you require assistance during the journey, we will ensure that your accompanying travel companion is seated next to you. You are welcome to bring support items such as a cushion for your wheelchair seat or other pillows, blankets, or similar aids to enhance your seating comfort. All our aircraft have seats with foldable armrests between them, which facilitates easier transfer to the seat.
To facilitate access to the aircraft restroom, we provide an aisle wheelchair on all our wide-body aircraft, which the cabin crew can provide upon request during the flight. Additionally, our wide-body aircraft with renewed cabin feature one slightly larger restroom that can accommodate the aisle wheelchair. For narrow-body aircraft operated by Finnair, an aisle wheelchair can be arranged for flights with prior notification. You can indicate this need on the Special Assistance Notification Form when specifying your assistance requirements and the assistive devices you are bringing. Please note that the restrooms on these aircraft are small and cannot accommodate an aisle wheelchair. However, an aisle wheelchair is convenient for individuals who can transfer from the wheelchair to the restroom seat located near the restroom door.
After the Flight
Upon landing, passengers with reduced mobility or those requiring assistance will be assisted in disembarking the aircraft once all other passengers have exited. You will receive assistance tailored to your needs, similar to the boarding process. We always strive to bring your personal assistive devices to the aircraft door. Before landing, you can request the cabin crew to inform your destination about your need for personal assistive devices, which will be arranged for you at the aircraft door. However, it may not always be possible to retrieve personal assistive devices at the aircraft door, in which case an airport wheelchair will be provided. Assistance personnel will be available to assist you according to your needs, whether it's in the baggage claim area or even up to the taxi stand. They will also assist you with your luggage. Especially at an unfamiliar airport, it's recommended to take advantage of the assistance service as the personnel are familiar with the most accessible routes within the airport. After your flight, it's time to focus on enjoying the accessible opportunities your destination has to offer. There are numerous accessible attractions worldwide!