London Southend Airport in the UK has launched a new scheme to assist passengers with hidden disabilities who may require additional support through the airport terminal. The voluntary scheme, which uses discreet blue wristbands that are available from the airport terminal’s ticket desk, will be in service from Monday December 4. The wristbands are a subtle sign to airport staff that additional support may be required.
To develop this scheme, London Southend Airport has consulted local and national charities and monitored the success of similar schemes in other UK airports.
Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation, operator of London Southend Airport, said: “We wholly recognize that for some of our customers the airport itself can be a challenging environment. When you have a hidden disability, such as autism or dementia, or are sight or hearing impaired, the unfamiliar, bustling and occasionally noisy surroundings can become a little overwhelming. We want to support every passenger as best we can and I hope that these blue bands will play a big part in delivering on that commitment.”
As part of the scheme, the airport has undertaken in-house training for key staff to ensure they can play their part in making sure that people with hidden disabilities enjoy a stress-free airport experience.
“From check-in to departure gate we are now able to provide even greater assistance and understanding for passengers with a range of needs. This may involve giving a passenger more time to process information such as requests for documentation, or preparing themselves for security. Staff will be using clear speech and explaining to these passengers what to expect as they travel through the airport,” added Jones.