Special Assistance, Meal Requests and Other Passenger Services

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Special Services
with Alternative Airlines

Alternative Airlines can arrange a wide range of special services for you when you fly so that you can have the best flight possible.

If you would like any information on services available contact Alternative Airlines on +44 (0)1293 874 920. We will inform the airline you are flying on that you or a member of your party requires a special service and provide you with any additional information you may need.

To find out more about certain special services, click on the options below.

 

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Additional Seat

You may need to purchase an additional seat if:

- You need to transport a piece of baggage in the cabin, such as a musical instrument.

- You have two or more pieces of baggage on your person and wish to guarantee they will be transported on the same flight as you. 

- If a passenger’s physical build exceeds the dimensions of a standard size seat.

General regulations

The rules of this service may vary from airline to airline and may not exist on certain flights, so make sure you contact Alternative Airlines with your specific requests and let us know that you wish to purchase two seats next to each other. Some general regulations are as follows. 

- In the case of date change penalties, charges will apply for each ticket purchased in accordance with the conditions of each ticket.

- To apply for the service there must be two seats available that are side by side. Please contact Alternative Airlines if you require two seats next to each other. 

- If you have an extra piece of baggage, the contents of the piece of baggage must not compromise flight safety under any circumstances. The piece will be subject to a thorough revision by the airline before being boarded. The piece of baggage must be properly packaged and should not exceed 75 kg and be no larger than 80 linear inches (height+width+length).

- If the customer goes to the ticket counter without a ticket for the extra seat, the available commercial fare will apply in accordance with normal procedures.

- To find out how to book an additional seat on your Alternative Airlines flight, please visit our "How to Book Seats" page.

Additional Seat by Airline

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines requires a second seat to be bought for any passenger who can’t “comfortably fit within one seat with the armrests in the down position.” If you buy a second seat in advance, and your flights all take off with at least one seat available, you can get a refund for the cost of the second seat. For those who haven’t purchased a second seat in advance, you may do so the day of your flight; if two seats aren’t available together, you might need to take a later flight.

American Airlines

American Airlines requires passengers to buy another seat if they need a seatbelt extension and their body “extends more than 1 inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest.” The airline recommends that you buy both seats during your original booking (at the same rate). If you don’t book two seats in advance, you will be responsible for any fare difference on a second seat purchased the day of your flight. If the airline can’t accommodate you on your scheduled flight, the airline will let you purchase two seats on a later flight for the same price as your original seats.

Delta

Delta recommends but does not require that obese passengers book an additional seat. “If you are unable to sit in your seat without encroaching into the seat next to you while the armrest is down, please ask the agent if they can reseat you next to an empty seat,” the airline says on its website. You can also pay to upgrade to first or business class. If no empty seats are available, you may need to wait for a later flight.

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Oxygen on Board

Please inform Alternative Airlines that you intend to carry oxygen on your flight as soon as possible before your day of departure. You should report that you intend to use your own Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) during the flight and clearly specify the manufacturer and model.  

If you have your own POC and you need to use it on your journey please keep in mind that, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Regulations, there are only certain models which are approved for use on board planes.

FAA approved brands

Here is a list of brands approved by the FAA:

- AirSep Freestyle 5
- AirSep FreeStyle
- DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
- lnogen One G3
- Invacare XPO2 / XPO100
- Precision Medical EasyPulse
- Sequal Eclipse
- AirSep LifeStyle
- (Caire) SeQual eQuinox / Oxywell (model 4000)
- Inogen One
- lnova Labs LifeChoice Activox
- Invacare Solo 2
- Respironics EverGo
- SeQual SAROS
- AirSep Focus
- Delphi RS-00400 / Oxus RS-00400
- Inogen One G2
- International Biophysics LifeChoice / lnova Labs LifeChoice
- Oxylife Independence Oxygen Concentrator
- Respironics SimplyGo
- VBox Trooper

Not all airlines allow you to take oxygen on board. If you are unsure whether an airline permits oxygen on board, click here for a list of examples, or contact Alternative Airlines and we can provide you with all the information you need before you buy your flight. 

You may have to provide an original and copy of your medical certificate at the airport, either using our form or your physician’s form. You must carry your concentrator with you and show it to our employees as required. For device operation safety, you should not be close to people smoking while at the airport. Please be aware of your airline’s regulations, or contact us so we can inform you as to exactly what you need. 

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Medical Conditions and Allergies

For more detailed information about specific or personal requests, please contact Alternative Airlines and we will be happy to assist you.

Medicine

Airlines usually prefer you to carry medicine in your carry-on baggage and take with you the medical prescription certifying its use (you may be asked for it at the airport). 

