British Airways Helps Customer Fulfill Dream of Flying Again with Service Dog

British Airways Helps Customer Fulfill Dream of Flying Again with Service Dog

  • Ahead of Disability Awareness Day, Brian Hickman travelled on his first flight in 15 years with service dog Lily to showcase that flying can be accessible for everyone
  • British Airways carries service dogs free of charge in the cabin of all its flights and customers are able to book this service by contacting the airline’s dedicated Accessibility team
  • More than 1,000 customers with service dogs travel with British Airways each year

London, UK, 2023-Jul-14 — /Travel PR News/ — British Airways has proudly assisted customer Brian Hickman to take his first flight in 15 years, accompanied by his service dog Lily, after he got in touch with the airline to ask for help fulfilling his dream of flying again, and showing others that flying can be accessible to everyone.

Brian suffered life-changing spinal injuries 15 years ago whilst on duty as a police officer. With the help of the charity Dog A.I.D, Lily the cockerpoo was trained to become a fully qualified and certified service dog. Lily helps Brian with day-to-day practical tasks and supports his independence by alerting him of any nearby dangers such as trip hazards, meaning Lily is essential to Brian when travelling.

Brian was keen to embark on his first flight since his accident, to understand the end-to-end journey of flying with a service dog, regain his confidence to take to the skies and raise awareness to other service dog users that flying with additional requirements can be a stress-free experience.

Following his successful journey to Newcastle, Brian now has the confidence to fly again with Lily by his side and is planning to go on holiday later this year.

Watch Brian and Lily’s journey here:

Speaking about his journey, Brian Hickman says it has opened up a whole world of opportunities for him to travel: “Everyone from British Airways was so nice and helpful from start to end of our journey. It was a day to remember for all the good reasons. Lily and I had a great day out and I now know we can fly whenever we want to.”

Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, said the BA team was proud to help make Brian’s ambition a reality: “We believe our original British Airways service should be accessible to everyone, we know there is more to do and we’re working hard to continuously improve to become the airline of choice for all customers with visible and non-visible disabilities.

“Seeing Brian gain the confidence to fly again after 15 years was really heartening and his journey with Lily really sums up what we’re striving for at British Airways – to ensure that our customers who require additional assistance can travel safely, with dignity and in comfort.”

More than 1,000 British Airways customers travel with a service dog each year, with service dogs travelling free of charge in the cabin of all flights. All customers need to do to book the service is to contact the airline’s dedicated Accessibility team in advance of their journey.

British Airways carries more than half a million customers who require additional assistance every year. The airline has invested in a range of services to support customers with accessibility requirements and has a dedicated Accessibility team to provide specialist support for anyone who needs it. The airline offers assistance with mobility, visual impairments, hearing impairments and non-visible disabilities.

The team can also help customers make new flight, hotel and car hire bookings, arrange bespoke assistance, pre-book seating, inform airport staff and Cabin Crew about specific requirements, and provide information and support to empower customers to have the confidence to fly.

Find out more about British Airways’ accessibility offering here

To watch a selection of videos on the airline’s accessibility initiatives, visit:

Notes to editors

To qualify as a service dog, the dog must be specially trained in specific tasks to assist customers with their disability or medical condition, have had behavioural training and show appropriate behaviour in public and onboard an aircraft, wear an identifying jacket or harness, and always remain under the customer’s control.

Customers will need to provide official documents confirming the service dog training before the flight and also carry these on them at all times during their journey and our dedicated Accessibility Team will guide the customer through the booking process and what documentation is required. Service dogs that are entering, returning to, or transiting through the UK must be compliant with the UK Government entry requirements.

Service dogs not meeting the above requirements, pet dogs and other service animals are not permitted to travel in the cabin and will need to travel as a pet.

For more information about travelling with a service dog please visit

Customers can contact the Accessibility Team prior to making a booking, or once a booking has been made, for support and advice, or make changes via the Manage My Booking tool. For those within the UK, the team can be reached on 0800 408 1100. For anyone outside the UK, or for those who would prefer, the team is also contactable via email.

Find out more about British Airways’ accessibility offering here

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Source: British Airways