This page is for people travelling with a mobility aid (such as a walking stick), or a powered or manual wheelchair.

If you use a wheelchair or mobility aid, you're most welcome to travel with it on our aircraft. Our Special Assistance team is ready to help make your journey as smooth as possible.

While we always take good care of your equipment, it’s still a good idea to make sure it’s insured against loss or damage – just in case.

Checking in and picking up your powered wheelchair or electric mobility aid

It would be a great help if you could arrive at least 90 minutes before your scheduled time of departure, so we can prepare your wheelchair for your flight.

You will often be able to stay in your wheelchair/mobility aid until you get to the aircraft*. If not, you’ll be able to use a wheelchair provided by the airport after checking your wheelchair in. This process differs between airports around the world.

On landing, whenever possible we’ll have your wheelchair/mobility aid ready and waiting at the aircraft doors. However, you may have to reclaim it at the baggage hall – in these instances an airport wheelchair will be made available until yours can be reclaimed.

*There is a wheelchair on every aircraft, and the crew will help you get around the cabin while you're onboard. They can take you to and from the bathroom door but cannot assist you inside, for hygiene reasons. If you think you will require further assistance once inside the toilet, please contact our Special Assistance team to discuss your options.

Mobility aids such as walking sticks can be taken on the aircraft free of charge and will not count towards your free baggage allowance, unless they’re being carried on behalf of someone who’s not travelling.

You can usually take mobility aids into the cabin with you. On occasions where there’s nowhere in the cabin to store them, the cabin crew will need to place them in the hold. If this is the case on your flight, the crew will be happy to help you get about the cabin as needed.

If you are travelling with a smaller mobility aid (like a walking stick) there's no need to contact the Special Assistance team in advance, but please do get in touch if you do have any questions.

Collapsable manual wheelchairs may be carried within the cabin on any aircraft that has dedicated storage space. Please contact our Special Assistance team at least 48 hours before you flight so we can make sure this space is available for you.

If there isn’t storage space and your manual wheelchair needs to go in the hold, you can check it in either at the check in desks or the departure gate. Detachable items such as seat cushions and footrests will be checked in and loaded with the wheelchair.

We know how crucial these items are, and take great care of them. Any extra information you give our staff to ensure proper handling and loading will be much appreciated.

If you intend to travel with a powered wheelchair or electric mobility aid please contact our Special Assistance team at the earliest opportunity. There are complex safety regulations regarding these items, and if your electric mobility aid does not comply with these, we will not be able to transport it.

What you need to know:

  • There must be sufficient space available on the aircraft when your booking is made. As mobility aids come in different shapes and sizes we can’t specify exact limits that each aircraft type can carry. 
  • The batteries of the electric mobility aid must comply with all dangerous/hazardous goods regulations. 
  • Your electric mobility aid must be able to be prevented from inadvertent operation or short circuit. One way you could achieve this is by using an inhibitor plug.
  • In the event of last-minute aircraft changes your electric mobility aid may not be able to travel on your planned flight. If your journey involves more than one type of aircraft we will need to check each sector of your journey. 
  • The electric mobility aid must comply with the loading limitations applicable to the aircraft type on which it is planned to travel (see table below), i.e. it must be able to be loaded through the cargo doors and not exceed the loading limits of that aircraft.

Important regulations regarding batteries

Due to the dangerous goods regulations, we have to treat your wheelchair or mobility device differently depending on the type of battery installed.

Wheelchairs or mobility aids with non spillable wet batteries and dry cell batteries

As the operator we must ensure that:

  • The battery terminals are protected from short circuits, e.g. by being enclosed within a battery container. 
  • The battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid. 
  • Electrical circuits have been isolated and there is no chance of unintentional operation (i.e. all motors must be rendered inoperative). If this is not possible and as an absolute last step, the battery cables must be disconnected and the battery terminals must be insulated to prevent short circuits.

