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Special assistance: in the terminal

Facilities for the hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted

Induction loops are found in various locations throughout the airport (look for signs showing the 'sympathetic ear' symbol). Payphones and credit card telephones are available in all parts of the airport and are adapted for hearing aids. There are also text payphones in the arrivals area of each terminal, after exiting Customs.

Guide and hearing dogs are the only dogs allowed in the terminal buildings. The airport's directional signs are black on yellow, providing optimum contrast to assist all users.

Reserved seating areas

Reserved seating areas, identified by the use of special needs pictograms, are located in all terminals within the general seating areas. They aim to have the following features:

  • Low-level flight information screens.
  • An induction loop.
  • Arms on both sides of seats.
  • Space for wheelchair users.

Security checks

Our security staff are obliged to carry out a hand-search whenever a passenger activates the archway metal detector alarm. If you are a wheelchair user, that’s likely to be the case. We recognise that it may be more suitable to have this search carried out away from the main search area, so please don’t hesitate to request this if you’d prefer it.

If you are using a wheelchair provided by the airport and wish to walk through the archway, to avoid an unnecessary search, you're welcome to do so.

Average distances and times to gate

Journey times to gates will vary depending on the terminal and your destination. To help cover these distances, we do provide moving walkways, lifts and a transfer train in Terminal 5.

Departure gates are subject to change and prior notice will be given on the flight information screens in the terminal. You can also check departure gates with your airline at check-in.

Terminal 1

The majority of departure gates in Terminal 1 are located approximately five minutes (about 200m) from security. Some gates are located 10 minutes (about 400m) from security.

Terminal 2

All departure gates in Terminal 2 main building are located approximately five minutes (about 200m) from security. Gates in Terminal 2B are located 20 minutes (800m) from security.

All UK or Ireland flights depart from Terminal 2 main building. 

Terminal 3

The majority of departure gates in Terminal 3 are located 20 minutes (about 800m) from security. 

Terminal 4

The majority of departure gates in Terminal 4 are located approximately five minutes (about 200m) from security. Some gates are located 10 minutes (about 400m) from security.

Terminal 5

All departure gates in Terminal 5 main building are located approximately ten minutes (about 400m) from security. Gates in Terminal 5B and 5C are located 15 minutes (600m) from security.

All domestic and EU flights usually depart from Terminal 5 main building. Other international destinations depart from Terminal 5B and 5C. A dedicated transfer train is available to and from the satellite buildings.


Disabled toilets are located both before and after security in each terminal. Toilet locations are marked on our terminal maps.

The Lichfield Suite (Changing Places)

This facility is aimed at those with more severe disabilities, both physical and learning, and for whom standard disabled facilities may not be enough.

Located in Terminal 5 opposite Gate 20 and 21, it was designed in conjunction with the Clough family of Lichfield, who work in partnership with the UK charity; Changing Places.

In addition, Terminal 2 also has a Changing Places facility.  It is located on the arrivals level, airside, opposite gate 18.

These facilities include:

  • Height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench
  • A hoist
  • Space for both the user and carers
  • Extra wide rolls of paper
  • Shower facility
  • Non-slip floors.


If you'd like to take a shower, you'll find locations on our toilets and showers page.


For passengers who want assistance with shopping at the airport, we offer a reserve and collect service. Please call us on 0800 678 5324 or email us for further information.

Further information

For further enquiries about special needs assistance at Heathrow Airport please call 0844 335 1801 (UK only). If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please call the Heathrow minicom service on +44 (0)20 8745 7950.

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