Medical Certificate

You will need a medical certificate if:

- You have a newborn baby in your party between 7 and 28 days old that is premature or needs special medical assistance
- You are 30 or more weeks pregnant and there are no risks for your pregnancy
- You need to carry certain medical devices onto the plane, such as dialysis equipment
- There are risks to your pregnancy and you are 30 weeks pregnant or less 
- You have cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological or psychiatric health problems

Dialysis equipment

You may take on carry-on baggage at no additional cost, however, you may not use it during the flight. Complementary elements such as the machine’s support and peritoneal dialysis solution must be transported as checked baggage. Please inform Alternative Airlines as soon as possible if you will need this service.

Medical Marajuana

The legality of travelling with medical marijuana will depend on the destination you are travelling to and from. For more information on the rules and regulations surrounding air travel and medical marijuana, please see our flying with cannabis guide.

Allergies

If you have an allergy, make sure you contact us before you buy your flights and we can help you choose the best airline to suit your needs. If you have already bought your flights with Alternative Airlines, inform us of your allergy so we can help you have the best flight possible.

 

It’s always advisable to get a letter from your doctor confirming your allergy. Airlines’ approaches to allergies vary hugely and having such a letter can be useful when flying with airlines which aren’t known for their willingness to help passengers with allergies. For some airlines, you will need to produce the letter to use an EpiPen. You should also pack your own EpiPen.  

 

If you have a strong nut-allergy, it is important to note that many airlines, such as Garuda Indonesia, will not declare themselves nut-free. However,  if you have an allergy, the good news is that most airlines now offer a wide range of meal choices, along with gluten-free options. Most airlines will make announcements asking passengers not to consume nut-based products, but again, this isn't something any airline can guarantee. Qantas is considered one of the best at removing nuts from all areas (on the plane and off). They also offer a surprisingly wide range of meals, and cabin crew are trained in anaphylaxis recognition and treatment. Epipens are also available onboard.

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Unacommpanied Minors

You can call Alternative Airlines to purchase your ticket. Some airlines need to know at least 24 hours before making Alternative Airlines aware of your unaccompanied minor needs. Most airlines will require a fee for this service. This service generally includes:

- Counter service: document verification and check in
- Boarding: Airline crew will locate them in their seat and provide special treatment. 
- Boarding Gate: The minor will be accompanied 
- Baggage pick-up: If the minor is travelling with checked baggage they will be taken to the carousel. 
- Delivery to the person in charge: The minor will be accompanied to the airport’s exit and delivered to an authorised adult. 

In the airline industry, an adult is any passenger aged 16 and older. Any passenger under the age of 16 planning to fly alone must be clear about the rules as they change depending on the airline. To know exactly how old do you have to be to fly alone with your chosen airline contact Alternative Airlines.

Unacommpanied Minor policy by Airline

Thomas Cook

The minimum age for flying alone: children of 12 years of age may travel unaccompanied.

Escort Service: The airline offers an escort service for children between 5-16 of age at £ 20-49.

 

British Airways

The minimum age for flying alone: British Airways permits children of 12 years of age to fly without being accompanied by an adult.

Escort Service: The airline requires minors of age 5-12 to book their Skyflyer solo service. The British Airways Skyflyer Solo escort service prices are:

- UK domestic flights: USD 50
- Short-haul flights: USD 50
- Long-haul flights: USD 75

Ryanair

The minimum age for flying alone: children under the age of 16 may not fly alone.

easyJet

The minimum age for flying alone: children under the age of 14 may not fly alone. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older to fly with the airline.

 

KLM

Minimum age to fly unaccompanied: Children aged 15 and over can fly alone with KLM. For children between the ages of 5 and 17, an escort service can be booked.

Escort Service: 50 € short and medium distance, 75 € long distance

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Special Meals

If you have particular dietary requirements for your plane food we can assist you to arrange alternative meal options. Common special meals include:

- Low-calorie meal
- Low-cholesterol meal
- Low sodium meal
- Diabetic meal
- Lactose-free meal
- Gluten-free meal
- Vegetarian/vegan meal
- Bland/ light meal 
- Religious meals including halal meals and kosher meals
- Baby meals
- Children’s meals
- Allergen-free meal

Not all airlines will provide the same standard of dietary compliance, and the options available to you might vary. Please check with Alternative Airlines for information for your specific needs. 

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Flying with Children

For all information on flying with children, visit our flying with children page.

Travelling with Infants

Airline policies for people travelling with infants vary; some airlines charge a set fee (from £19 per sector with Aer Lingus), while others charge a percentage of the full fare, which can be up to 20%.  Families travelling on an airline which charges a set fee may find it is not that much more expensive to actually pay for an additional seat for their infant.

Although your baby will not have a seat, often a ticket should be issued under their name and associated with your ticket.  Usually, an infant will not require a seat until they are between 1-2 years old. Please contact Alternative Airlines for the most up-to-date information on travelling with infants. 