Where a battery powered wheelchair or mobility aid is specifically designed to allow its battery(ies) to be removed by the user (e.g. collapsible), the following must be adhered to by us as the operator:

  • The battery(ies) must be removed. The wheelchair or mobility aid may then be carried as checked baggage without restriction. 
  • The removed battery(ies) must be carried in strong, rigid packaging which must be carried in the aircraft hold. 
  • The battery(ies) must be protected from short circuit. 
  • We must inform the pilot in command of the location of the packed battery.

Wheelchair or mobility aid with a spillable battery

As the operator we must ensure that:

  • The battery terminals are protected from short circuits, e.g. by being enclosed within a battery container. 
  • The battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid. 
  • Electrical circuits have been isolated and there is no chance of unintentional operation (i.e. all motors must be rendered inoperative). If this is not possible and as an absolute last step, the battery cables must be disconnected and the battery terminals must be insulated to prevent short circuits.

Wheelchair or mobility aid with a lithium battery

As the operator we must ensure that:

  • The batteries must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. 
  • The battery terminals are protected from short circuits, e.g. by being enclosed within a battery container. 
  • The battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid. 
  • Electrical circuits have been isolated and there is no chance of unintentional operation (i.e. all motors must be rendered inoperative). If this is not possible and as an absolute last step, the battery cables must be disconnected and the battery terminals must be insulated to prevent short circuits.

Where a battery powered wheelchair or mobility aid is specifically designed to allow its battery(ies) to be removed by the user (e.g. collapsible), the following must be adhered to by us as the operator:

  • The battery(ies) must be removed. The wheelchair or mobility aid may then be carried as checked baggage without restriction. 
  • The battery(ies) must be protected from short circuit by insulating the terminals (e.g. By taping over exposed terminals). 
  • The removed battery(ies) must be protected from damage (e.g. by placing each battery in a protective pouch). The battery(ies) must be carried in the passenger cabin. Removal of the battery from the device must be performed by following the instructions of the manufacturer or device owner. 
  • The battery must not exceed 300 Wh. 
  • A maximum of one spare battery not exceeding 300 Wh or two spares each not exceeding 160 Wh may be carried. The battery(ies) must be carried in the passenger cabin. 
  • We must inform the pilot in command of the location of the wheelchair or mobility aid with an installed battery or the location of the lithium battery(ies) when removed and carried in the cabin.

Spare batteries

If you want to take spare batteries, please let our Special Assistance team know before you travel, as only approved batteries will be allowed on the aircraft.

Further guidance and official regulations on travelling with electric mobility aids

The British Healthcare Trades Association website has a log providing important details about your mobility aid. Read the Civil Aviation Authority's safety advice about transporting electric mobility aids.

Airline operators must comply with all applicable legislation and regulations. If your electric mobility aid does not comply with these safety based regulations we will not be able to transport it.

The legislation/regulations that apply to the carriage of electric mobility aids are:

  • CAA Safety Notice, SN-2012/003 - Safety Requirements Applicable to the Carriage of Electric Mobility Aids 
  • 14 CFR Part 382 – Non-discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel, 13 May 2008 
  • Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 – concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, 5 July 2006 
  • IATA / ICAO Dangerous Goods Regulations 
  • For flights to and from the US – 49 CFR 175.10(a)(15) and (16) – Shippers – General Requirement for Shipments and Packagings, Subpart E: Non-bulk Packaging for Hazardous Materials Other Than Class 1 and Class 7.

Contact the Special Assistance team

Use our online contact form
Email: Special_Assistance@fly.virgin.com
Tel: 0344 481 4455 Fax: 0344 209 7373
Voice tel: 01293 747691

Opening hours
Mon - Fri 09:00 - 18:00 (UK local)
Bank holidays 09:00 to 17:00
Closed Weekends and Christmas

Contact us

It's often quickest to use the website, but if you need to talk to someone we're here to help.

Call or text us

You'll find the answer to most questions here. But if you have a specific flight or booking related query, drop us a line.

Send us your comment or query

If you haven’t found what you were looking for, choose the subject and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Find us on social

If you like to keep it short and sweet (and all in 140 characters or less) you can also get in touch with us on Twitter