The ‘Hidden Disability Pin & Lanyard’ scheme acts as a ‘visual aid’ to alert airport staff that the user of the lanyard/pin has a hidden disability and may need additional time or consideration when travelling. Staff are trained to provide appropriate assistance, which may be required by both adults and children. As part of the training programme, customer-facing teams, including customer relations, passenger service agents, ground handlers and security staff have been trained to use clear language, given assistance in how to approach the holder and avoid separating passengers from travelling with family and friends.
The lanyards or pins are available for collection at no charge from the Special Assistance Desk in the airport Departures Terminal, prior to accessing central security search and passengers do not have to pre-register for them. However, passengers are reminded to continue pre-booking any special assistance required both at the airport and on board the aircraft, such as wheelchairs, directly with their airline prior to travelling.
Many UK airports now recognise the scheme, meaning passengers can expect a similar service on their return journey and they can retain the lanyard for future use, not just a single journey.
Explaining the background to the initiative, Ports of Jersey Passenger Services Manager, Maria Le Tiec says, “We have made great efforts in recent years to improve the passenger experience at Jersey Airport. In particular, we’ve focused on customers with both visible and hidden disabilities, who may require special assistance. We have worked closely with many agencies to assist us with this initiative, providing us with their invaluable specialist knowledge and experience. These include Autism Jersey, the Co-Op, Alzheimer’s Jersey, the General Hospital, Stomawise UK and Gatwick Airport, which launched a similar scheme in 2017.”
UK airports, which have already adopted a similar ‘Hidden Disabilities’ scheme include Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh, Stanstead, Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, Inverness, East Midlands, Glasgow, Exeter, Leeds Bradford, Norwich and Guernsey. However, it should be noted that the level of support offered to passengers at these airports may vary.