How Cabin Crew Help Passengers with a Disability

Cabin Crew can help passengers with a disability have a safer, more pleasant flight

There are lots of ways in which Cabin Crew can help passengers travelling with a disability.


Passenger safety and comfort is of the utmost important to airlines and their staff. Cabin Crew have an important role to play when passengers with a disability are on-board.

Cabin Crew training will cover how best to help passengers who may need extra support before and during a flight.

Usually, those with additional needs are allowed to board first. They will receive help from the ground crew who will escort them to their seat. Cabin Crew are on hand to assist with stowing luggage in overhead lockers, and to be a friendly, reassuring face.

Individual briefing

Cabin Crew can help passengers who have disabilities by giving them an individual safety briefing before other passengers board. Make sure they know how to use the seatbelt, the location of the life jacket and how to use the oxygen mask, as well as where the emergency exits are.

Let them know where the nearest toilet is and how to use the call bell (if there is one!)

This sort of attention can also be useful in reassuring any particularly nervous fliers. Remember, not everyone is as used to flying as you!

Visual impairment

You can offer extra assistance with the meal service with passengers who may have visual impairments. You can unwrap food items, or explain what food items are and their position on the tray for those with eyesight difficulties.

Certain airline safety cards are available in braille, for those who are blind or visually impaired.

In-flight entertainment systems (where present) have audiobooks or audio-described options. Make passengers aware of these features.

Service dogs are permitted on certain flights.

Hearing impairments

For passengers with hearing problems, Cabin Crew communication skills are essential. Phone messaging or written notes can be used. It also helps to speak clearly to aid lip-reading.

On aircrafts equipped with in-flight screens, subtitles can be used in safety videos or entertainment programming.

It can be particularly beneficial for passengers with hearing difficulties to have Cabin Crew able to speak sign language. This is a skill you should definitely emphasise on your CV when applying for Cabin Crew jobs.

Mobility difficulties

Sometimes passengers require extra equipment on-board, for physical aid or comfort.

Cabin Crew can help by stowing walking sticks and mobility aids in the overhead locker and ensuring the passenger has access to them when required.

In the event of an emergency evacuation, Cabin Crew should escort anyone with additional requirements to the exit and slide. Safety must be a priority for everyone on-board.

Passengers are required to inform airlines of any need for special assistance. This ensures they receive the help they require, but also fulfils airlines’ legal obligations.

Only a limited number of passengers with reduced mobility or other impairments can travel on any one flight. This is to ensure safety in case of an emergency landing or evacuation, for example.

Specific seats will be allocated for these passengers, and exit rows must be avoided. This also applies to where children are permitted to sit.

Can you be Cabin Crew with vision or hearing issues?

If you have a visual or hearing impairment, it doesn’t mean you can’t be Cabin Crew.

As long as you fulfil certain safety requirements for the role, it could still be the career for you.

All Cabin Crew need to pass a medical examination before securing a job.

Regarding hearing, Cabin Crew must be able to understand conversational speech at a distance of 2 metres with their backs turned.


It’s a myth you need to have perfect vision to be Cabin Crew.

According to most airline requirements, as long as your diopters are between +/- 4 and in some cases +/- 5 you have every chance of becoming Cabin Crew.

Acceptable vision for a flight attendant is 20/40 with glasses or contact lenses. 20/40 means that the flight attendant should be able to see at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 40 feet.

While glasses are permitted, some airlines do prefer contact lenses.

Do you think you’d be great Cabin Crew?

Try our fun quiz to see if you’re a perfect fit for a Cabin Crew role!

Then check out our Jobs Board to see which airlines are hiring.

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Cabin Crew Wings Team

Our team of experts have the many years as Cabin Crew plus HR experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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