Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is expanding its programs to assist travelers and visitors with disabilities, adding a growing global lanyard initiative and new see-through masks for Travelers Assistance volunteers.
MSP is among the first U.S airports to join the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, which allows a person to self-identify as someone with a hidden disability who may require additional assistance. Find full details here on what the program offers at MSP.
“There are many travelers who have disabilities that aren’t immediately visible but still create challenges in their daily lives,” said Phil Burke, Assistant Director, Customer Experience for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP. “Without revealing the nature of the disability, the sunflower lanyard is a simple way to signal to airport staff that someone may need more help, more time or more patience through certain travel processes at the airport.”
MSP is now offering the sunflower lanyards for free at pre-security Travelers’ Assistance booths. There is no prerequisite to ask for or to wear them. Passengers should still arrange for special assistance with their airlines if disability services are needed.
Hidden disabilities can include low vision or hearing loss, autism, anxiety disorders, epilepsy, learning disabilities, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many other impairments or chronic illnesses.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program began at Gatwick Airport near London in 2016. It has since grown across Europe and to nearly 10 U.S. airports including Orlando, Miami, Seattle, San Jose and JFK.