Orlando International Airport (MCO) will assist travelers with hidden disabilities following a partnership with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited.
The Sunflower Lanyard program debuted at MCO, providing an extra layer of assistance for those coping with issues such as low vision, hearing loss, autism, anxiety disorders, dementia, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Asperger Syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities or mobility issues.
“Not all disabilities are visible and this program allows our staff to subtly identify those in need of an extra level of customer service and make sure that everyone, no matter what their circumstance, has a good Orlando Experience,” says Brian Engle, Director of Customer Experience for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
The voluntary, self-identification program started in London’s Gatwick Airport in 2016 using colorful green lanyards, adorned with sunflowers was quickly adopted by United Kingdom supermarkets, museums, railway stations and sporting venues.
“We are excited to partner with the Orlando International Airport on this growing initiative to offer the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower products in the Southeastern United States,” said Billy Caan, CEO of The Sourcing Group.
“This program is a very worthy cause, and creates a more comfortable, positive airport experience for people who have disabilities that might not be visible.”
The lanyards are available at the third level information booths in the main terminal just prior to entering security. The lanyards are free of charge and are for travelers only. While they do provide a discreet signal to employees, wearing a lanyard does not guarantee fast tracking through security or any preferential TSA treatment. Passengers are encouraged to arrange any special assistance needed with their airline and TSA Cares.
Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer including staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or a little more time.