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Gatwick airports

If you have a disability that may not be immediately obvious but would appreciate support from staff in airports , then you may be interested to know there is a lanyard you can wear to signal this. 

The lanyard, which is entirely voluntary for people with hidden disabilities and their families, acts as a discreet sign for staff that additional support or help may be required.

The lanyard is sometimes known as the “sunflower lanyard” because of its appearance – a strip of green with a pattern of sunflowers. Once you get one, it is yours to keep and use for future travels or shopping trips where the scheme is recognised.

In 2016, Gatwick launched the first-of-its-kind lanyard for passengers with hidden disabilities who may require additional support when travelling through the airport. 

For instance, by wearing the lanyard at Gatwick or other major UK airports, you could receive support with:

  • getting more time to prepare at check-in and security
  • getting a more comprehensive briefing on what to expect as you travel through the airport
  • staff assisting with reading a departure board or sign.

How to get a lanyard

If you’re due to fly from a major UK airport, you should be able to ask for a lanyard from an airport assistance desk, or order it in advance, depending on your chosen airport. Find out more about the best way of getting the lanyard by contacting the airport before you travel.

This initiative is being supported by RNIB and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.

Autistic spectrum disorder

The National Autistic Society has some helpful advice on what to do if you're travelling with children or adults with autism. We also produce an autism friendly visual guide to travelling through Gatwick Airport which will help familiarise you with what to expect at the airport in advance of your holiday.  

Sensory room

 It is a calming and relaxing environment, designed for passengers with disabilities like autism, dementia or cognitive impairment, who will benefit from a safe and distracting place when in unfamiliar surroundings.

The sensory room is wheelchair accessible and free to use to passengers after security, flying from our North Terminal.

How do I book?

To use our sensory room before your flight, you must pre-book to guarantee your spaceclick here to book, or contact the special assistance team on 01293 507500.  Gatwick recommends you arrive at the special assistance reception at least three hours before your flight.

Walking Distance

To help you decide whether you need special assistance at Gatwick, we've drawn up a full list of all the distances you may need to walk at the airport. Use our walking distance chart to find out how far it is from the car park to check-in or from the departure lounge to the gate rooms. 

Changing Places 

We have two adult Changing Places located on the arrivals routes in both of our terminals. These facilities are available for all arriving passengers and include an adjustable bed that lowers to ground level, a hoist and flexible wash basins, within a large wash room with full shower facilities.

Changing Places are free to use and do not need to be pre-booked. There is a sign adjacent to the facility with a phone number to call to gain access. These facilities are clearly sign posted if you are an arriving passenger.

For departing passengers, we also have a small Changing Place located on the upper level of the South Terminal departure lounge with an adjustable bed and wash basin. However, if you are departing from North Terminal, we advise you to go to the Special assistance desk located in the departure lounge, where a member of the special assistance team will be happy to escort you to the facility which is on the arrivals route. Please allow plenty of time to get there.

Special Assistance Area

The special assistance area has capacity to seat up to 90 people and has been designed with a premium lounge feel, providing bespoke chairs and soft furnishings to provide a quiet, calm environment for passengers to relax in before their flight.

Travelling with IBD

If you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis (the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD) you may find the thought of travelling quite daunting, whether that’s due to toilet accessibility, going through security with a stoma bag or other IBD related concerns.

To help with any anxiety and make sure you have a more positive travel experience, Crohn’s and Colitis UK have put together a travel and IBD factsheet to help you feel more comfortable when planning a vacation or business trip.  

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London Gatwick Airport
West Sussex
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11-14 years old
18-25 years old
Parents and carers
15-17 years old
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