OCS expands special lanyard concept for passengers with hidden disabilities

Written by: Alwyn Brice |
Great idea. Gatwick should be congratulated. It would be wonderful if others would introduce ...

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A new lanyard for passengers with hidden disabilities, first introduced at Gatwick airport, is set to be rolled out to other UK airports following a successful trial over the summer.

The number of passengers with hidden disabilities requesting assistance at Gatwick airport has risen by 47% year-on-year since the launch of the voluntary lanyard in May this year by OCS Group, as passengers and their families feel more confident about flying, or requesting assistance at the airport.

Over 1,000 passengers with hidden disabilities such as dementia, autism or hearing loss use passenger assistance services at Gatwick airport each month. The introduction of a distinctive lanyard for passengers with such problems enables travellers to discreetly identify themselves to staff to ensure tailored help and support can be offered throughout their journey.

Assistance staff at Gatwick have been trained to provide the appropriate level of help when they see a passenger is wearing the unique lanyard or badge. For example, staff are able to support passengers who may need more time to process information or to prepare their belongings ahead of security screening.

The project is part of a wider initiative by OCS Group, which provides assistance services at Gatwick and nine other airports in the UK and Ireland, to deliver improved support services. The Challenging for Change report, commissioned by OCS, recorded the experiences of 543 passengers with disabilities and made recommendations for improvement. The report has been followed up with workshops at airports around the UK at which airlines, airport operators, baggage handlers, disability groups and support service providers exchanged ideas to address the issues.

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Great idea. Gatwick should be congratulated.
It would be wonderful if others would introduce similar schemes although I can see a degree of resistance as this could be interpreted as requiring an increased demand on airport and airline staff. I suspect it may actually ease the demand on staff with improved passenger flows. Perhaps Gatwick could share their experience.

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