My mother-in-law does not speak English. She wants to travel to India from London Heathrow Airport. I know in Manchester and Birmingham Airports non-passengers can accompany the passenger to the check-in area. Is it the same in London Heathrow?

The reason I am asking is because in India non-passengers are not allowed to enter the terminal at all - not even to the check-in area. So I am not sure if this depends from airport to airport.

Note: I only want to accompany until the check-in area. I don't want to go though the security check. I can write notes on paper in English which she can show someone if she needs help from the security check until the flight.

  • 11
    @BritishSam No, that OP wants to go through the security. I don't want to go through the security.
    – Priya R
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 15:33
  • 5
    Yep, this question isn't a duplicate of that one. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 15:50
  • 1
    If she speaks Hindi/Punjabi/Tamil she will be just fine.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 16:27
  • @PriyaR my bad read it wrong :)
    – BritishSam
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


Yes, you absolutely can. At Heathrow they do not check if you are traveler or not until the time you reach the secured departures area through the security gates. That obviously is after the check-in step.

You can go to check-in counter with her, help her get a boarding pass. She then goes through the security for departures area and you go back home from there.

At that point, she either has to put her boarding pass on the scanner herself or a member of staff will be there to check her boarding pass, after that she will have to go through security and all the standard procedures apply there, as noted in the comment below.

  • 3
    It's also worth giving the usual warning that none of this is absolutely guaranteed. In the current security climate it's always possible (though very unlikely, since the landside airport would be losing business) that further security may appear with little notice.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 16:15
  • 1
    @origimbo Yes, that's true in principle. But, essentially, things like this aren't going to change except in response to a terrorist incident or known terrorist plot. And I can't imagine any threat that would be sensibly dealt with by requiring people to have tickets to get to the check-in desk. Doing that requires having a security checkpoint outside the terminal building, so the terrorist attacks that, instead. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 16:54
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    Its plausible that such things happen but when people are looking for general advice on the internet can we really list down all the ifs and what ifs ? When the situation goes bad then even boarding pass holders can be denied access to places where they could easily have gone few minutes prior to that. I don't think we need to list all the disclaimers. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 17:10
  • 3
    @origimbo Right, but that was seven-and-a-half years ago. The check-in area being restricted to ticket holders on any given day is very unlikely and is only going to be in response to exceptional events. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 17:14
  • 2
    This is also true in all U.S. airports.
    – gparyani
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 20:17

In the queue for the check-in counter (for a flight heading to India) a good chunk of passengers will speak English and Hindi (or any other Indian language spoken in the region she's travelling to). The same applies in front of the boarding gate. And I'd even dare to say that there's a chance the check-in agent, security personnel, flight attendants, border control agents speaks one or the other Indian language too. Besides that, this people are used to meeting people who don't speak English.

Even being completely alone, she will find a way to communicate with people and manage to deal with any problem. There no environment more international than an international airport.

Maybe better than paper notes would be giving her a cell-phone and being available until she takes the plane.

  • That's a really calming answer. +1 Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 8:26

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