Air France allows most mentally disabled passengers to travel alone. To travel in complete safety, mentally disabled passengers must be able to understand and implement security measures. However, it is important to take into account all aspects of air travel:
- The path through large airports can be complex, long and difficult.
- Safety, police and customs checks can take time, be stressful and, at times, intrusive.
- International airports may pose linguistic and orientation difficulties.
- The flight can experience turbulence and/or require a passenger to perform unusual safety measures.
We strongly advise against overestimating the capacity of a mentally disabled person to deal with these eventualities. We also recommend booking a flight for a mentally disabled person no later than 48 hours before departure, so that the most appropriate assistance possible can be made available. Please note: for certain types of disabilities that cause memory loss or orientation difficulties (e.g. Alzheimer's), the risk of misinterpreting instructions provided by the crew is real. Examples include: disembarking without waiting for assistance, which can have serious consequences, including confusion at the terminal or outside; taking the wrong transportation; and problems recognizing where one is. If the person traveling may find him/herself in this situation, we strongly recommend that he/she travels with a companion.
At the airport
Special assistance is available in all airports for mentally disabled passengers who are traveling alone. This assistance helps them:
- move through the airport,
- check themselves in as well as their baggage,
- access the aircraft,
- board the aircraft and get seated,
- exit the aircraft,
- retrieve their baggage,
- leave the airport.
This service is also available during stopovers, helping these passengers get from one flight to another. Please note: the assistance described is to accompany passengers at various check points (police, customs, safety, etc.) and not personal assistance with executing these formalities. At European airports, this assistance is the responsibility of airport management.
While no physical identification (badge, etc.) is required to identify mentally disabled passengers, it is important that the cabin crew members are able to identify them in order to provide the assistance required, especially in emergency situations. We therefore strongly recommend that you inform us of any mentally disabled passengers. Specific instructions unrelated to safety may also be necessary, such as waiting for assistance before disembarking. Therefore, we strongly recommend informing us of a mentally disabled person’s travel plans in addition to the type of assistance he/she needs. Assistance services for mentally disabled passengers do not include:
- help eating, drinking or taking medication,
- assistance in the restrooms,
- any other form of personal assistance.
It is therefore necessary to ensure that the unaccompanied passenger is able to perform certain duties necessary during air travel, without outside help. If this is not the case, we strongly recommend that mentally disabled passengers travel with a companion in order to avoid any difficulty on board.