Austin-Bergstrom International Airport launches new accessibility services for passengers with hidden disabilities

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has launched a new accessibility service to support passengers with non-visible disabilities via the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Programme.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has launched a new accessibility service for passengers with non-visible disabilities via the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Programme, which aims to raise awareness of and support individuals with autism, anxiety disorders, dementia, Crohn’s disease and more.

As part of the programme, passengers – or their companions – with non-visible disabilities can order a Sunflower lanyard to wear while at the airport. The green lanyard with sunflowers works as a visual cue and discreet way to indicate to airport staff and other passengers that the wearer, or someone with them, has a non-visible disability and may need a little more time, support or assistance. Passengers can request a lanyard to be picked up in person at the airport or mailed to them ahead of their trip by contacting the AUS Guest Services team.

“AUS is excited to adopt the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Programme, which is an international programme recognised at airports across the world that provides tools to help passengers with non-visible disabilities,” said Ramonika Carr, Guest Services Division Manager, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. “As an international airport, it’s our responsibility to provide services that support every passenger. With that, we know that airports and air travel can be stressful and at times a daunting experience for individuals, especially those who may have a non-visible disability. Ahead of April 1, our Guest Services teams have been educating airport staff and providing guidance on how to identify and assist passengers who may need more help due to a non-visible disability, but could feel overwhelmed or lost among the crowd. Thanks to this programme, we hope to support the growth and confidence of individuals with non-visible disabilities while they navigate our airport.”

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Programme is an internationally-recognised programme that launched in 2016 in the United Kingdom. Over 90 airports throughout North America are involved in the programme, in order to support a universal approach to identifying and providing services to passengers with non-visible disabilities.

“We are delighted to welcome Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as the fourth airport in Texas to become members of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network,” said Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. “Sunflower wearers travel for many reasons, and the knowledge that barriers are being removed to increase accessibility and inclusion will significantly reduce anxiety and stress for those passengers.”

The programme is one of many new ‘AUS For All’ services the airport provides to its passengers who have accessibility or mobility needs, or non-visible disabilities, including the recently opened Mobility Lounge, Mobility Assistance Zone and a mobility tram pilot programme.


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