Inclusivity and travelling with babies & people with cognitive difficulties.
We can honestly say that Kefalonia airport is one of the nicest, most intimate, airports to traverse, for the prepared and seasoned traveller it can literally take minutes. In fact, the journey to the airport and experience at the airport is the polar opposite of getting to and navigating through a major UK airport! Quiet roads, tavernas en-route, beautiful scenery, personal service, and no parking charges…. What’s not to love about Kefalonia.
In fact the very first time we visited Kefalonia in 2005 we checked in for our flight home. At this time the airport was much smaller than it is now, it hardly had any facilities once through security. We quickly learnt that most people walk up the road to Ikarus or Boing and enjoy refreshments, some even had a dip in the pool. Rule of thumb is… once the flight arrives, finish up your drink and stroll to the airport at a leisurely pace. A very civilised end to your time on the island!
Having a teenage son with autism and mild learning difficulties puts an added layer of stress on travelling. Having said that, travelling through Kefalonia’s Anna Pollatou airport over numerous years we wanted to share our learnings in the hope this will alleviate “travel stress”. We plan our journeys with caution and take a special note of our experiences and when things work well – we share! Because our son does not require mobility assistance we don’t always book ‘special assistance’ during the airport transition. However, the tricky part for our son is queues!
We finally had the opportunity to return to Kefalonia in 2022 following a 5-year hiatus, in no small part due to Coronavirus uncertainty. Because my son was wearing his sunflower lanyard a lovely airport employee immediately read this visual cue and escorted us to the front of the passport line (apologies to everyone queuing patiently!) This made an immense difference as waiting in a long queue can be quite challenging for people on the Autism spectrum, our son is certainly no exception. This level of service has always been my experience at Kefalonia’s airport (EFL). Follow this link to the airports own page, ensuring air travel is accessible to all and review their service level targets – indeed very forward thinking by the airport!
As of April 2023, this service extended to families with babies. So, I joined a small line of families with babies, for us all to be efficiently whisked through Passport control and out the other side. We typically travel with easyJet, however, here are some top tips for whichever airline you frequent:
From the UK:
- Request special assistance for the UK airport, or, wear a sunflower lanyard.
- When arriving at the departure lounge, make yourself known to the staff. They allowed us to go through the check in desk and sit on chairs away from the main lounge.
- If you have a lanyard / special assistance you are encouraged to board first (before speedy boarding)
Arriving at EFL
- Make yourself known to the ground crew; they will assist you.
- Upon departing EFL, you should be able to use the special assistance queue (even if you have not booked) and you may be offered airport escort.
- Same goes as your outbound flight, make yourself known to the staff on the gate, you should be allowed to board first.
- If you would like assistance from the UK airport on landing, just ask the check in staff & they can arrange for you.
More assistance and guidance information from.