British Airways has become the first UK airline to officially recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.
The airline has partnered with the organisation to make travel “simple and easy for customers with additional assistance needs”.
Customers can wear a sunflower lanyard to indicate that they may need additional support, assistance or more time when travelling.
The sunflower scheme was established in the UK in 2016 and has since been adopted globally across a broad range of sectors.
Lanyards are available free of charge at all participating UK airports and can be collected from ‘special assistance’ and reception areas. Customers travelling from Heathrow can also have a lanyard sent to them by post before travelling.
As part of the partnership, BA will also incorporate Hidden Disabilities Sunflower’s videos into its training modules and make them available via the staff intranet in order to educate colleagues on invisible disabilities and how best to approach and support customers wearing the lanyard.
Welcoming the new partnership, Tom Stevens, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said:
“Almost half a million customers who require additional assistance fly with British Airways each year.
“We’re proud to be the first UK airline to partner with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and are committed to doing everything we can to support customers who may need additional assistance as part of our BA Better World programme, so they can have the best possible experience when travelling with us.”
Paul White, CEO of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, added:
“I am delighted that British Airways is the first UK airline to launch the Sunflower. As well as being supported at over 130 airports globally, people with non-visible disabilities wearing the Sunflower will now be supported on British Airways flights. This a significant step in our goal for Sunflower wearers to be confident to travel independently knowing that they will be supported when they need to be.”
The airline said that it saw customer satisfaction levels more than double among customers with accessibility needs due to its investment in a number of initiatives over the past few years, including the creation of a specialist customer care team and signing pledge committing BA to The Valuable 500, a global movement aimed at making accessibility a business priority.