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Special assistance is on hand, says Grantham travel expert Lynne Page

If you are travelling abroad and need special assistance, help is on hand, writes Lynne Page of The Holiday Village.

I was lucky enough to go to Sicily this month, but was a bit dubious as I have recently had surgery on my knee and am still struggling to get around.

For the first time , I needed special assistance at the airport.

I booked this through my airline as soon as I booked my flights. It was very simple and you choose what sort of assistance you need.

Lynne Page, Grantham-based personal travel consultant with The Holiday Village
Lynne Page, Grantham-based personal travel consultant with The Holiday Village

For example, I needed a wheelchair to get me through the airport and required assistance to get on to the plane, as I couldn’t manage the steps.

Because I was booking special assistance it also meant that my seat on the plane is pre-booked, at no extra charge, along with a companion travelling with me.

The other assistance categories are:

· If you require a wheelchair to get through the airport but you are able to use the steps to get on to the aircraft.

· If you are blind or visually impaired.

· If you are deaf or hearing impaired.

· Invisible disabilities such as autism or being neurodiverse.

It is very easy to book these online, either through the airline/tour operator’s website.

Alternatively, your travel agent can organise it for you. It must be booked at least 48 hours before departure.

Once I arrived at the airport I made my way into departures and headed to the assistance reception. I gave my name and showed my boarding pass.

A wheelchair was brought straight to me, I was helped into it and my bags were put on a rack underneath the seat.

I then had the option of waiting there for a member of their team to take me through the airport or my travelling companion could push the wheelchair.

I chose the latter and we were pointed in the direction of security, which had a separate entrance for assistance. We whizzed through there, no waiting at all.

When it was time to go to our gate, we had to wait to one side and a member of the assistance team came to greet us and take us to the transport.

Once everybody was on the transport, which had a lift at the back of it for the passengers in wheelchairs, we were taken to the rear entrance of the plane and helped to our seats.

In Sicily, it was just as slick, just with a slight language barrier! We waited for the transport to arrive and were taken straight to passport control and then to arrivals.

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