Air Canada accelerates accessibility plan and enhances experience of travellers with hidden disabilities


Air Canada has adopted the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower programme to better serve customers with non-visible disabilities. The airline has also established an advisory group of customers with disabilities.

Air Canada has adopted the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower programme to better serve customers with non-visible disabilities. It has also confirmed the first appointments to its new Customer Accessibility Advisory Committee, which will guide the airline as it accelerates its three-year accessibility plan.

“Air Canada is the first airline in North America to adopt the Sunflower programme, which will enable us to better assist and serve our customers with non-visible disabilities such as autism,” said Tom Stevens, Vice President, Customer Experience and Operations Strategy, Air Canada. “Our customers make 1.3 million accessibility requests each year and this initiative further demonstrates our commitment to improve accessibility, which we are reinforcing through the creation of a Customer Accessibility Advisory Committee. Consisting of customers with disabilities from accessibility groups in Canada, the committee will contribute to heightened awareness and help us identify barriers and develop solutions.”

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a globally-recognised programme that employs the use of a discreet sunflower symbol to identify customers with non-visible disabilities. By choosing to wear the Sunflower lanyard, Air Canada customers can indicate to airline staff that they may require additional assistance, have specific needs, or simply require more time while travelling. In support of the programme, Air Canada is training and building awareness among all customer-facing employees to recognise and respond appropriately to participating customers. The lanyard is available at check-in counters at Hidden Disability Sunflower member airports in Canada and onboard all flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express.

Air Canada committed in its three-year Air Canada Accessibility Plan to establish an advisory group of customers with disabilities. The committee will provide input from the perspective of customers with disabilities to help guide Air Canada’s path and vision in accessibility as part of its Elevating the Customer Experience programme. The advisory group will initially have representatives from four Canadian accessibility groups, including:  Barrier Free Canada, Brain Injury Canada, Kéroul, and Spinal Cord Injury Canada.

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