Your rights at the airport

Security searches are carried out on all passengers and baggage before they’re allowed to board the aircraft.

This includes searches of disabled people and mobility aids.

If you’re wearing headgear for religious or cultural reasons, you can ask for it to be checked using a hand-held scanner so you do not have to remove it.

You can ask for a hand search if you have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). You should carry your ICD identification card with you when you travel. Scanning devices and metal detectors should not cause a problem, though the metal detector should not be placed over your ICD.

You can also ask for a hand search of hearing aids. You should bring a letter from your doctor stating why they should not be scanned. However, it is up to the airport to decide if they need to be scanned or not.

Body scans

You may be asked to have a body scan with security scanning equipment even if you’re pregnant. Children can also be asked.

You’ll be picked out at random for a scan or if you’ve activated a metal detector.

You can ask for a private search instead of a body scan. This is a thorough hand-search and you may be asked to loosen or take off some clothing.

You can ask for a security officer of the same sex to analyse the screen for your scan. They will not be able to identify you from the scanned image and you will not meet the security officer.

The scan

You’ll have the scan in the security area, with a member of airport staff present. It will take just a few seconds.

Your image will show if you have a colostomy, implant or prosthesis. Security staff have been trained to handle sensitive issues around surgery and treat passengers respectfully.

After the scan, only you and a security officer will see a mannequin-style diagram on a small screen. No bodily features or skin will be seen.

Your scan will be permanently deleted after it’s been assessed by a security officer.

Airport services for disabled people

You need to tell your airline about your disability at least 48 hours before departure.

Essential medical supplies in hand luggage

Medicines and medical equipment

You’ll need a letter from your doctor explaining what they’re for if you need to carry medicines and medical equipment such as needles or syringes.

Liquid medication

If you want to carry over 100ml of liquid medication, you’ll need to check with your airline before you fly. You’ll also need to carry the medication separately and declare it at security.

Check medication rules in your destination country

Some countries do not allow certain medication to be brought in. Check any restrictions with the country’s embassy or high commission.