In an Australian-first initiative, Brisbane Airport has launched a program that will see travellers with ‘hidden disabilities’ given discreet help to assist them through the airport experience.
In the new program, passengers who are managing conditions like anxiety, depression, autism or hearing loss, can order lanyards to wear for their trip so that airport staff will know, in a discreet way, that they need assistance.
According to the ABC, aid could vary from using a quieter check-in to bypassing duty-free.
Some 1,200 staff have been trained in the new system.
With other airports considering similar programs, the initiative may be used across the country following the BNE rollout.
The system is the brainchild of Brisbane woman Jennene Greenall, whose daughter had a traumatic experience on a trip to Europe.
"She had a lot of anxiety and depression," she said.
"The worst experience was Paris [airport] and we were flying to London and when we got there she just wouldn't leave the hotel.
“When you are at security or customs, it's quite intense.
"There are always so many more people around and everyone's trying to rush you through the process, that can be quite intimidating for a person with a disability, but also their carer.
Modelled on a UK program, Ms Greenall says the initiative “is really about elevating the level of service, so that someone with a disability, isn't singled out and treated differently”.
Brisbane Airport Corporation's Leonie Vandeven said staff were trained not to make assumptions about the help people required.
"It's about helping them through the process, slowing down the process, reassure them that everything is OK," she said.
"We do hope to get a national program that's consistent through all airports.”
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