Travelling With Disabilities: How to Obtain the Air France Saphir Card?

To the point Air France offers a range of personalized services to meet the needs of disabled passengers, including ticket reservations, airport assistance, baggage handling and special equipment on board.

With a constant concern for accessibility and inclusion, Air France makes significant efforts to facilitate travel for people with disabilities or reduced mobility. Through its Saphir program and card, the airline offers a full range of services specially designed to make every stage of your trip more convenient and comfortable. This initiative offers a variety of benefits that span the customers entire journey.

As we delve into the details, we’ll guide you through the steps you need to take to get your very own Saphir card and enjoy hassle-free travel with Air France.

How do I Get an Air France Saphir Card?

Saphir, short for “Service d’Assistance aux Personnes en situation de Handicap pour les Informations et les Réservations”, has been specially created to simplify travel for people with reduced mobility or disabilities.

Obtaining a Saphir card is a free, personalized process, that remains valid for 5 years. The process for acquiring it remains easy: simply contact Air France‘s Saphir customer service by telephone on +33 (0)9 69 36 72 77 from Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This card enables travelers to create profiles and store essential information concerning their assistance needs and the required medical equipment to be carried on board or in the hold. A considerate attention to guarantee trouble-free travel.

Source de l'image : Air France

How do I Request Assistance?

The Air France assistance service is available at the time of booking, at the airport and on board the aircraft. However, it is essential to send a request for assistance at least two working days before the departure of your first flight.

If you are unable to reach Air France by telephone and did not request assistance at the time of booking, please complete this form at least 48 hours before departure. The Saphir helpdesk will contact you if further information is needed to set up the right assistance.

When Booking

You can request an assistance service as soon as you book your flight with Air France. Once you’ve chosen your flights, you’ll need to select “I need special assistance”, then tick the boxes corresponding to your situation and needs.

At the Airport

Depending on the nature of your disability or special needs, specially adapted assistance is available in all airports. If you need it, this assistance covers several essential steps in the travel process, including :

  • Getting around the airport easily,
  • Checking-in your luggage and mobility equipment,
  • Accompanying you to the plane,
  • Helping you board and get settled in,
  • Ensuring your safe exit from the aircraft,
  • Retrieving your luggage and mobility equipment,
  • Easing your way out of the airport.

It is important to note that at all European Union airports, this assistance is provided under the supervision of airport managers, in compliance with European Regulation 1107/2006.


Air France recommends that passengers with reduced mobility arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before their flight’s departure time to organize the assistance they need. In some airports, specific signs are in place to help passengers find their way around. In addition, priority queuing is provided for people with reduced mobility, reducing waiting times at check-in and security checks.

Passengers can check in online or at the airport, either at the check-in counter or via automated kiosks. Travelers in wheelchairs or accompanied by a service animal must, however, collect their boarding pass at the airport customer service counter to ensure that the necessary assistance is provided.

Luggage Handling

In addition to the baggage allowance based on class of travel, passengers with reduced mobility or disabilities can add the following baggage items to their hold free of charge:

  • Two items of personal mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, electric scooters, gyro scooters, etc.
  • An additional piece of luggage weighing up to 23 kg for transporting your medical equipment.

In the cabin, baggage weighing up to 12 kg may be carried, with maximum dimensions of 55 x 35 x 25 cm.

Priority Online Check-In

When passengers travel in wheelchairs or require personal assistance, Air France offers them priority boarding. This early boarding procedure allows passengers to settle in comfortably before the arrival of other passengers, while receiving personalized attention from the crew, who provide them with the information they need to ensure their safety and well-being throughout the flight.

When the plane lands, to garantee a peaceful experience, these travellers are asked to disembark after other passengers. On long-haul flights, baggage and wheelchairs (if they have been placed in the hold) are delivered first.

Connecting Flights

For passengers transferring between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports who have mobility limitations that prevent them from using public transport, a cab transfer option is available.

When booking an itinerary that includes a stopover at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, we strongly advise you to plan an interval of at least 1 h 30 between flights. A shorter time period does not permit Aéroports de Paris, who is responsible for this assistance, to provide the required service.

To obtain a free transfer voucher, we recommend that you go directly to the dedicated Air France Correspondance counters at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and ask the airport staff. If the two connecting flights take place at the same airport, assistance is also provided to facilitate the transition between flights.

Crédit photo : Air France

On Board

With the exception of seats near emergency exits, passengers can choose their own seat. Most seats are equipped with flip-up armrests to facilitate seating for passengers with reduced mobility. All aircraft are equipped with an on-board transfer chair (CTB), enabling passengers to move around during the flight.

Long-haul and some medium-haul aircraft are equipped with toilets accessible to people with reduced mobility. On non-equipped aircraft, a curtain is installed in front of the rear lavatory to provide a private space. On most flights lasting more than 2.5 hours, it is possible to order a meal adapted to special dietary needs by making the request at the time of booking and no later than 48 hours before departure.

It is important to note that onboard assistance does not cover personal needs such as help with eating, taking medication or assistance in the bathroom. It is therefore essential that passengers are able to meet the demands of air travel without outside assistance. If this is not the case, we recommend that you travel with a companion.

This person must be of legal age and autonomous, and must not be looking after a disabled person at the same time as a child under the age of 4 (on flights in mainland France and overseas), a child under the age of 5 (on international flights), or another disabled person. There are certain special cases, which is why it’s important to check withAir France‘s Saphir assistance service.

Bottom Line

Thanks to its Saphir program, Air France offers a range of tailor-made services, covering every aspect of travel to make the experience more convenient and enjoyable. In 2021, the French airline was the first in the world to offer a free travel assistance service for disabled and reduced-mobility passengers.

Obtaining a Saphir card is easy and free of charge. By simply contacting the dedicated customer service department, passengers can create personalized profiles, making it easier to meet their assistance needs.

Assistance begins at the time of booking, extends to the airport and continues on board. Online or in-person check-in procedures, priority queuing and early boarding facilities are designed to simplify airport procedures. The possibility of adding personal mobility equipment in the hold and special baggage, as well as the availability of adapted seats, enhance passenger comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Air France Saphir Card

How do I get assistance at the airport when traveling with a disability?

To obtain assistance when traveling with a disability, it is essential to notify the airline you are traveling with. This request is usually made online, at the time of booking, or by telephone.

How do I request a wheelchair at the airport?

At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, for example, passengers requiring a wheelchair are advised to present themselves at the check-in desks or Mobility Assistance area at least 2 hours beforehand for short- and medium-haul flights, and 3 hours beforehand for long-haul flights.

What is the Air France Saphir card?

Air France‘s Saphir card enables passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility to create profiles, keeping essential information on their assistance needs and the medical equipment carried on board or in the hold.

How much does the Air France Saphir card cost?

The Saphir card is offered free of charge to disabled passengers.

How do I apply for the Air France Saphir card?

To apply for the Air France Saphir card, simply contactAir France ‘s Saphir customer service by telephone on +33 (0)9 69 36 72 77, Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How can I contact Air France Saphir customer service by phone?

If you have already booked a flight and would like assistance, you can contact Saphir by telephone on +33 96 936 72 77 from Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What is the fare for accompanying persons with disabilities on Air France?

Unfortunately, companions who travel with disabled passengers on Air France flights are not entitled to a preferential fare, even though Air France may require the companion to be present. This may be necessary in an emergency situation, especially if the aircraft has to be evacuated.

What discount are disabled people entitled to when flying with Air France?

People with disabilities do not receive an additional discount on air tickets when booking with Air France.

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