We have got so used to flying with English speaking airports from Ireland to the UK and back again recently that I was slightly nervous at the prospect of booking special assistance in another country. But language wasn’t a barrier when it came to booking Malaga Airport Special Needs Assitance, and the whole process was less stressful than some English speaking airports.
The first place to start with booking assistance after you have booked your flights and booked it with your airline is to head to the Malaga airport website. If English is your first language then in the top corner, change the website’s language to English making it easier for you to understand, though most browsers come with an auto-translation. Scroll down to the bottom of the site where you’ll find ‘passenger services’ and click onto it.
You’ll then come to the Passenger Services screen which gives you various options, the one you need to click on is ‘accessibility for PMR’ which will then gives you the screen required to request assistance. It will prompt you to enter your details and your flight details. It will ask you what you need, such as your type of disability which is where we explained that our son has Autism. It will ask about a wheelchair, accompanying person and guide dog. Nine times out of 10 our son uses a stroller still in the airport so we tick yes to the wheelchair and that we will be bringing our own.
It will then go on to confirm that it has booked it for you with a follow-up confirmation email. Check all the details in this email are right and then print out a copy or keep it safe to hand on your phone if like us you trying to be more eco-friendly.
While you’re on the airport’s website you could familiarise yourself with the airport, get an idea of nearest changing facilities and places you can get food & drink. You could also use the images, and information to make a social story for your child explaining the airport process.
Our journey into Malaga airport was a smooth one; there was a separate line for families and special needs where we showed our passports. Once we came through this, we came across some special assistance staff as well as a golf buggy for those who needed that assistance. They would have had Dylan’s name down for needing it, but there wasn’t any need for us to use it as we easily made our way out the airport to our taxi.
Upon the return journey the first thing we did was hunt out the special assistance desk, this was marked as ‘barrier-free’ something which stood out to me as a great name for this desk. I gave the assistant mine and Dylan’s name and showed her our boarding passes. This slip was then filled out which we were to show in the areas that we needed that extra bit of help. She then pointed us to a separate security point which was especially for those with special needs; this is the first time we’ve come across security like this, so we were ecstatic with how we got to sail straight through a security point without anyone glancing at us to wonder why we’ve skipped the queue. With it being the start of February and the quieter travelling season, we were the only ones using it at that moment in time.
The next stage to our journey was at the gate which we were nervous about. There were special needs seats at all the gates in bright yellow, there were only a couple of seats left, and we wanted to sit together while we waited for the gate to open. When the gate did open as always everyone flocks to queue up, we headed to the desk with the hope of explaining to the crew person there how sometimes it’s easier for us to board first with Dylan, it’s actually more the other customers benefit bow as when Dylan board a place as he doesn’t understand the concept of keeping hands to himself. Also, means we’re not in a busy queue of people which sometimes also involves waiting on stairs for the doors to the runway to open.
We were beaten to the desk by a special assistance guy who came out the door and asked if we required it, he then asked if the name was Dylan Harris. So where we had requested assistance online and from that desk, we got the assistance right here at the gate which impressed me. Didn’t have to chase anyone down or ask for help, it was offered to us which is always a nice feeling. He led us to an elevator, and we were told to head down to the door to the runway, 10 minutes later and we were ready to take off from sunny Spain and head back to a rather chilly Ireland.