Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) in Canada has introduced the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard program to improve its service for travelers with disabilities.
The scheme is designed to help people with invisible disabilities, such as autism, ADHD, chronic pain, dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, low vision, hearing loss and anxiety disorders, among others, by discreetly indicating that they may need a little more help or time when traveling through the airport. Staff in all areas of the airport experience have been provided with information on what to do if a person wearing a sunflower lanyard or other sunflower-branded item approaches them.
Sunflower lanyards can be picked up at YWG for free at the information booth, located on the arrivals level next to door three, or the valet and away booth on the departures level near the top of the escalators. Travelers can keep their sunflower lanyard for use throughout their trip or the next time they board a plane, with approximately 160 airports worldwide recognizing the program.
Kirk Goodlet, director of facilitation and product development at the airport’s operator, Winnipeg Airports Authority, said, “We’re constantly working to further enhance accessibility at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport and provide a more inclusive environment to meet the diverse needs of our community. The Sunflower Lanyard program is a great addition to the supports we already offer and will help us better serve all travelers and visitors.”
Paul White, CEO of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative, added, “We are delighted to welcome Winnipeg Richardson International Airport to the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. We live in such a transient world that is facilitated by aviation, it is important that passengers with invisible disabilities can fly when and where they want to. The airport environment can be difficult, and so airport staff are now equipped with the visual tool, the Sunflower, to identify who may need a little more time and are ready to ask how they can help.”