Guidance for airlines on assisting people with hidden disabilities

Closed 2 Feb 2018

Opened 21 Nov 2017


The CAA is consulting on its proposed guidance for airlines on the minimum compliance standards under Regulation EC1107/2006 (the Regulation) in relation to providing assistance to people with hidden disabilities.

Hidden disabilities include, but are not limited to, dementia, autism, learning disabilities, anxiety issues, mental health impairments and hearing loss. A significant proportion of the UK population is affected by such disabilities and conditions.

According to the relevant charities, 700,000 people live with autism, 1 million have learning disabilities, 850,000 have dementia and 11 million people have some sort of hearing loss. In addition, many more friends and families of people with hidden disabilities are also affected (for autism, this is an estimated 2.8 million people).

Why your views matter

CAA passenger research suggests that many Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRMs) with hidden disabilities lack the confidence to travel (around 30% of PRMs have a non-physical disability which makes air travel difficult).
The CAA has been contacted by charities and individuals with regard to problems that have occurred when people with such disabilities have travelled by air.
We produced similar guidance for airports in November 2016 (CAP1411). High numbers of passengers are already benefiting from new and enhanced assistance services directed specifically at people with hidden disabilities, which have been introduced at UK airports.
The guidance we propose for airlines outlines our view of what airlines need to do to comply with their obligations under the Regulation and has been shaped through our discussions with disability organisations on the varied needs of people with hidden disabilities in terms of accessing air travel.
The CAA has met with a number of leading organisations representing the interests of people with hidden disabilities, including the National Autistic Society, the Alzheimer’s Society, Epilepsy Action, Mental Health Working Group, RNIB and Action for Hearing Loss, as well as attending meetings of Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge Air Transport Task and Finish Dementia Group. In addition, we have consulted our colleagues in the CAA’s Consumer Panel. 
As a result of the significant amount of consultation with both internal and external stakeholders, we have been able to ensure that the requirements within the guidance are focused on providing practical benefit to passengers, airlines and airports (and service providers) particularly with reference to the section on additional information during the pre-notification process.
With regard to the chapter on “Information and communication prior to travel and at the airport”, specifically the section on additional information during pre-notification, this guidance has also been produced following in-depth research by the CAA into the current processes used by airlines and airports to capture and pass on information about passengers’ assistance needs when travelling by air.
As with CAP1411, the guidance is designed to provide a framework in which airlines can enhance existing practices to better take account of, and meet, the diverse needs of people with hidden disabilities and through this, provide a high standard of assistance to this group of passengers.
Our view is that implementation of the measures set out in this guidance should enable airlines to demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements of the Regulation in relation to assisting people with hidden disabilities. 
Please give us your views
We welcome views from airports, airlines, disability organisations, passengers or any other interested parties on the issues and questions raised in this document. You can respond to this consultation by emailing us here.
In the interests of transparency, we intend to publish as much information as possible on our website. If any of the information you provide or views you express are considered confidential, please provide both confidential and non-confidential versions.
The non-confidential responses will be published on our website with our report on the results of this Request for Information.
In general, we will not publish information if we consider that the disclosure of such information would, or might in our opinion, significantly harm the legitimate business interests of an undertaking to which it relates, or an individual’s interests.
This consultation runs until 2 February 2017, during which time we would welcome submissions.


  • Organisations affected by aviation
  • Community groups
  • Airline passenger
  • Commercial airlines
  • Airport operators
  • Industry representative bodies
  • Flightcrew
  • Tour operators
  • Travel agents
  • Aerodrome Operators


  • Consumer protection
  • Disability rights