Airport develops hidden disabilities assistance card

Bristol Airport has worked with OCS Group, the special assistance provider at the Airport, and local Dementia, Autism and Alzheimer charities in developing a hidden disabilities assistance card in addition to the lanyard scheme.

The card, which is the size of a business card, acts as a discreet sign to airport staff to identify  passengers who may need additional support or assistance as they travel through the airport. The card can be handed discreetly to airport staff along with the passenger’s boarding pass or passport.

The special assistance card advises staff that a passenger may need more time to process information, help in avoiding crowded places or extra assistance in reading departure boards or flight information, for example. The card also encourages airport staff to use clear language when giving instructions.  Airport staff will also be aware that passengers carrying a card may need to remain with a family member or companion at all times.

Not all passengers with hidden disabilities require assistance through the airport, but for some passengers, experiencing challenges with Dementia or Autism, airports and other public locations can be very stressful places.  After feedback from various local charities Bristol Airport has extended the support available for passengers with hidden disabilities in addition to the lanyard initiative, introduced by OCS Group at Bristol and other UK airports, the team at Bristol developed the assistance card along with an information booklet to help passengers prepare for a journey and give additional guidance on their journey through the airport.

A full training and awareness programme has been delivered to all airport colleagues in customer facing roles in preparation for the introduction of these new initiatives on 31 March 2017.

In conjunction with the launch of the hidden disabilities special assistance card OCS Group has worked with Thumbs Up World Ltd to produce a small colour booklet containing useful information for passengers with hidden disabilities using Bristol Airport.

The booklet is designed for passengers and their families and carers to use before and during a journey from the airport. It provides a clear guide on what to expect at the airport with photographs of each area including check-in, security, retail and catering outlets, boarding, arrivals and baggage reclaim.  The booklet also contains space for passengers to record their own specific needs or any questions they may have along with emergency medical and contact information.

A video of the guide has been developed by Thumbs Up World UK and will be available on the Bristol Airport website as an additional resource for passengers.

Phil Holder, Bristol Airport, said: “For families it will remove and reduce some of the stress knowing that staff are aware and understand the challenges they may face.”

 

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