Airport User Guide

Understanding the needs of persons with dementia when using airports

This guide aims to help make air travel as simple and enjoyable as possible – from planning and getting to the airport, through to the departure gate and returning safely home again. It is designed specifically for people living with dementia and their travel companions.

Air travel is accessible to many people including those who live with dementia.  The need to cater for people with dementia travelling by airplane is likely to be of increasing urgency with the projected increase in the number of people living with dementia in Australia approaching 900,000 by 2050.

Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate this topic from multiple perspectives and identify facilitators and barriers to safe, comfortable air travel; identify the training and preparedness of airport staff and flight crew and determine if there are any unmet needs of people with dementia when travelling by air.

Authors: Dr. Maria O'Reilly, Sandra Jeavons, Prof. Elizabeth Beattie, Nicole Shepherd, Louise McDonald, Professor Helen Edwards, Professor Jill Franz, Professor Lindy Willmott

Partners: Queensland University of Technology

News & Publications:

This study explores an area that has had little attention in the research literature: the issue of air travel and dementia. Air travel is increasingly accessible and is used for both pleasure and necessity; a diagnosis of dementia does not automatically mean people stop travelling.

However, there are risks of adverse outcomes when people with dementia fly, including medical complications, disorientation and agitation.  Without adequate information, it is difficult for people with dementia, their carers or airport and airline staff to make informed decisions about the feasibility of travel or to ensure flights are as safe and comfortable as possible.

This study is an initial step in exploring the issue from the perspective of people with dementia, their carers, airport staff and flight crews.  This will be achieved through a survey and follow-up interviews, with people with dementia and their carers, and airline staff.  Results will help inform future research leading to the development of suitable guidelines about air travel for people with dementia, their carers, airline staff and medical professionals.


Discover more about the research project

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