Flying from Heathrow with an autistic child?

Before we go away I normally contact every airport and airline to arrange assistance. My son does not cope well with crowds of people or queues and checking in, getting through security and waiting for the plane can be very stressful.

I was genuinely worried when I first started contacting Heathrow as I felt like I was getting nowhere. Everyone I contacted gave a similar answer which was pretty much a no we can’t help you.

I eventually contacted the right person though who was extremely helpful! She put my mind at ease and gave me a number to ring when we were on the way to the airport terminal from the car park.

I rang the number given and we were met off the bus outside the terminal. I was introduced to the lady who was going to help us and then we were escorted to a special check-in area where it is quieter and with no queue. We did face the usual rude questioning as to why we were there because my son doesn’t look disabled but our lovely helper stood up for us and got us checked in quickly.

We were then escorted through the fast track at security and it was as unstressful as that can be.

Heathrow airport had assigned us a lounge to wait in but we had already booked the No1 lounge so the helpful lady took us straight there. She then took our details and arranged for someone to come and meet us when it was time to go to the gate.

When it was time, a cheerful man came into the lounge to get us. He introduced himself and was brilliant with my son. He took us down the lift to where his vehicle was waiting and boarded us into it. He let my son sit in the front next to him so he could see where he was going.

We travelled through the airport with our driver making the kids laugh and were delivered to the pre-boarding area at our gate.

We then pre-boarded the plane!

Heathrow airport were so very helpful and I would like to say a great big thankyou to everyone – my email contact, the lady that helped us check-in and the man that drove us around the airport. Without all these people that work behind the scenes, flying from an airport this big would be a very stressful and overwhelming experience for children like mine!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. I am so glad they were helpful for you and your son. This seemed like a much smoother experience:)

  2. Nani says:

    That sounds wonderful! Do you have any advise on how I could go about getting the same assistance? My son is also autistic and has severe sensory processing issues as well as being non verbal. As such the idea of flying and going to an airport is incredibly daunting. If you could advise on how to contact anyone at Heathrow to arrange support for my son I would appreciate it!

    1. If you contact her with your flight details and exactly what you need help with, you should get a helpful reply! If you are looking for advice on flying and airports, I have also written a post on surviving plane travel with an autistic child. The link is here:

      1. Nani says:

        Thank you so much! Hopefully this will ease some of the difficulty. I read your other post as well, what a great read 🙂 So glad to be able to find info from other parents going through similar experiences. Thanks again!

      2. I’m so pleased I could help 😀

  3. Farid says:

    Hi. we went through Heathrow last October (2017) and although we did not get the assistance leaving we most certainly did coming back. We went to Dubai where they were equally helpful taking us through a separate security area with virtually no-one there! I am going again in a couple of weeks time so contacting Heathow. The contact I have is:

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