Bristol Airport introduces assistance card to help passengers with hidden disabilities

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport has announced the introduction of a hidden disabilities assistance card as part of its efforts to improve the airport and travel experience of passengers with hidden disabilities.

Designed to be the size of a business card, the hidden disabilities assistance card serves as a discreet sign to airport staff to identify passengers in need of support and 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, which will be introduced by March-end, advises airport staff on any additional needs of a passenger, such as needing more time to process information, or extra assistance in reading departure boards or flight information. The card also encourages airport staff to use clear language when giving instructions. Airport staff are also informed that passengers carrying a card may need to remain with a family member or companion at all times.

Bristol Airport has worked with OCS Group, the special assistance provider at the airport, and local Dementia, Autism and Alzheimer charities in developing the card in addition to the lanyard scheme. The OCS Group also worked with Thumbs Up World Limited to produce a small colour booklet containing useful information for passengers with hidden disabilities using Bristol Airport. The booklet 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.

Phil Holder, Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted to work with OCS and listen to feedback from families and various charities in the development of the hidden disabilities special assistance card. For families it will remove and reduce some of the stress knowing that staff are aware and understand the challenges they may face.

‘The booklet will also be a great help to families and provides information in advance of their visit and allows the family to complete the booklet together not only before they visit, but during their time at the Airport also.’

All airport staff in customer-interface roles have been given a full training and awareness programme in preparation for the introduction of these new initiatives on March 31, 2017.

The hidden disabilities assistance card, lanyard or booklet are available on request at the OCS special assistance desk in the main terminal prior to check-in, the airport said.

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