Dementia is recognised as a cognitive disability by the United Nations and through The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

People living with Dementia and Cognitive Disabilities are legally entitled to assisted travel including assistance from the point of arrival at their departure airport till they leave their destination airport.

It is not something that could be provided or that is done as a favour, it is our right.

Sadly, the recent experiences of people I know in Manchester and Brussels turned assisted travel into perceived assisted rights abuses.

This article from 13 Jul 2018 seems to reinforce the poor assistance experienced.

Manchester Airport states on it’s website:

Hidden Disabilities at Manchester Airport

We are working on ways to identify how we can improve the airport experience for our vulnerable passengers who may not want to share details of their hidden disabilities or use our assistance service.

If this applies to you or someone you’re travelling with, we can offer you a special lanyard to wear on your journey through our airport. This will identify you to staff as someone who may need additional support or understanding. Our staff have been specially trained to recognise the lanyards and act accordingly. Please note this lanyard permits access to our family and priority lanes at security as well as the use of our special assistance lanes at the UK Border on arrival in to Manchester Airport.

To pick up a lanyard at Manchester, please go to one of our Assistance Reception areas. These are available within our Check-in halls in Terminal 1 A and B, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. We will be happy to give you a lanyard, even if you haven’t requested or need special assistance.

Assistance at the airport

If you’ve booked assistance with your airline, please visit the Assistance Reception Desk, which is in the check-in hall in each terminal. Alternatively if you need assistance from your vehicle or public transport there are assistance call points in these locations and a member of the team will be happy to come and assist you.

Once you’ve registered at the Reception Desk you’ll be given the option to be assisted to the check-in desks or make your own way there if you prefer. Following this, our team can assist you through security and into the departure lounge where there is a central reception desk where you can wait for your flight or arrange to meet the assistance team for boarding. Once it’s time for boarding, the assistance team will ascertain your needs and assist you to board the aircraft in the most suitable way for you.

AccessIble and Manchester Airport have worked in collaboration to create a detailed guide to assist you in getting around the airport.

Please select the individual areas of interest here.


Our Aviation Security Officers have all received Disability Awareness training ensuring they are aware of sensitivities regarding disabilities. We have private search areas available in all Security Search Areas. Where required, our Aviation Security Officers will provide walking aids to assist passengers through the Archway Metal Detector (AMD). Seating is also available close to the AMD in the search area.

Should you need to take liquid medication in your hand luggage, this will be screened using specific equipment. Please declare any medication to our Aviation Security Officers at the baggage x-ray load area when placing your items into the trays provided.

Maybe the Manchester Airport Access Forum needs to do some mystery shopper visits to the airport, although there is no way to contact them via the website that I could find.

Manchester Airport Access Forum

Andy Wright – Chair

Andy Wright, has 30+ years in the tourism and leisure industry – 20 of which have been spent managing the needs and requirements of disabled holidaymakers travelling worldwide, through his company Accessible Travel and Leisure. He is a wheelchair user and a Disability Advocate for a number of UK airports, where he provides practical guidance and advice, to support and enhance their disabled passengers` seamless end to end journey experience, as well as chairing a number of airport consultative committees, which are designed to build future partnerships and collaborations with local charities and disability organisations.

Sue Clarke – Alzheimer’s Society

With a background of 30 years’ experience working in Health and Social Care, Sue has spent the last decade at the forefront of driving the dementia agenda across Greater Manchester. A keen advocate for improving public and patient experience within communities and health and social care environments, she has played an instrumental part in improving the lives of people living with dementia. Sue’s role as Operations Manager at Alzheimer’s Society over the last 9 years has involved influencing commissioning decisions and working with local government to raise awareness of the growing numbers, poor diagnosis rates and increasing financial burden of dementia.

Libby Herbert – Colostomy UK

Libby Herbert works for Colostomy UK, a national charity that offers free support and advice to people with a stoma (known as Ostomates) their families, carers and friends. The charity also runs projects to empower ostomates to return to sports, hobbies and other interests and give them the confidence to take up fresh challenges, as well as advocating for ostomates’ rights and their voice on the bigger issues. Their campaigns raise awareness and encourage organisations to make their facilities more inclusive. Libby joined the Accessibility Forum at Manchester Airport to help shape, influence and give guidance in the area of hidden disabilities, to make travel accessible for all.

Jude Sutton – JDRF

Jude Sutton is Regional Fundraiser Northwest for JDRF – a Type 1 diabetes research charity which works to find a cure, and make life easier for people living with the condition. Jude become involved with fundraising for JDRF when her twins were diagnosed with Type 1, and later joined the charity permanently. Jude hopes that by joining the forum, she can help make airport travel as easy as possible for people who travel with insulin pumps, medication, continuous glucose monitors, and every other variation of diabetes kit.

John O’Doherty – Alzheimer’s Society

John O’Doherty was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2016. He works closely with the Alzheimers Society, in particular with United Against Dementia and the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group, which work towards influencing policy on both a local and national level. As part of the Accessibility Forum, John advises the airport on the difficulties that people living with dementia face throughout the passenger journey and makes recommendations for areas of improvement.

Emma Roberts – The National Autistic Society

Emma Roberts is a Project Officer at The National Autistic Society. In this role Emma develops and delivers training for professionals, delivers seminars for families and provides information and signposting for autistic adults, families and professionals. She is also part of a team developing the Greater Manchester Autism Strategy. Emma joined the forum to work collaboratively with Manchester Airport staff towards reducing the barriers to travel for autistic people.

David Lodder – Manchester Multiple Sclerosis Society

David Lodder is Committee member for Stockport and South East Manchester Multiple Sclerosis Society. David was diagnosed with MS in 1996 and now uses a wheelchair, and, as an avid traveller, has found travel more difficult since his diagnosis. He wishes to improve the journey experience for those with both visible and invisible disabilities.

Phil Bennett – MND Association

Phil Bennett first became involved with the Association in 1995 when his mother was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Phil found the Association a huge help during this difficult time and joined the committee in 2001, later becoming Chair in 2003. The Association’s mission is to improve care and support for people living with MND, their families and carers. They fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatment’s and brings us closer to a cure from MND. The Association provides as much information and support to help people living with MND to carry on their travels.

Melanie Worthington - Motor Neurone Disease Association

Melanie Worthington – Motor Neurone Disease Association

Melanie Worthington is Regional Care Development Adviser for Motor Neurone Disease Association. In her role, Melanie works across Greater Manchester, seeking to improve services and support provided to people with and affected by Motor Neurone Disease. Her work involves developing links with health and social care professionals as well as raising awareness and providing education to ensure people develop knowledge of MND, its impact and the support people require to ensure their needs are met in a timely way. This can also include ensuring that people are fully supported when they make a decision to travel.

Kieran McMahon – Disability Stockport

Since 2003, Kieran McMahon has been CEO at Disability Stockport, a local charity which supports disabled people and their families. His current role involves partnership work, especially around access and equality issues, and he supports individuals across a range of needs. Kieran is an assessor for The Civic Trust Awards and has been a member of the Manchester Airport Accessibility Forum for many years.

Carrie-Ann Lightley – AccessAble

Carrie-Ann is Marketing Manager at AccessAble, the UK’s leading provider of accessibility information. She’s a wheelchair user who loves to travel, a provider of information to disabled people and a well-respected figure within the tourism industry. This gives Carrie-Ann a unique insight into all areas and aspects of accessible tourism and travel. Carrie-Ann is an award winning blogger, travel writer & campaigner, passionate about equal access for all. She contributes to the form using her experiences as a disabled passenger, and her knowledge of the accessible travel industry which she was worked in for 13+ years.