Airline breastfeeding policies

As with all air travel regulations, many airlines differentiate in their breastfeeding policies. Most airlines will accept additional baggage for breastfeeding apparatus as well as liquids in small containers. Also, many airline's crews will assist you with whatever you need. Although it is possible they cannot store milk in a fridge, they will cool it in ice for you, as well as heat milk if you need. Some airlines will require you to be more discrete than others. For full information on this topic contact Alternative Airlines and we will be happy to assist you with any inquiry. 

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Disabilities

Hearing Impairments

Travellers with hearing impairments or speech disabilities may be able to receive personalised assistance. Contact Alternative Airlines to learn about the services you are entitled to and organise assistance for you at the airport and on board the plane. 

Visual Impairments

Travellers with visual impairments or speech disabilities may be able to receive personalised assistance. Contact Alternative Airlines to learn about the services you are entitled to and organise assistance for you at the airport and on board the plane. Many airlines offer the use of an assistance dog on board flights. Please check our advice on flying with pets, emotional support animals and service animals for further information or contact Alternative Airlines. 

Mobility Assistance

Please see our page providing detailed information on airport mobility assistance here.

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Flying Pregnant

If you have a healthy pregnancy, in most cases, the safest time to fly is between three and six months into your pregnancy. However, this will depend on the pregnancy, so it's best to check with your doctor before flying.  

You don't have to inform the airline that you're flying pregnant unless you're over 28 weeks pregnant, and in some cases, later than that. If you need any special assistance, please contact us and we'll be happy to inform the airline that you'll be flying pregnant for you.

Flying Pregnant Policy by Airline

British Airways

British airways require that you carry a certificate from your doctor stating your pregnancy record and that you're safe to fly.

United

If you're over 36 weeks pregnant, United ask that you bring a note from your doctor with details of your due date and stating that you're safe to fly.

American Airlines

When flying within North America and Puerto Rico, you're not allowed to fly on American Airlines if you're within seven days of your due date. When flying internationally, passengers flying within 30 days of their due date must bring a doctors note with details of their due date and stating that they're safe to fly.

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Flying with Crutches

If you're flying with crutches, you should let the airline know beforehand. This way you can make sure you in getting the relevant assistance. Contact [email protected] and we'll happily contact the airline for you!

All airlines will allow you to take your crutches with you on the plane but they might be stored in the hold. If you do travel with crutches on the plane, it will not count as carry-on baggage. If you're flying with crutches, it means you won't be able to sit at an exit row. If you'd like to board the plane early as to avoid crowded around other passengers, please put in a request for us to ask the airline beforehand.

If you have crutches, you will be able to get wheelchair assistance for your flight. Please contact us to arrange this with the airline if you'd like wheelchair assistance.

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Flying with a Criminal Record

A lot of countries don't allow people with a criminal history into their country.  However, whether you can fly with a criminal record will depend entirely on where you're travelling to and how much time has passed since your conviction. The best way to find out whether you can fly with a criminal record is to visit the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you're visiting or to go on the website of their immigration office.

Here is a general overview of how strict each country is:

USA

The USA has a strict policy for criminal records. They require you to answer truthfully on to all questions on your criminal history, even if you've completed the time on your conviction or your conviction has been pardoned. If you're from a country that distributes the Visa Waiver Program and have a criminal record or are in the middle of a case determining your criminal record, you will be ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program. Similarly, if you're from a country that usually doesn't require a visa to visit the USA, you might be refused entry based on your criminal history.

Canada

Canada has one of the most strict policies on criminal records in the world. However, you make an application for 'rehabilitation', which might make getting into the country easier. You can be eligible for rehabilitation if your the time passed since your conviction was cleared is more than 10 years and the crime you committed has a prison sentence less than 10 years in Canada

China

China's criminal record policy is varied. Contact your nearest consulate or embassy with details of your criminal record to find out if you're eligible to visit

Countries within the European Union

As a general rule, countries within the European Union will allow you access into their if the crime you convicted resulted in less than a three-year sentence.

United Kingdom

Those with a criminal record that have been imprisoned for more than 30 months will not be allowed in the country. If your conviction resulted in between 6—30 months of imprisonment, then 10 years must have passed since your imprisonment before you can apply to enter the country. If your conviction resulted in less than 6 months of imprisonment, then the time passed before you can apply to enter the United Kingdom is reduced to five years

Australia & New Zealand

If you have a criminal record with a history of over 30 months of imprisonment you will not be able to enter Australia & New Zealand, regardless of how much time has passed since your sentence finished.

For criminal records which resulted in less than 30 months of imprisonment, 10 years must have passed since your sentence ended.