Gatwick Airport has launched a lanyard for passengers with hidden disabilities who may require additional support when travelling through the airport.
The lanyard, which is voluntary for passengers with hidden disabilities and their families, will act as a discreet sign for staff that additional support or help may be required.
It was launched at Gatwick Airport as part of Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), and is supported by charities including the Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society (NAS) and Action on Hearing Loss.
Gatwick Airport has been working closely with charities and OCS, which provides passenger assistance services at Gatwick, to promote greater awareness and understanding of the challenges passengers with hidden disabilities can experience when travelling through busy environments.
As part of the initiative, Gatwick is increasing awareness and training of airport staff and appointing ‘workplace champions’ to provide enhanced assistance for passengers with hidden disabilities. Gatwick’s commitment follows its support of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and the airport’s involvement with the Air Transport Group to improve the travelling experience for all passengers with hidden disabilities.
The lanyard will ensure staff are aware passengers may:
• Need more time to process information or more time to prepare themselves at security
• Need to remain with family at all times
• May react to sensory overload i.e. be surrounded by too much information
• Need staff to use clear verbal language as it may be difficult to understand facial expressions and/or body language
• Need staff to be visual with instructions and use closed questions to assist passengers effectively through the airport
• Benefit from a more comprehensive briefing on what to expect as they travel through the airport.