EU Guidelines Sanction End of Barbaric Practice at Heathrow and Gatwick
- Written by Roberto Castiglioni
Families with infants and toddlers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports are not returned prams at the gate; EU Guidelines sanction the end of this barbaric practice.
Quoting Health and Safety concerns, handling agents at London Gatwick and Heathrow airport do not return prams and buggies at the gate, even when items are tagged to be delivered at the aircraft. Instead, strollers are returned in the baggage reclaim area.
As a result, passengers traveling with infants and toddlers have to walk long stretches unaided, putting the safety of their young children at risk.
To make things even worse, transferring prams with other luggage to the baggage reclaim area greatly increases the possibility of damages to buggies.
Notably, all major European airports provide the service of returning strollers at the aircraft doors; however this is not the case at Gatwick and London Heathrow.
In fact, Heathrow airport is more of a hit and miss. Certain airlines like Delta or Singapore Airlines return buggies at the aircraft, while others like Lufthansa or SWISS don’t.
The recently published EU Guidelines on application of regulation 1107/2006 are set to put an end to this barbaric practice at Gatwick and Heathrow.
“Situations involving young children (notably infants) whose age might limit their autonomy during air travel (for instance to cope with long distances at large airports and at connecting points), cannot be excluded from the scope of application of the Regulation.” The guidelines say.
“However, any assistance should always be proportionate to the actual needs of the person concerned in the specific (airport or aircraft) environment and flight conditions and should in no way be detrimental to other passengers. For instance, whenever possible, young children should be allowed to use their prams or buggies until the actual boarding and where practicable receive them returned at the aircraft door upon arrival.”
Have you experienced problems when arriving with young children or infants at London Gatwick or Heathrow airport? Send us your comments using the contact form.