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.
Brussels Airport states on it’s website:
At Brussels Airport, we aim to help our passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) in the best way possible, tailored to their needs.
If you have special (medical) needs or some difficulty to move around, we will be very happy support you free of charge, with a special assistance service to make your journey as comfortable as possible. In order to provide you with the best possible assistance, we encourage you to advise us ahead of your trip and to arrive well in advance at the airport
Travelling with a wheelchair, a battery powered mobility aid or any other medical equipment? Always contact us in advance, even if you don’t require our assistance.
Although it is not compulsory, we encourage you to inform us on the nature of your medical problem (pacemaker, reduced mobility,…). In all cases where assistance is required, we will take the passenger to and from the aircraft and offer assistance with catching connecting flights.
Special assistance: practical info
The PRM service at the airport is provided in conformity with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.
Passengers with reduced mobility who travel alone may apply for special assistance to help them move about the airport. In this case, assistance provider Axxicom Airport Caddy will see to it that you’re brought to the gate in a wheelchair.
Don’t forget to request this service at least 48 hours in advance of your scheduled departure time through your airline or travel agent.
After checking in your luggage, you can go to the Special Assistance reception desk for further assistance. You can find the desk in the departures hall, near check-in row 1 next to Travelex.
Security and wheelchairs
The general security rules also apply to PRM passengers. At the Special Assistance reception desk, you can prepare for the security check at your own pace. An assistant will guide you through the screening process and take you straight to the gate or to a waiting room, depending on the timing.
Our team as well as the cabin crew can help you board the plane. Please let them know what you prefer.
Also inform your travel agent or airline in advance if you bring and use your own collapsible or powered wheelchair. Please ask them about special arrangements or any rules that may apply. This is also important for the airport of destination.
Passengers with reduced mobility who travel accompanied can borrow a wheelchair from the Special Assistance desk. You may leave the wheelchair at the gate.
Help points with intercom
If you are in need of special assistance but can’t get to the Special Assistance desk in the departures hall yourself, there are several PRM Help Points with intercom at the airport. You can find them in the following locations:
- Parkings: parking P3 Holiday, level 2 (departures)
- Drop-off zone: next to the ticket machine, near the 4 parking spaces for the disabled
- Busstation: at platform C
- Train: near the elevators
But it would help if you were told this beforehand, which isn’t the case.
Parking spaces for the disabled
If you travel to the airport in your own car, you can leave it in one of the car parks while you’re away. Every car park has dedicated parking spaces marked with the customary disabled parking only sign.
These spaces are located as closely as possible to the exits of the car parks. Don’t forget to display your official disabled parking permit!
Assistance dogs and guide dogs for the blind
As a general rule, dogs are not allowed in the airport terminal building. For assistance dogs we gladly make an exception: they are welcome to Brussels Airport.
If you want to know if your dog is allowed in the cabin of a particular flight, please check with your travel agent or airline beforehand.
Passengers with a mental impairment (Alzheimer’s disease, syndrome of Down,…)
In order to make sure that mentally impaired guests will enjoy a comfortable journey, it is very important to evaluate their ability to cope with unfamiliar situations such as finding their way to the gates or communicating with staff and understanding safety instructions during the flight.
Please be aware that the way to the boarding gates at international airports is often long and can be complicated. Mentally impaired passengers may have difficulty finding their way around and communicating with staff. Security, Customs and Police checkpoints may cause stress and anxiety.
Certain impairments that lead to confusion or disorientation (such as Alzheimer’s disease) may result in the passenger not paying attention to the crew’s safety instructions. It can also lead to unforeseen circumstances such as the passenger disembarking without supervision or getting lost at the airport. We kindly ask you to consider carefully if the person concerned will be able to travel alone or if they need a travel companion.
Contact information Medical Assistance Co-ordination Service
Phone: + 32 2 723 8014
Fax: +32 2 723 3705
Monday till Friday: from 9h00 – 12h30 and 13h30 – 16h00
Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays: from 9h00 – 13h00